When Otto Nicolai left Vienna permanently in 1847, the young enterprise almost collapsed, having lost in one person not only its artistic but also its administrative leader. Twelve years of stagnation followed before a new innovation brought about the long-awaited change of fortune. On January 15, 1860, the first of four subscription concerts took place in the Kärntnertortheater under the baton of then opera director Carl Eckert, and since that time, the "Philharmonic Concerts" have been staged without interruption. The only significant change in all those years was to switch from having one conductor for a complete season of subscription concerts to the present system of having various guest conductors within a season.
Internationally recognized as one of today's most acclaimed and admired pianists, Yefim Bronfman stands among a handful of artists regularly sought by festivals, orchestras, conductors and recital series. His commanding technique, power and exceptional lyrical gifts are consistently acknowledged by the press and audiences alike.