Franz and Angelika Welser-Möst during the award ceremony for the Festival Brooch. Photo: SF/Franz Neumayr

(SF, 17 August 2020) Yesterday evening, conductor Franz Welser-Möst was awarded the Ruby Festival Brooch on his 60th birthday. Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler presented the award to him after his performance of Elektra.

On 29 August 1985, Franz Welser-Möst made his Salzburg Festival debut in a serenade featuring works by Mozart and Haydn. And as early as August 1989, after his concert with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, Karl Harb predicted a great career for the young conductor in the Salzburger Nachrichten, calling his gift a “first-rate capital for the future.” Between 1985 and 2019 he appeared 68 times at the Salzburg Festival, leading 41 opera performances and 27 concerts. By the end of the 2020 Festival summer, it will have been 47 opera performances and a total of 74 appearances.

Franz Welser-Möst made Festival history mainly with interpretations of Richard Strauss’ great operas: “Franz Welser-Möst has given the Salzburg Festival true moments of glory, thanks to his profound knowledge of Richard Strauss’ music and his perfect symbiosis with the Vienna Philharmonic,” Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser expressed his gratitude.

In her birthday speech, Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler spoke of the long and successful history which Franz Welser-Möst and the Salzburg Festival share. One of the secrets of his success, she said, is that he conceives opera as a total work of art. Working at eye level with outstanding and challenging directors such as Simon Stone for Lear in 2017, Romeo Castellucci for Salome in 2018 and 2019, and Krzysztof Warlikowski for Elektra this year, he created unforgettable experiences.

The Ruby Festival Brooch has been previously awarded to such artists as Christa Ludwig, Christian Stückl, Jürgen Flimm, Riccardo Muti, Mariss Jansons, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Daniel Barenboim.

The Maestro was also awarded the Badge of Merit of the State of Salzburg.

“I am particularly pleased that Franz Welser-Möst, an internationally sought-after conductor of the very highest standing, enjoys such a close relationship with the Festival and with Salzburg in general, and also communicates this widely. He has made a lasting mark here as the leader of outstanding interpretations and productions, but also as a human being. Franz Welser-Möst at 60, the Salzburg Festival at 100 – those two anniversaries go together and should be celebrated accordingly,” said Landeshauptmann Wilfried Haslauer.