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Performed in a different European city each year, the incomparable Berlin Philharmonic's annual Europakonzert commemorates the orchestra's 1882 founding while celebrating the cultural life of the European community. From the elegant Teatro Massimo opera house in Palermo, Sicily, the 2002 concert features sensational violinist Gil Shaham joining conductor Claudio Abbado in a performance of Johannes Brahms' Violin Concerto, Op. 77. Also featured on the program is one of the most beloved works in the symphonic repertoire, Antonín Dvorák's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World," as well as the dramatic overture to Giuseppe Verdi's Sicilian Vespers.
Maestro Abbado led the Berlin Philharmonic as they inaugurated the Europakonzert series at Prague's Smetana Hall in 1991, so it seems fitting that he has chosen this Europakonzert, in his native Italy, for his last televised concert as the principal conductor and artistic director of the orchestra.