Waltz in 2011 With Salute to Vienna at the Arsht Center

So, you and your family have piled into the car and visited every relative. You've been jammed elbow to elbow in endless retail lines. You've eaten and drunk enough to launch a diabetic coma. Now there is only one holiday ritual left: Neujahrskonzert.

What? This fun-to-mispronounce German word loosely translates to "New Year's concert." And though a Miami New Year may be more often associated with eating a dozen grapes or shooting guns in the air, slowly but surely, the annual Salute to Vienna has been, well, waltzing into our local traditions too. Hear and see it this Sunday at the Arsht Center.

"This is the 12th consecutive year at the Arsht Center," says

producer Attila Glatz. Um, the Arsht only opened in 2006, but we get the

point that the Salute to Vienna has been going on a long time, all

around the world. "It's sold out in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago,"

Glatz points out. "In Vienna, this concert is being produced for the

past 75 years, every year. Now with television, it is televised to 1.5

billion people."

The Miami tradition includes music composed by Johann Strauss. This

year, it's conducted by Viennese conductor Gerhard Track and played by

musicians recruited for the occasion from local orchestras. The music

will be interpreted by dancers from the National Ballet of Hungary, now

celebrating its 125th anniversary, as well as world-champion waltzers

from the Szilver Ballroom Association, also of Hungary. And while we

know Hungary is not in Vienna, it is the site of the beautiful Blue

Danube, which inspired Strauss's most popular waltz.

The waltz has been around since 1776, but the Salute to Vienna never

gets old. "Every year it's a new cast," Glatz explains. "Totally

different waltzes and polkas." But the old favorites always come back,

and the crowd goes wild. "We always do two to three encores," Glatz

adds. "It's like a pop concert. The waltzes, the polkas, are so

uplifting. It just makes everybody feel good. It's like a glass of

champagne; it goes down smooth." With all that, who needs bottle service

at a South Beach club?

Start waltzing into the New Year at 7 p.m. on Sunday at the

Arsht Center's Knight Concert Hall (1300 NE Biscayne Blvd, Miami). Tickets cost $45 to $105. Call

305-949-6722 or visit

--Nelson Hernandez

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Miami New Times staff