Upfront

Mar
2007

Now THIS is Really CLASSIC

Now THIS is Really CLASSIC

We only wish we had predicted it or even suggested it: Two Austrian companies, renowned worldwide for the precision and distinction of their craft have come together in a unique partnership. Making a full face debut at the classic Wiener Philharmoniker 2007 New Year’s Concert over 70 musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra were wearing Silhouette eyewear. That striking union will now be a sight (so to speak) at all of their sold out concerts worldwide.

In the course of the orchestra’s 160 year history, Austria’s musical ambassadors have been communicating the language of music around the world and captivating audiences all over with the brilliant precision and impeccable style. Their pre-eminence was well captured by Richard Strauss when he said, “All praise of the Vienna Philharmonic reveals itself as understatement.” Recently voted Europe’s Finest Orchestra by noted French music magazine, Le Monde de la Musique, there are few groups of musicians more highly admired.

Their legendary performances demand perfect eyesight for reading music and following the conductor’s cues so the choice of ideal eyewear is critical. The frames need to also be as light as possible and comfort is critical since fiddling around with glasses is not an option during any given performance no matter what the length. “Around 80 percent of our musicians wear glasses and even very slight near- or farsightedness must be corrected because the sheet of music has to be easily readable and the view of the conductor must be completely unobstructed,” says Clemens Hellsberg, president of the Vienna Philharmonic. Most of the musicians in the orchestra even have a special pair of glasses just for playing music, which is carefully adapted to suit the exact distance between the eye and music stand. Silhouette’s fit is also a crucial feature since musicians cannot stop to adjust or push up their glasses during a performance.

Silhouette’s Schmied family has been lifelong supporters of the arts, particularly of music. Klaus Schmied, son of founder Arnold Schmied and director of Silhouette International, says, “What is important to us is that the Vienna Philharmonic musicians feel comfortable and each of them is equipped with perfect eyewear.” He points out, “It is interesting to note that the musicians’ need for eyewear with lightweight wearing comfort, precise visual acuity and perfect fit is the same as that of NASA astronauts, who also choose to wear our glasses on their missions in space.”

The musicians chose Silhouette’s iconic, lightweight rimless collection, Titan Minimal Art, with its innovative hinge-free design, HyperFlex titanium material and durable TwinLock pressure mount system. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra president, also an eyeglass wearer, expresses his pleasure about the partnership saying, “Apart from the fact that we need glasses for our work and thus have very high standards of quality, the emotional factor also plays an important role, because, after all, Silhouette is one of the most successful, internationally renowned companies in Austria.”

This past January the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was broadcast into millions of households all over the world, conducted by Zubin Mehta. We watched him soar exuberant to contemplative, offering listeners and viewers a source of optimism and joy for the coming year. And, for the first time the musicians were treated to a new sight, viewing their sheet music and their conductor through Silhouette eyewear. Smart marketing? Yes, to an extent, but this match-up is simply music to 20/20’s ears… and eyes.
— James J. Spina


 

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