To the rousing strains of Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony, Basel has begun a year-long programme of festivities to mark the 500th anniversary of its two half-cantons joining the Swiss Confederation.This content was published on January 12, 2001 - 12:03
Nearly 7,000 people were in the city's main trade fair building for the opening concert, which was sold out weeks in advance.
There was music from 15 local choirs - with some 800 singers - and Mahler's "Sinfonie der Tausend" was played by the Basel Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Howard Griffiths.
It cost about SFr800,000 ($500,000) to stage the spectacle, which was financed by ticket sales, sponsorship and grants from the half-cantons of Basel City and Basel Country.
swissinfo with agencies