So, how’s the mood?
A new programme. New rules. A new Personal Pass. A new website with a new online ticket sale system. New venues, and by the way, a new office. 44 new productions and 85 new pieces. Persistent as always, we aren’t backing down in the face of the year 2020 with its unpredictable mood swings, atmosphere shifts, and vibe killers. The way to the festival this year has been flexible, with a lot of detours (which we don’t want to bore you with). We are taking course towards a festival as large as you would expect from Wien Modern.
Wien Modern has 32 days to show you the variety and the power of current forms of expression in music. This is far too little when you consider how alive, contradictory and productive the scenes in Vienna are on their own. This time around, Graz, Linz, and Salzburg are involved in a total of five partnerships with Austrian music universities (07.11. 19:00). Belgium (22.11.), Italy (13.–16.11.), Great Britain, France, Germany, the USA, and especially Switzerland (31.10., 26.11.) are contributing remarkable premieres this year (among many others).
All of this will be waiting for you all over Vienna in 34 venues, big and small. The small ones will be getting even smaller in the year of the the Austrian baby elephant, but they are an essential part of the festival. We would rather spend a long time developing version 2.0 of the old General Pass than to send Wien Modern three decades back in time by reducing it to a handful of big concert halls. We hope that you familiarise yourself with the new Personal Pass, the other special COVID conditions, as well as the new symbols for reduced capacity and compulsory decentralised reservation.
Your reward will be an array of unusual musical experiences: Edu Haubensak’s eleven pianos in the empty Great Hall of the Wiener Konzerthaus (31.10), two open days in workshops for experimental instrument making (07.+ 08.11.), a virtual headphone room by Fennesz (17.–21.11.), Klaus Lang’s giant organ concerto for socially distanced Wiener Symphoniker in St. Stephen’s Cathedral (19.11.), even more unusual projects in churches (07. /11. / 26.11.), the Art History Museum transformed into a sound bath you can walk around in with >2 meters of distance (28.11.), and many more.
All of these projects are only tangentially related to our efforts to adapt to the crisis. They are, however, a direct result of the festival’s theme, for which many artists have been developing new works for years. The German term ‘Stimmung’ is used to talk about not just a feeling, or an atmosphere; but also about musical intonation or the tuning of an instrument. Music sets the tune, and the mood, in its search for common sound. In fine nuances, it finds surprising, touching, beautiful alternatives to the rigid patterns of the past. The 33rd edition of the Festival Wien Modern with its extraordinary listening moments and immersive soundscapes invites you into a world full of new sound systems, radically tuned colour palettes and unusual instruments.
We wish you (and us) intense reunions with music and the act of listening to it together! Stay safe, stay tuned, and see you soon.
Bernhard Guenther and the Wien Modern team