When it comes to the more sophisticated end of the music spectrum, Vienna tends to be associated with older eras. It’s sort of inevitable when denizens of the city included Mozart, Schubert, Haydn, and Beethoven. The Wien Modern festival belies that impression by showcasing the work of more contemporary composers.
- Annual 30+ day contemporary music festival
- Dozens of premieres & prestigious international performers
- 2021 dates: TBA (was Oct 29 – Nov 29 in 2020)
- See also: Concerts in Vienna
What’s Wien Modern all about?
Put away the period costume and your plastic Mozart figurine. We’re talking more John Cage than Johann Strauss in a celebration of contemporary music that also draws in the visual arts.
First established back in 1988 by Claudio Abbado, Wien Modern sits at the interface between tradition and innovation, the past and the future. At least that’s my impression.
About a month’s worth of concerts and other events gently nudge aside the conventional music scene to give voice to more avant-garde approaches, fearlessly incorporating electronic music, dance, and similar to pronounce classical music as an ongoing process.
As well as featuring the work of some of the best contemporary composers the world has to offer, it usually also features some of the best performers, such as the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.
Numerous venues normally participate. These typically run the gamut from classical favourites, like the Konzerthaus, to art-flavoured coffee houses, like Café Korb, and more unusual locations, such as the Naturhistorisches Museum.
The 2020 event took place largely online and without an audience, but the streaming offers reinforced the innovative and creative nature of the whole Wien Modern experience.
2021 dates and tickets
I’ll post dates as soon as I have them, but Wien Modern normally begins at the end of October, and carries on through until the end of November.
Check the official website for a full schedule of events and locations, once available.
The official website is also the place to purchase individual tickets and festival passes, though some events may be free.