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
- 2022 dates: TBA (was Oct 30 – Nov 30 in 2021)
- 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 Ruprechtskirche church or 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. And 2021 had both in-person and online events. We shall see what 2022 brings.
2022 dates and tickets
Wien Modern took up all of November in 2021, running from October 30th to November 30th. I anticipate similar dates for 2022, but check the official website for details and a full schedule of events and locations, once available.
The official website is also the place to find information on tickets and festival passes, though some events may be free.