Music in Austria
Austria is seen all over the world as the country of music. And within the boundaries of music, Mozart stands for the embodiment of classical perfection.
However, Mozart was not the only composer to have worked in Salzburg and Vienna, where it is possible to visit many of his former homes. Austria is also the country of Bruckner, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Haydn, Mahler, Schonberg, Strauss and many more.
Beethoven wrote his 9th symphony in Baden, just outside Viebba; Bruckner comes from Ansfelden, just outside Linz, and the capital city of the province of Upper Austria honors his work each year with its Bruckner Festival. Joseph Haydn spent much of his life in Eisenstadt. In the Schloss Esterhazy in Eisenstadt , the best interpreters of Haydn convene every year for concerts given in their historic original settings.
Gustav Mahler not only worked as a choir master in Vienna- you can also visit the composer's cottage in Steinbach am Attersee, where he composed many of his symphonies while "on holiday". And the golden Johann-Strauss memorial in the Wiener Wiener Stadtpark is photographed hundreds of times every day. Today Austria remains a vibrant country of music.
The Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna Boyr' Choir or Nikolaus Harnon court's "Concentus Musicus" are renowned over the world. Every year, a wide variety of festivals right across the country brings together an international array of performers. As an example, should be mentioned the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna Festival Weeks, the Innsbruck Festival Weeks with the concerts in the Ambraser Schloss castle, where the sound of music played on historical instruments is celebrated, the "Carinthischer Sommer" event in Carinthia, the Graz "styriarte", the "Klangspuren Schwaz" for contemporary music or the Arc Electronica in Linz. In addition to these, there are numbers of performances in the many castles and monasteries, open-air stages during the summer, ranging right from all periods and styles of music. Enthusiasts all over the world take particular delight, for example, in the wind instrument music played at the "MID Europe" festival of culture in Schladming.
Opera and operetta have a tradition, and not only in the opera houses and festival concert halls in Vienna, Graz, Salzburg or Bregenz. This year, the Triol Festival in Erl is performing Wagner's "Ring Der Nibelungen" in its entirety-and this will be the second time they have taken this challenge. Aida is being staged on the largest natural stage in Europe, in a quarry dating from Roman times in St. Margareten in Burgenland. Morbisch on the Neusiedler See has a long tradition of classical operetta, using elaborate stage equipment and performed with great success-and once more in the open air. At the other end of the country, the Bregenz Festpiele hosts popular operas and musicals performed on the largest floating stages in the world. The jazz scene is well represented in Austria as well; you only have to think of Vienna Art Orhestra or the Wiesen Festival to agree with that.
There is an equally lively tradition of folk music-for example in the form of Scrammelmusic (popular Viennese music) and numerous folk music and brass band festivals. Modern dance flourishes in the new St. Polten Festspielhaus, at the ImPulsTanz event in Vienna or at the summer event Tanzsommer Innsbruck.
Music and musical theatre in Austria are rightly acclaimed as a world-class. But Austrian drama productions are also receiving great praise-not only in Vienna at the Burghtheatre, but also in many large and small theatres across the country. Several film festivals with an international audience, and major art festivals such as the " steirische herbst", attract artists and art enthusiasts from all over the world. New, controversial museum buildings also contribute to the important art scene in Austria: the Vienna Museums Quartier with Leopold Museums (Schiele), the Museum of Modern Art (Museum fur moderne Kunst, or Mumok for short) and the Kunsthalle Wien, the Bregenz Kunsthaus and the Graz Kunsthaus, the Lentos in Linz, the Kunstahalle Krems or the Essl Collection in Klosterneuburg are not just renowned for exhibiting major works of art. They are also architecturally appropriate setting for exhibitions by contemporary artists.
Then there is a vast number of castles, palaces, monasteries and churches which are tourist sights: Schloss Schonbrunn and the Hofburg, the Marchfeld Palaces of Prinz Eugen and Maria Theresia, the Melk monastery or cathedral at Gurk- to mention only the most-well known of all of them. But even if you go beyond the major tourist attractions, you can still make many pleasing discoveries: how about a visit to the witches' museum in Riegersburg in Styria, or to the Austrian Museum of Baking in Wels? You can marvel at the incisive drawings of Manfred Deix in the Krems Museum of Caricature or at Friedensreich Hundertwasses's imaginative fantasies in the KunstHausWien ; in Baden there is the Rollet Museum, the open-air museum at the Archaologischer Park Carnuntum takes you back to Roman Times. The new Sisi -Museum in the Hofburg is sure to be popular with visitors. Austria is a country of culture of excellence, offering something for every taste and every requirement. It doesn't need to be the New Year's Day concert with the Vienna Philharmonic. Sometimes the concert by a chamber music ensemble in a Baroque palace somewhere in the country, or a visit to a small museum, is even more fascinating.
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