The motto of the 24th edition of the Tyrollean new music festival KLANGSPUREN (07.09. – 24.09.2017) is asking a bit of a loaded question. One that is just a bit mischievous. Because anyone who asks a question like that just wants to get things over with. And if any more questions are raised, the answer is going to be as short as possible. The questioners will be belittled and problems swept under the rug.

That is why a dialectical reversal is needed. On the one hand, rather than getting too comfortable with the existing situation the idea is to engage in an ongoing critical examination of new music in terms of its ties to reality and views of the world,  especially in times of great insecurity and polarising changes. At the same time the aim is to do something which ought to be perfectly natural but which still is not.

The Festival shifts the coordinates of the gender balance to favour the musical work of women. When it comes to contemporary music, it is hard to overlook the clear and widespread asymmetry in the representation of female musicians, especially in the role of composers. And that, despite the fact that women often find especially striking forms of expression.

It is not about numbers or quota systems but the natural manifestation of female creativity. This is the focus of KLANGSPUREN 2017, though of course without excluding the music of male artists. It is merely a matter of emphasis.

Sofia Gubaidulina (c) Olaf Malzahn
Sofia Gubaidulina (c) Olaf Malzahn

This year Sofia Gubaidulina, the grande dame of new music and perhaps the most prominent living female composer, has been enlisted as composer in residence at the Klangspuren Festival and at the KLANGSPUREN INTERNATIONAL ENSEMBLE MODERN ACADEMY (30.08.–10.09.). Since the 1960s the now 85-year-old artist of Russian-Tartar descent has been a formidable and unmistakable voice that is rooted in existential spirituality. One that transcends all conventions and is capable of moving listeners deeply.

The program offers a broad panorama of salient musical positions including the text-voice performance “any questions?” by the Australian Chris Mann (09.09.), who inspired this year’s festival motto, the Tyrolean debut of the Graz-based Schallfeld Ensemble (15.+17.09.), the South Tyrolean electronic trio dark matter’s large-scale project in conjunction with the ringing of the Innsbruck Cathedral bell (16.09.), an homage to Joan La Barbara with a series of vocal performative premieres as part of the KLANGSPUREN Pilgerwanderung (17.09.), and a cycle of five piano recitals culminating in Galina Ustvolskaya’s six furious piano sonatas with Sabine Leitner (23.09.). The unwearied can groove to a live set by the legendary sound performer and techno DJ Electric Indigo (23.09.).


Adritti Quartett (c) Astrid Karger

As part of a longstanding tradition the Tyrollean Symphony Orchestra will perform the opening concert (07.09.) featuring the works from three generations of female composers. Aside from a large orchestral work from Sofia Gubaidulina, new compositions from Cathy Milliken and Sarah Nemtsov will be premiered in Austria. Cathy Milliken has long been connected with the KLANGSPUREN through her role as director of the performance and composing workshop KLANGSPUREN LAUTSTARK and the workshop for teens, KLANGSPUREN LAUTSTÄRKER.

Klangspuren Lautstark is celebrating it’s tenth anniversary this year and the creative productions of both workshops will be included in this years programme. Klangspuren Lautstark will be providing a warm-up before the opening concert with a taste of their work from this summer’s workshop and Klangspuren Lautstärker will be providing fresh works for the percussionists Philipp Lamprecht and Andreas Schiffer in Treibhaus (15.09.). The Treibhaus will also be the setting for performances from the Irish artist Jennifer Walshe as well as the legendary Arditti String Quartet performing Olga Neuwirth’s “realms of the unreal” (09.09.).

The exhibition from Käthe Kruse, “Danke! Die Tödliche Doris” with the performances “Lieder in Leder und Krieg” is a cooperation with the gallery of the city of Schwaz and KLANGSPUREN SCHWAZ (09.09. – 26.10.2017). She builds on the cooperation of both institutions in which the meeting of art and music has already proven itself in the past.

Electric Indigo (c) Michael Breyer
Electric Indigo (c) Michael Breyer

The format of the Late Nite Lounges is oriented on a younger audience and offers electronic and advanced improvisational music. Next to DJane Electric Indigo, Käthe Kruse will perform “Krieg” (08.09) and the composer-performer ensemble Les Femmes Savantes will perform together with the South-Tyrollean vocalist and guitarist Margareth Kammerer (09.09.). “Série Rose” is a programme focused on the relationship between music and erotic for voice, piano and sampler by Monika Pasiecznik (22.09.).

Laurie Anderson, world renowned figurehead for poetic and technologically advanced multi-media performance art will be closing the festival with her calling examination of everyday madness in search of a future-oriented language (24.09).

“Noch Fragen? Any Questions?”

Yes, there are still quite a few open questions. Questions about music. Questions about the music business. Let us ask them!


Klangspuren Schwaz