Wien Modern 2020: October 29 – November 29

Wien Modern 2020
Wien Modern 2020

Update 01/11: Due to new restrictions imposed in Austria, Wien Modern is adapting its festival production. From the 3rd to the 30th November 2020, all events in Austria are prohibited by law. Numerous productions of the festival will be adapted to the new situation and/or made publicly accessible via radio or free streams. Find all updates on the festival website

The 33rd edition of the prestigious Viennese festival Wien Modern is taking place under the banner “Mood” from October 29 – November 29, 2020. 104 events with 44 new productions with 85 premieres and first performances at 33 venues in nine Viennese districts will be offered over 32 days.

Tabea Zimmermann (c) Marco Borggreve
Tabea Zimmermann (c) Marco Borggreve

Persistent as always, Wien Modern is defying 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.

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.

Fennesz - (c) Maria Ziegelböck
Fennesz – (c) Maria Ziegelböck

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.

Klaus Lang (c) Markus Sepperer
Klaus Lang (c) Markus Sepperer

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.

Find the full programme here.

Wien Modern
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