Austria lies in the very heart of Europe. The diversity of the country’s landscape and culture create a one-of-a-kind festival environment.
Since time immemorial, trade and travel routes have intersected on the territory of what is today Austria, with the Alpine passes linking Northern Europe with the regions around the Mediterranean Sea, and the Danube connecting West and East. Through Austria’s role as both a thoroughfare and meeting place, a large number of peoples and cultures have shaped this country’s history. Equally diverse is Austria’s landscape, from the Alps to the Pannonian Plain and from the high-moor bogs of the Waldviertel region to the gently rolling hills of southern Styria. Vienna, as the centuries-old imperial capital and royal seat of the Habsburgs, and one of the world’s leading cultural centres, was and still is home to many artists. It is this diversity of the country’s landscape and culture that creates such an extraordinary festival environment.
Over 200 festivals are held throughout the country each year. From the prestigious world-class festivals to the smaller events closely tied to a particular region, they are all greatly influenced by the special history of this country, by the interaction with the surrounding landscape, the aura of the cities and the manifold culinary traditions. And, of course, by the people who live here.
The Salzburg Festival, the most important event of its kind in the world, was conceived as a peace project to reconcile the peoples of a Europe devastated by war, while rediscovering one’s musical roots and encountering the traditions of other cultures is the theme of the Glatt&Verkehrt world-music festival in Krems.
A long festival tradition
The tradition of performing arts-festivals in Austria began in 1920 with the founding of the Salzburg Festival. The political difficulties facing Europe at the time found here their counterpoint in music. A number of other now-venerable Austrian festivals were subsequently established.
The Bregenz Festival dedicated its first season, in 1946, to the musical genius of Mozart and up until the 1970s frequently presented operettas on the lake stage. Both festivals are now venues for top-notch opera productions that enthral music lovers from all over the world. In 1960s and 1970s avant-garde music began making inroads into Austrian musical circles, with the focus on unconventional performances outside of concert halls and musical experimentation. This period saw the founding of festivals such as “Aspekte Salzburg” and “steirischer herbst”, which was established in 1968 as the first major Austrian festival for contemporary art. Some ten years later Linz’s Bruckner Festival produced an offshoot in the form of the Ars Electronica Festival, whose programme was explicitly future-oriented and committed to transcending artistic boundaries. Today, significant artistic trends in Austria include musical genres such as “New Electronic”, new soundscapes from the area of media art, as well as fresh interpretations of Alpine folk music, all indicative of the rich diversity and the variety of influences that characterize this country’s musical landscape. Events like the Balkan Fever Festival, the Accordion Festival, the Glatt & Verkehrt folk music festival, and the KlezMORE Festival promote encounters with other cultures by presenting a wide range of musical traditions.
As a royal seat of the Habsburgs, Innsbruck was one of Europe’s major musical centres in the Renaissance and Baroque. The Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, the oldest ancient-music festival still in existence, creates a bridge back to this glorious past. Many other festivals are also devoted to Austria’s celebrated musical traditions. As the world’s most important Schubert festival, the Schubertiade, held in the Vorarlberg towns of Hohenems and Schwarzenberg, still retains a certain intimacy.
Alpine pasture concerts at Europe’s most important festival for contemporary jazz in Saalfelden, Austrian folk music at the Schrammelmusik Festival in the Waldviertel and the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz are just a few examples of the great variety of Austria’s festival culture, which year for year draws new visitors from near and far. Each year these festivals invite guests on a journey of discovery for all the senses, leading from Bregenz to Neusiedl am See and from Klagenfurt to Vienna.
AufhOHRchen in Grafenwörth and Ybbs
Traditional & modern, urban & rural – school projects, pub music, a choir gathering, street musicians, main evening concert, Sound Path, symposium, Sunday morning folk music concert, open air concert; all in all a programme of music in the hEAR & now.
Schrammel Sounds in Litschau
Viennese “Schrammelmusik”: traditional and unconventional, folk culture and literature.
Neue Wiener Concert Schrammeln. © Karl Satzinger
MID EUROPE in Schladming
The focus here is on concerts of brass band music: old and new, familiar and foreign, local and international – plenty to appeal to brass band enthusiasts from Austria, Europe and the whole world.
Glatt und verkehrt in Krems
“Forget everything you thought you knew about folk music! … This festival shows what happens when you give folk music from far and wide half a chance to break out.” (jazzzatlas 2007)
Aufsteirern in Graz
Held in Graz’s historic Old Town, the programme surveys folk culture with a specifically Styrian flavour.
WEAN HEAN in Vienna
Mid-September to mid-October An autumn festival of Viennese song, from traditional to contemporary.
KlezMORE in Wien
This festival ranges from traditional to avant-garde Klezmer music. The programme includes workshops on singing and dancing.
SUGGESTED LINKS on new folk music:
At the Bregenz Festival in July/August, a night at the opera begins long before the conductor raises his baton. Ships take visitors across the water directly to the floating stage, thereby becoming part of the production themselves.
For four weeks in summer, audiences experience monumental opera productions in an unknown intensity under starry skies. Opera performances in the Festspielhaus, orchestra concerts and theatre guest performances, contemporary music on the workshop stage, in the Festspielhaus and the Kunsthaus Bregenz as well as numerous events as part of the youth cross-culture series complement the programme of a festival where the show doesn’t end on the stage ramp.
The fascination of the Bregenz Festival is owed to the combination of popular opera and a bold, edgy artistic profile.
A festival begins every year with a giant party in the town hall square that combines cultural events of the highest quality with socially relevant content and objectives.
Vienna is one of the world’s leading cultural metropolises. In the 60 years of its existence, the Wiener Festwochen (Viennese Festival Week) has secured an important place as innovative festivals with international cooperation. Events are performed in various places throughout the city cross all sectors – opera, theatre, concerts, performances and installations – whether in the Museumsquartier, one of the ten largest cultural complexes in the world, at the Theater an der Wien, the Musikverein, the Playhouse or in the markets and squares of the city.
Classic, contemporary or classic modern music in operas and concerts, legendary theatre marathons and the Vienna Boys Choir in the Church building are part of the programme, just like the annual „Into the City” series, whose aim is to address different communities in Vienna and integrate them into the cultural activities of the city.
The Bezau Beatz, the festival of the BezauBregrenzerwald municipality, offers a combination of village scenery and urban, cosmopolitan music every Tuesday evening from late July to late August.
The Bregrenz forest offers modern wooden architecture – recently presented in the Museum of Modern Art in New York – farms, a healthy environment and magnificent scenery. It is this special blend of tradition and modernity which is the ideal breeding ground for numerous cultural initiatives and fine festivals in rural areas. One of these is Bezau Beatz which surprises you in the village square with music from around the world; more specifically, with pop, classical, jazz, rock, avant-garde and regional music.
Alfred Vogel, musician and go-getting initiator, says: „We respect the old and welcome the new, we remain true to ourselves and our country.” Big acts of today, like the Wolfgang Muthspiel Trio, meet the big acts of tomorrow, and drums from Ghana are just as likely to be heard as Caribbean sounds and brass bands from the alpine area. A trip to the magnificent surroundings should not be missed.
Klagenfurt becomes a literary capital every year in summer. The Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, the most lucrative literary award in the German-speaking world, is deemed the highlight of the Days of German Language Literature.
The prestigious Bachmann Prize is the springboard for German-language authors into the higher echelons of the literary Olympus. The level of annual competition reading in the Klagenfurt ORF theatre is accordingly high. Time and again, sharp texts – often by young authors – provide for lively discussions within the jury. What is sometimes embarrassing for the author – listening to harsh reviews up to mercilessly being panned – makes for the special charm for the public. Tensions and emotional outbursts can often be found razor thin side by side in the matter of fact framework of the Klagenfurt broadcasting centre.
If you want to excitedly follow the Bachmann Prize, you can do so in the tranquil Klagenfurt Lendhafen harbour. That is where – in a style quite befitting a world leader – a literary public viewing takes place each day. It is accompanied with an exciting evening programme with DJs, performances and concerts. The Klagenfurt Robert-Musil-Haus – seat of Musil Museum and the Carinthian Literary Archive – provides the perfect location for more literary events during the Festival of German language literature.
Surrounded by vineyards, the metal-clad cube of the Loisium wine experience world rises up and shows that the Langenlois wine town knows how to combine modernity with tradition. The Loisiarte Music and Literature Festival is also dedicated to this electric field in March.
An ideal climate, optimum soil and a long wine growing tradition make the Lower Austrian Langenlois a centre of excellence in wine. The Losium wine experience world guides visitors with all of their senses into the fascinating world of wine. The tour guides guests through the 900-year-old labyrinth of the old wine cellar, before bringing you back underground after a break in the romantic inner courtyard of a former wine farm.
This is also where the Loisiarte festival takes place: contemporary and classical music mixed with literature ring around for four days in March. Of course, a wine tasting with one of the top Langenloiser winemakers is part of every concert. And in the restaurant of the adjacent Loisium hotel, a cultural experience menu is then served, matched to the theme of the evening.
The Bregrenz Spring combines being in the moment with dance.From March to June.
Premieres and Austrian first runs of internationally successful choreographers, troupes from Spain, the Netherlands, France, China, numerous African countries and Austria show contemporary dance in its many forms.
The festival is meanwhile considered as one of the most important dance festivals in the German speaking area. Performances by Companía María Pagés, one of the global leading Flamenco troupes, the Nederlands Dans Theater II and the Flemish-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkauoui are particularly acclaimed at the festival.
“Glatt & Verkehrt”
Krems / Lower Austria
Since 1997, Krems and its surroundings have been a home for artists from all over the world who criticise their own musical roots in original, funny and surprising ways.
“Glatt & Verkehrt” is Austria’s largest festival for traditional music from all over the world. The covered courtyard of the main building of the „Winzer Krems“ wine cooperative in the sand pit 13 with stunning views over the city, the Danube and the Göttweig monastery is the main venue of the festival.
While on stage in a covered internal courtyard Latin rhythms, dulcimers and free bass accordions play, fine wines come from the cellar and foods from the region are served in the adjoining tents. Located high above the Danube, the Baroque Göttweig monastery houses the music workshop where you are taught for two weeks. With the arcaded courtyard in the stone Minorite cloister, a new, charming open-air venue was gained next to the Krems Minorite Church sound space.
The Festival Theatre, Festspielhaus, in Erl makes the Tyrolean festival a cultural highlight. It doesn’t just impress with world-renowned operas and inspiring concerts, you are also witness to an imposing, architectural play.
Since 2012, Erl has had a top-notch classical festival in winter in Tyrol. That’s when an exquisite repertoire from world famous operas and numerous concerts appear on the programme in the Festspielhaus. It’s not just the visitors who particularly value the new theatre, but musicians too. Let’s not forget that it has both excellent acoustics and the world’s largest orchestra pit.“This theatre is a living idea,“ says Gustav Kuhn, founder and director of the Tyrolean Festival. “Here, at last, all the potential that the Accademia di Montegral and the Tiroler Festspiele Erl developed over the years can come to fruition.
This includes the promotion of young talent. For this reason, the baton is also passed to young conductors.” Architecturally, the Festspielhaus is just as unique. In summer, when the Tyrolean festivals in Erl take place in the adjacent bright Passionsspielhaus, the Festspielhaus blends harmoniously into the dark forest landscape in the background with its dark façade – thereby giving the Passionsspielhaus priority. In winter, however, the Festspielhaus makes its grand entrance: that’s when it’s the main event with its dark facade amidst the bright, snowy landscape.
Uniquely distinctive: taking place in April, Krems Danube Festival is considered the festival for contemporary artistic positions in the electric field between performance and sound art, experimentalism, pop and subculture.
Easter is barely over when the Danube Festival in Krems annually unpacks its surprises. The initiators of the project pay special attention to the (as yet) unknown and an abundance of their own productions that can only be experienced here. Nevertheless, the programme always offers big international acts: that’s where Rufus Wainwright presented one of his albums, the Melvins had an acclaimed appearance, Peaches brought you techno-punk and even John Cale has stopped off here once. Artists other than the Curator in Residence co-design part of the programme every year. Walks with psychedelic music along the hypothalamus or with the noise rockers Sonic Youth right at the threshold of pain are also offered at the Danube festival as well as discourse operettas, musical film projects, performances and experimental sidelines. All in all, a young festival program guaranteed to be unusual pleasantly stands out from the mainstream.
The “place name sign“ marked Styria welcomes travellers in 25 languages. A sign of cosmopolitanism which is also representative of the spirit of the Styrian autumn.
When a group of painters, architects and photographers wanted to build an exhibition hall in the late 1950s in a late nineteenth century style cafe, they were initially rejected. The plan got underway in 1960. Forum Stadtpark was originally a platform for art, architecture, film, photography and music. The Styrian autumn avant-garde festival then followed in 1968.
As cross-border and cross-genre as the festival is, its centre is also nomadic, opening each year in a different place. A cafe, club, lounge, information centre, academy, casino and concert hall are the main stages of a festival that includes music, performance, dance, theatre, literature, architecture, new media and theory in its programme.
Innsbruck was one of the European centres of music in the renaissance and baroque periods. The Innsbruck festival week, the oldest festival for early music still in existence, follows on from this tradition in August.
As one of the leading festivals of its kind, the Early Music Festival attracts the best known performers of early music. In addition to many original ensembles, opera stars like Jennifer Larmore and countertenor Derek Lee Ragin have performed. A varied programme of events accompanies the festival week.
Backstage events provide a glimpse behind the scenes and at the lunch concerts in the courtyard garden you can eat, drink and listen to music (free of charge). Festive lift music fills the squares of the city like the Tyrolean Archdukes at the time. And the golden age of the Renaissance experiences its resurrection during the castle festival at Ambras Castle.
The Viennese singer/songwriter scene comes together every year with internationally renowned acts at a small, but extremely refined, festival.
At the end of November every year, music lovers gather at a a very special event in Vienna: the Blue Bird Festival of the Vienna Songwriting Association. The three-day series of events deals with contemporary forms of songwriting such as antifolk, weird folk and Americana, whilst small, choice concerts take place in different scene locations.
The focal point of the Blue Bird Festival is the native singer/songwriter scene which has positively exploded in the last few years and produced scene stars such as Marilies Jagsch, Tini Trampler, Ernst Molden and Clara Luzia. The festival programme is varied and high-quality, from charming neo-folk to experimental electronic sounds.
Great art in small groups: the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival, declared as European cultural heritage by the „New York Times“ and named as one of the world’s two best festivals, transforms into a 1000-people village in the centre of chamber music for two weeks in July.
The festival in Lockenhaus, founded by world-renowned violinist Gidon Kremer, offers its artists a unique space for joint experimentation. Often ensembles come together specially for a composition or disband solid groupings in order to appear in new ensembles locally. Rehearsals are usually open to the public. The musicians only give 24-hour notice of what will actually be heard at the next concert, a peculiarity that the audience has long known to appreciate and which gives the festival its special workshop character.
So much openness and desire to innovate knows no musical boundaries: classical music is offered alongside music from the 20th century and explorations in lesser known new territories. Lockenhaus lies in the middle of the Geschriebenstein nature park. The Castle Trail connects Lockenhaus Castle with Schlaining Castle, Bernstein Castle and Forchtenstein Castle, amongst others. Together with the nearby thermal baths and the Blaufränkisch region with its large wine culture, the festival offers the opportunity for a varied supporting programme.
Contributing to overcoming barriers: every summer at the beginning of August, Graz becomes the stage for street and puppet theatre at the festival.
Those waiting were quite astonished at the S-Bahn station when a professional agency prepared a splendid train station ceremony for them, romantic or manly, upon request, including tears and waving handkerchiefs.
This is one of the art performances of a festival that deliberately declares unusual places in the city of Graz and some Styrian communities as venues. Street theatre, acrobatics, mime, puppet and mask theatre, children’s theatre, dance and clownery create space for encounters between the audience and artists from all over Europe, but also between residents from different districts of the city for one and a half weeks a year. La Strada allows you to explore the city and its inhabitants and seeks cross-border encounters. Thus the festival has long been a fixture in the cultural life of the city of Graz.
Kammer am Attersee/Upper Austria
High culture in paradise: as rural echo of the Salzburg Festival, The Attersee Classical Music Festival in July and August brings high culture to one of the most fascinating landscapes in Europe.
Gustav Mahler spent his summers on Lake Atter, as did Johannes Brahms. Gustav Klimt immortalised the lake and the towns on its banks in many paintings. And to this day writers, painters and musicians love Lake Atter. The Attersee Classical Music Festival kicks off every summer at some of the most beautiful locations around the lake. Lake Atter is where Gustav Klimt painted several times in Kammer Castle located on a peninsula and in the privately owned Berghof, where Brahms had already stayed and Hugo von Hofmannsthal read a small round from his “The Knight of the Rose“ for the first time.
The list of participating artists who arrive every year during the festival taking place in July and August is of the highest calibre. Conductors such as Mariss Jansons and Peter Schneider and vocal artists such as Barbara Bonney and Thomas Hampson also make their appearance here as do Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea. Numerous prominent Austrian authors read from their texts.
City of Salzburg
The Salzburg Summer Scene in July wants to move people with the most important international performing arts trends and open up future spaces.
Initially established as a platform for local artists, the summer scene developed in the 1970s and 1980s into an international avant-garde festival. The Summer Scene operates its own theatre in the Salzburg old town at the “republic”, which offers room all year round for productions, especially for young, local, national and international creative artists.
What’s more, a platform to support young artists was created with the apap network. Contemporary dance is the focal point of the Summer Scene Festival in Salzburg. By crossing boundaries and taking artistic risk, theatre, music, film, educational art and performances enrich a programme that wants to be the cerebral innovator for thinking outside the box.
When stalls and seats fill up with a boisterous audience for two weeks in summer, then the jazz festival in the Vienna State Opera has once more pitched its tents.
Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson and Joao Gilberto, the inventor of the Bossanova, have been here. The initiators of Austria’s largest jazz festival broadly interpret the word ‘jazz’ in the same way as Juliette Greco and Ray Charles.
As one of the first magnificent buildings erected on the Ring, the Viennese opera stage was intended for all of them. Alongside the big names and the openness of the programme, you can also find performance venues that add to the unique atmosphere of the Vienna Jazz Festival.
The Spittelau district heating plant
Throughout the summer, the entire town square is a landscape of culture and international cuisine. Not far away, in the historic arcaded courtyard of the town hall, other open-air concerts take place, just as at the Spittelau district heating plant designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. And on summer days on the Viennese Danube Canal you can relax and enjoy listening to jazz on the water in the evenings. Of course, there are also the jazz clubs of the city such as Porgy & Bess and the Jazzland club which is steeped in tradition.
A festival of fantasy in September: in astrology, Trigon refers to a constellation. Creating connections across time and space is also the motto of the Trigonale, Carinthia’s festival of early music.
Beer-hall tables and benches filling the venerable Renaissance courtyard of the St. Veit town hall, candles burning on the tables and English and Irish beer flowing in rivers surprised guests in 2010 when they arrived to hear songs of the taverns and ale houses of seventeenth-century London. And, this being the Trigonale, the hearty musical fare was preceded at the same location by a programme of melancholy odes by Henry Purcell, under the title “Welcome to all the Pleasures”. It is not only the unconventional performance venues in St. Veit and vicinity that make the Trigonale such a special event, but also the astonishing creativity of the festival’s programmers.
The library at the Baroque Ebenthal Castle, for example, which contains the world-famous “Ebenthal Lute Tablatures”, was chosen as the venue for a lute recital, and audiences congregate for a midnight concert in the mystical atmosphere of the church of Tanzenberg. With so much openness and creativity of the festival organisers, it is not surprising to hear the Trigonale in the context of commissioned compositions as well as plenty of contemporary music.
Electronic music is the most important thing on earth. Anyway, that’s the claim of the Graz spring festival, Austria’s largest festival for young electronic music over a long weekend in June every year.
Graz combines the charm of a central European city with the pulsating life of a young metropolis. The spring festival is also held here in addition to a number of other young, avant-garde festivals. Like the city, it combines cosmopolitanism with intimacy and opens up the vibrant local scene. International top electronic music acts, superstar DJs, visual artists and club culture pioneers meet local hopefuls, up-and-coming DJs and underground heroes. Every year, the spring festival dares to create the balancing-act between mass compatibility and being avant-garde with this mix and a programme colourfully straddling genres. And it declares that all significant locations of the city are party zones. Amongst them is Postgarage, one of the hottest clubs in town dominated by electronic beats, as well as the deck of the Parkhouse, a cosy chill-out spot in Graz’s city park.
Even the venerable Thalia serves as a venue for the festival, and, last but not least, all major open-air acts of the vibrant festival get on at City Beach Graz – overlooking Mur Island, the art gallery and St. Francis Church.
World music from Austria’s Waldviertel region: Litschau, Austria’s most northern city, is the birth place of schrammel music. Austrian world music is heard around Lake Herren and Lake Herren Theatre in the old beach park in July for three days – sometimes classic, sometimes jaunty.
It starts in the morning with the matinee in the marquee and ends late at night: the three-day Schrammel.Klang.Festival on historic ground. Kaspar Schrammel was born here in 1811, the father of the brothers Schrammel, the founder of the chart and dance music named after him. There is thus an abundance of schrammel music in classical quartets (2 violins, clarinet and guitar). But not only there: Roland Neuwirth and extreme schrammel music, including the Kalksburg College, jazzy schrammel music crossover with Wolfgang Puschnig & Band and countless other great acts of this genre which already appeared in Litschau bear witness to the continuing vitality of schrammel music. And because schrammel music has long since become a global event, musicians from Asia, North and South America also appear.
Hardegg Castle / Waldviertel
With so much schrammel music, you need to relax. So take a refreshing dip in Herren Lake! Or get out into the surrounding wooded hills! With contemporary schrammel music, however, it gets going again no later than lunchtime. Visitors now only tread the schrammel music path to the natural stages around the lake. And instead of forest air you breathe in the smell of sausage and poppy seed cake: music can be heard on the main stage at the beach late into the night. And of course, let’s not forget the wine with so much chart and dance music.
It’s difficult to escape the magic of Halbturn Castle in Northern Burgenland, especially in summer when visitors can expect an exquisite listening experience at castle concerts.
Halbturn Castle is big on style. From the elegant Baroque architecture of Lucas von Hildebrandt over the sprawling avenues of the palace garden to the castle vineyard’s wine cellar. The Halbturn Castle concerts that have taken place here for many decades seamlessly slot into place. Each year in July and August, delightful music rings around the atmospheric setting of the hall of frescoes. The boundaries aren’t strict: in addition to well-known classical performers, forays into the world of song and music are also on the programme.
The wonderful Baroque church in the village of Halbturn acts as a second musical dependence. Visitors to the castle concerts, which take place every Saturday evening, rave about the concerts, especially the artistic diversity and the high quality of the performances, and appreciate the personal atmosphere and friendly presentation.
What began as a pilot project turned into one of the most important media art festivals in the world, which turns the city of Linz into a quiet state of emergency every September.
The „nucleus of the city’s new future“ is a former tobacco factory, the first major steel-framed building in Austria. And a place with symbolic power for a festival that is dedicated to the state of society at the intersection of art, technology and society under a different motto each year. In total, more than 200 individual events work on an alternative future with a lot of creativity, idealism and top expertise. With its specific orientation and long-term continuity, Ars Electronica is now a worldwide unique platform for digital art and media culture. In addition to the festival, founded in 1979, the Ars Electronica prize includes a scout for the latest trends in art and technology, the Ars Electronica Futurelab as a connection port to business and science as well as the Museum of the Future in the newly built Ars Electronica Center. http://www.aec.at
Year after year, Schlaining Castle, a solid fortress from the 13th century in dreamy Southern Burgenland, becomes the venue for an exciting musical encounter during the “Sounds of Spring” festival.
There are some concert places that just don’t leave you. Schlaining Castle is one of them. Proudly situated on a rock in Southern Burgenland and surrounded by woodland, it leaves you with an archaic impression, both inside the castle and out. And if chamber music is playing at the highest level with forays into jazz and contemporary music within the medieval ruins, you can’t escape the magic of sounds. For many years, the brothers and pianist duo Eduard and Johannes Kutrowatz have invited you to the “Sounds of Spring“ festival at Schlaining Castle and have playfully explored the boundaries between classical and popular music.
Virtuoso chamber concerts must be experienced, just like surprising crossovers between jazz and classical music, including world premieres of contemporary works as well as Austrian premieres. The atmosphere is always pleasantly relaxed: far from elitist cultural affectation, noticeable positive vibrations and lively, cordial communication between artists and audience determine the “Sounds of Spring”. And if you want to combine spiritual and creature comforts, you can enjoy fine culinary specialties in the castle hotel and use the many health services centred around thermal water in the nearby Bad Tatzmannsdorf. http://www.klangfruehling.com
Every year in late winter, a small but refined jazz festival takes place in the Gastein Valley, with some concert locations that are up to 2000 metres above sea level.
We often get surrounded by all kinds of sounds in ski cabins but jazz music is very rarely one of them. Gastein Snow Jazz fills this void. Visiting musicians do not shy away from altitudes above 2000 meters, and so you can enjoy exquisite jazz with hearty mountain cuisine, whether on the sun terrace or indoors, depending on the weather.
But the Gastein Snow Jazz festival is more than just high-altitude alpine frolics. In the evenings, jazz music is played at fine locations such as the renowned jazz venue Sägewerk (Bad Hofgastein), the noble European courtyard in Bad Gastein and even once in a car dealership.
Every year, the theme of the festival is dedicated to a different region of the world with the focus being on eastern Europe, Italy and the “Big Apple” in the last few festivals. From there, artists travel into the Gastein Valley for a more than a one-week long jazzy mixture of different cultures. Meanwhile, jazz fans go on a pilgrimage to the festival in Pongau from all over Europe. Gastein Snow Jazz festival always takes place in the middle of March when the snow in the high mountains and the sun come together most harmoniously, which is ideal for combining winter sport at spring temperatures with enjoying jazz in a cool setting.
In May, the Wienerlied Festival “wean hean” doesn’t force stubborn preservation but encourages the development of the Wienerlied (Viennese song).
It is thanks to pioneers such as Roland Neuwirth, that – just like the city of Vienna itself – the Wienerlied also opened up to the world: influences today range from jazz and blues, pop and soul to classical music. And it’s not lost any of its anarchy, sharp wit, spirit of contradiction or its corners and edges. Neurotic navel-gazing continues to be permitted however, and so the Wienerlied comes to lie on the couch in Freud Museum. Otherwise though, we look outside the box. That’s because the Wienerlied is also heard in Serbian in seven-four time and as a classic reggae number, whilst the programme makers are entering into a partnership with Istanbul under the title „Daham im Hamam”.
ImPulsTanz – Vienna International Dance Festival
Thousands of professional dancers, choreographers, teachers and students from all over the world transform Vienna into the dance capital of the world for five weeks.
When couples began to turn on the dance floors of the suburbs of Vienna in three-four time at the end of the 18th century, it was still seen as scandalous; but that did not stop the triumph of the Viennese waltz around the world. The fact that Vienna is also a world metropolis of dance in the 21st century is owed the ImPulsTanz festival. Wim Vandekeybus, Marie Chouinard and Mark Tompkins brought their works here to be performed and are still linked to the now largest dance festival in Austria. In addition, the festival is committed to promoting contemporary dance, and so the danceWEB project was launched in 1996.
The network of European dance institutions is designed to offer future dancers and choreographers information and support their artistic career using scholarships, training programmes and co-productions. For one month, ImPulsTanz shows 40 productions, including at the Museumsquartier, the Playhouse and the Academy Theatre. 80 lecturers conduct 200 workshops with over 5000 course bookings and 3000 students.
Great Walser Valley
The Walser Autumn Festival calls itself the “The steepest festival deep in the mountains”. And in fact, you can expect pretty much anything at the festival in the biosphere park in the Great Walser Valley.
Yodelling in the sulphur bath, smoking herbs in the barn or trekking with cooking nomads from farm to farm – there’s nothing strange about Walser autumn. Every two years, various events open in the Great Walser Valley, ranging from photo exhibitions, musical performances in an alpine ambience, film screenings to culinary experiments. The self-image of the festival is characterised by openness to new ideas through the joy of meeting people. That’s because cultural exchange has always been a defining component of the Walser ethnic group living here who immigrated from Valais to Vorarlberg around 700 years ago.
They brought and maintained their traditions that are also the focus of the Walser autumn: whether at the events or even at the workshops where you can learn, among other things, basket binding with dried grasses and herbs or conversation and poems in the idiosyncratic Walser dialect. Above all, you can really get to know one of the most exciting natural landscapes in Austria – the Great Walser Valley and its gorges, streams and colourful meadows shaped by the rural mountains – during the Walser autumn and combine this with indigenous cultural and culinary delights.
City of Salzburg
Salzburg lies in the heart of Europe. However, for six weeks of the year it’s the epicentre of the world when the largest and most distinguished classical festival begins with a celebration in the squares and streets of the city.
The festival in Salzburg is the world’s most distinguished classical festival and its baroque style old town sets the glittering stage. Operas, plays and concerts are all part of the programme that offers a rich selection ranging from Mozart, the genius loci, to modern artists, from classic interpretations to avant-garde experiments, from “everyday Joe” Hofmannsthal to the first performances of contemporary authors – the Salzburg festival puts on show with a broader artistic range than any other festival: all the big players in the art scene can be found in Salzburg every summer. New and current music has long been a fixture of the festival.
Situated right next to the Alps and the Salzkammergut, excursions are attracted every day into the area before festival goers, dressed up to the nines, enliven the streets and squares of the city again in the early evenings. You can feel that special atmosphere in the air that makes the Salzburg Festival so unique. The festival theatre, theatre, church and the square in front of the cathedral become stages for a festival whose philosophy, in the words of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, is to be a dramatic spectacle in the strongest sense of the word. http://www.salzburgerfestspiele.at
The Carinthian Summer, a festival for new music, mixes the known and the unknown, innovation and traditions.
The Carinthian Summer festival, founded in 1969, proves every year that new music played perfectly can inspire. Austrian premieres, the Composer in Residence and – as the mainstay of the festival – the annual church opera premiere bear witness to the innovation and experimentation of the festival, the skilful mix of the known with the unknown. Here, the festival can bring together everything from tango to folk music.
The dialogue between composers, performers and the audience is just as important to the organisers as the courses and events for and with children. The venues are as diverse as the programme: the Ossiach monastery on the shores of Lake Ossiach, founded in the 11th century and sumptuously furnished in the Baroque period is the centre of the events. What’s more, there’s also the Villach Congress Centre and other exciting venues in the Carinthian lowlands.
Summer and Culture: the Gmunden festival weeks offer the highest standard of cultural experience in one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe from June to September.
The mixed programme together with a cross-divisional focus has been typical of the festival since its foundation in 1987. From June to September in the town of Gmunden, Salzkammergut and the region around Lake Traun, classical and contemporary music, dance, recitals, plays, performances, readings, films, exhibitions and discussions are on offer.
Thomas Bernhard, who lived for a time in Gmunden and had several farmsteads in the region which he lovingly renovated, and who put a monument to the Upper Austrian countryside in numerous passages of his work, has formed an integral part of the festival since 1999. In addition, a diverse event focus is dedicated as the „festival in the festival“ every year to a large Austrian writing personality. So far it has been dedicated to Peter Handke, Christoph Ransmayr, Friederike Mayröcker and Ernst Jandl. http://www.festwochen-gmunden.at
Anton Bruckner is considered the great innovator of symphonic poetry. Every year in Linz, an exceptional international festival is held in honour of the great composer from Upper Austria.
The Bruckner house on the banks of the Danube is one of the most interesting cultural venues in Linz next to the Lentos museum and the Ars Electronica Center situated opposite. Every year in early autumn, the building opened in 1974 is the focus of the International Bruckner Festival. With the increasing reputation of the festival, the venues were expanded over the years, such as in the tobacco factory, the Posthof, the new music theatre in Linz and the Baroque monastery of St. Florian.
Everything they have in common is that the works of Anton Bruckner play a central role in the festival. And with the Linz Bruckner Orchestra, which usually also takes part in the opening concert, an ensemble is located in the city that is most likely unsurpassed in the interpretation of the works of the great master of the symphony, but other composers and works up to the present are also played – because diversity and the joy of discovery are the focal point of the varied programming. And this has been repeatedly guaranteed in the last 40 years by international stars such as Herbert von Karajan, Marianne Faithfull, Cecilia Bartoli, Franz Welser-Möst and many others. http://www.brucknerfest.at
The almost limitless variety of the idioms of this anarchic instrument sets the tone for the Viennese International Accordion Festival in February and March.
Accordions, piano accordions, squeeze boxes, tack accordions and Swiss Handorgel: the variety of the names refers to the variety of the way the instruments are built and their idioms, with the instrument being the focal point of the accordion festival for one month. By the way: starting from Vienna, the accordion went on to conquer the whole world, where it found its way into a wide variety of folk music.
The jaunty Wienerlied, Viennese song, also rings at the Viennese Accordion Festival, just like klezmer, musette and zydeco. During this festival, blues, chanson, modern music and jazz from musicians from all over the world are heard in churches, theatre halls, a shelter and in clubs. And in the awe-inspiring film casino, legendary silent films are set to contemporary music by live musicians in Sunday matinees.
The fact that it’s not just hikers, but also dancers, that feel at home in the mountains is proved by the Innsbruck Summer of Dance every year with a varied programme.
“Dancing is the poetry of the foot”, wrote the English poet John Dryen in the 16th century. And this poetic note also determines the contemporary dance that is celebrated for several weeks every year in June in Innsbruck. The Summer of Dance, held since 1995, has now become a firm fixture in the international dance scene. Stars from all over the world and young talent come to Innsbruck with elegant ballets, passionate performances and rhythmic movement art. The city presents itself during the dance festival as a vibrant, lively place where different facets of dance are taught at its venues. The programme is enriched with diverse workshops by national and international choreographers that make dance accessible to everyone.
One permanent element is now also the „Stars of Tomorrow” series which identifies new trends in young, talented dance ensembles. The Congress stage in Innsbruck is the focus of the dynamic event. However, because movement also means interaction, the Summer of Dance moves out of the city into the Tyrolean districts and allows performers from Lienz to Kufstein that are unable to come to the state capital to partake in the animated event.
Beitragsbild: © SalzburgerLand Tourismus