REVIEW 2017 & PREVIEW 2018

With her fabulous, moving performance The Language of the Future Laurie Anderson closed the 24th installment of the Tyrolean Festival of New Music KLANGSPUREN SCHWAZ (09/07–09/24/2017). Addressing the motto NOCH FRAGEN? ANY QUESTIONS? the Festival had a twofold focus: examining how grounded new music is in reality and showcasing the musical work of women. Countless works and performances by female composers and musicians were presented for audiences to experience in their originality, quality, and individuality as both significant and multifaceted contributions to the evolving body of new music, without excluding the music of their male peers – it is merely a matter of shifting the emphasis. This focus in general and the individual program points in particular were very well received by audiences, and media response was extremely positive. The theme and program were perceived as tight and coherent. The 28 concerts and special events (33 concerts counting the individual concerts of the pilgrimage) at the various venues drew roughly 4,100 visitors.    With the 85-year-old composer of Russian-Tartar descent Sofia Gubaidulina as composer in residence at KLANGSPUREN 2017, this year’s INTERNATIONAL ENSEMBLE MODERN ACADEMY (08/30–09/10/2017) was marked by a working encounter with one of the most important composers and unmistakable voices of contemporary music. Thirty-five young musicians from all over the world attended the Academy. They presented the results of their collaboration with the masters of Ensemble Modern in two impressive, top-notch final concerts with the whole ensemble and also as smaller constellations in short “Rent a Musician” concerts. For this year’s popular “Rent a Musician” series 14 hosts invited guests to concerts held in their living rooms, gardens, or businesses.  

 

One artistic highlight was the opening concert with the Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer. Performed by STUDIO PERCUSSION graz, the spectacular Austrian world premiere of Glorious Percussion for percussion ensemble and orchestra by Sofia Gubaidulina  received standing ovations, and the Austrian premieres of the works by Cathy Milliken and Sarah Nemtsov also played to enthusiastic audiences. Several spellbinding performances of works by Sofia Gubaidulina followed, among others the Galgenlieder (Gallows Songs) based on poems by Christian Morgenstern performed in the newly opened Museum der Völker in Schwaz. Metallon was the title of the unique project built around the ringing of the bells in the Innsbruck Cathedral. It consisted of three new works for the great cathedral carillon and world premieres with the trio dark matter around the composer Hannes Kerschbaumer performing on the square in front of the cathedral and in the mood-setting surroundings of the Gothic Cellar of the Imperial Palace. The last weekend of the Festival featured a small five-part “festival within a festival” whose program included a recital with the soprano Juliet Fraser and pianist Mark Knoop, as well as piano recitals with Richard Uttley, Hsin-Huei Huang, and Eve Egoyan. Sabine Liebner closed the cycle impressively with a performance of all six of Galina Ustvolskaya’s colossal piano sonatas. Also inspiring were the multimedia performance of the Irish all-around artist Jennifer Walshe with the Arditti Quartet at the Treibhaus, the world premiere of the children’s opera Villa Wunder by Manuela Kerer and Veronika Grossberger, and the Late Nite Lounges with techno idol Electric Indigo, real-time musicians Les Femmes Savantes, and Série Rose, a nocturne on the erotic in new music.  

 

This year’s musical pilgrimage led from St. Johann in Tirol via Going to Bruckhäusl with six concert stops along the way. It was conceived as a homage to the vocal pioneer Joan La Barbara on the occasion of her 70th birthday and included performances by the artist herself along with appearances by the vocalists Kaoko Amano and Jamilia Jazylbekova and the musicians of the fabulous Schallfeld Ensemble. The latter gave its successful Tyrolean debut performance on 09/15 at the Treibhaus in Innsbruck. The sound artist and media archaeologist Elisabeth Schimana closed the concert pilgrimage along with TENM – Tiroler Ensemble für Neue Musik – with a new work from her virus series. Afterwards, the exhausted audience enjoyed bowls of delicious pilgrim’s soup prepared by the women of Slow Food Tirol.  

 

The Galerie der Stadt Schwaz, in conjunction with KLANGSPUREN, is showing the exhibition Käthe Kruse – Danke! Die Tödliche Doris with works by the former drummer of Die Tödliche Doris, the legendary conceptual music band of the 1980s, as well as relics and artifacts from the band’s history (runs till 10/26/2017, Käthe Kruse will be giving a talk on 10/26). 

 

Next year, KLANGSPUREN SCHWAZ will celebrate its 25th anniversary with the festival theme “FESTE. ORTE” from 09/06 to 09/23/2018. Composer in residence is British-born composer Rebecca Saunders.