Spindelegger: “Celebrations for 10 years of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York are an expression of our cultural identity”
Composers, ensembles and musicians provide the musical background to the anniversary year with a series of premières
New York, 17 February 2012 – “The Austrian Cultural Forum New York is a symbol of Austrian cultural identity and not only in its most visible form of the dramatic building designed by Raimund Abraham. New York is a global hotspot in the arts and the Austrian Cultural Forum is our creative signboard in the centre of all this”, Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said in an address to mark the forthcoming 10th anniversary of the opening of the Cultural Forum near Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.
A remarkable series of events to celebrate this milestone is planned for the jubilee year 2012 organised jointly be the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and the Austrian Cultural Forum New York: Some of the most important contemporary Austrian composers and musicians have been commissioned to provide music with the support of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture. “It is a very special pleasure for me to see that compositions by Bernhard Lang, Manuela Kerer, Kurt Schwertsik, Wolfgang Mitterer and many others are to be performed by some of the most distinguished Austrian and American ensembles such as the Klangforum, the Talea Ensemble, and the Hugo Wolf Quartet during the course of the year”, Spindelegger said.
Austrian State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner, who was the director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York for many years, underlined the extensive nature of the jubilee programme and welcomed the focus on contemporary music: “The reputation of Austria as a nation of music will receive a further tremendous boost from the creativity of our contemporary composers, whose work is so highly valued around the world", the State Secretary said.
The kick-off concert in the series on 17 February was given by the highly regarded New York Talea Ensemble, which performed a critically acclaimed portrait concert dedicated to the composer Olga Neuwirth last year (the international periodical Artforum selected this as one of the 10 best musical events of 2011). The Ensemble, which had its Vienna debut at the Wien Modern festival last autumn, will interpret works by Bernhard Lang, Clemens Gadenstätter and Bernhard Gander together with the French soprano Donatienne Michel-Dansac.
This will be followed on 6 March by a composer portrait of Klaus Lang in the concert hall of the Austrian Cultural Forum with pieces such as “weiße Äpfel” and “origami” (US premiéres) and also “now.here. I” performed by the prominent American ICE Ensemble, which has premièred over 500 new works, largely by young and emergent composers, since its foundation in 2001. The series continues at the end of March with the Viennese Aron Quartet and an expected first performance of a work by Kurt Schwertsik. Schwertsik is familiar to concert audiences in the USA as a humorous, frequently ironic founder of the “die reihe” ensemble.
A further highlight in the series will be a concert of Klangforum Vienna on 18 April. The concert will include the world première of a work by composer Agata Zubel that was supported by the Polish Adam Mickiewicz Institute. This is a date of special historic importance: The Klangforum played the opening concert for the new Cultural Forum exactly ten years previously on 18 April 2002.
Bernhard Lang and the New York Argento Ensemble will offer a further world première on the 18th and 19th of May: Lang has composed a work which lasts almost an hour and presents the 22 storeys of the building of the Cultural Forum and integrates texts by Rose Ausländer and Bob Dylan. The Austrian performance artist and dancer Silke Grabinger is to devise the spatial interpretation with a special notation of movement choreographic design. In addition, the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation plans a live transmission of this concert on its Ö1 channel.
The Moving Sounds Festival from 12 to 15 September will present works from among others Gerald Resch and Bernhard Fleischmann. Concerts with commissioned compositions by Rupert Huber, Manuela Kerer, Wolfgang Mitterer and Dorian Concept are also planned.
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