“Art in all its multitude of forms and genres is not something that is concluded or permanent, art is a process. And just as art constantly redefines itself, so too does Wien Modern. Ever since Claudio Abbado founded it in 1988, the festival has always tackled the contemporary head-on: that is its obligation, its socio-political and cultural-political duty. For a period of three weeks, Wien Modern affirms that Vienna, the capital of music, is a city of the Here and Now.
This year it has fallen to me to devise and plan the festival and take on the responsibility for such an important pillar in Vienna’s musical life. I invite you to experience Wien Modern 2010 with all your senses. In focus this year are composers such as Mark Andre, Morton Feldman, Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, as well as their Austrian colleagues Johannes Maria Staud, Thomas Wally and Joanna Wozny, who won the Erste Bank Composition Prize. Promoting the work of young composers is a clear reflection of our commitment to cultivating the musical and artistic topsoil of our country. The Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Klangforum Wien and the German SWR South West Radio Symphony Orchestra will all perform the opening weekend of concerts. This, too, is a conscious statement on our part on the importance of ensembles specialising in contemporary music.
Contemporary music can sometimes seem unfamiliar, strange, puzzling, or even disturbing and alienating. Such perceptions can be changed if listeners are given the opportunity to experience and encounter the music actively and directly: the unfamiliar can become understandable, the abstract can take on a much more distinct shape and form. Wien Modern 2010 invites you, challenges you to enter into just such a dialogue. Listen to and hear the music that is being written today, without pre-determined parameters and not inside an ivory tower.
Follow me on a journey into unchartered territory, I dare you!”