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Vienna music festival: Wien Modern, Konzerthaus
© Markus Sepperer

Vienna Music Festival Guide 2020/2021: Hear Wien

What are the best music festivals in Vienna in 2020 and 2021? As always in Vienna, do have your ear on the ground in this ‘city of music’. If you are serious about music why not pick a Vienna music festival and then treat yourself to a daily dose of gorgeous tunes? To help you do that I have pulled together a festival guide for my home city:

Resonanzen Festival

Vienna music festival: KonzerthausVienna Music Festival Guide. Prefer Bach to Mozart, motet to serenade? Each January, Vienna celebrates Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music for nine days. If you love to explore Old Europe’s sounds of harpsichords, recorders, lutes, and guitars, dive into the annual Resonanzen Festival.

For the past 27 years, the festival has been gathering top international orchestras and ensembles under a different theme. In 2020, the ten scheduled concerts will be dedicated to ‘The 10 Commandments’, among them Georg Friedrich Händel’s masterpiece oratorio Theodora.

Dates: 16th to 24th January 2021
Location: Wiener Konzerthaus, Lothringer Strasse 20, 1030 Vienna
Tickets: ticket sales from autumn 2020

International Accordion (Akkordeon) Festival

Vienna Music Festival Guide. When you hear Akkordeon tunes, do you think of popular festivals, buskers and silent movies, too? Instead of searching for a street musician on Kärntner Strasse you can hear accordion bands at local events between mid February and mid March. In a mix of classical, popular and jazz concerts the best performers from Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Israel Italy, Poland and more countries will unfold their skills. On top of that, you will cut deep into Vienna’s urban fabric at venues such as Schutzhaus Zukunft, Café Mocca and Sargfabrik.

Listen here to a collection of the 2019 festival highlights:

 

Dates: 20th February to 21st March 2021
Location: various
Tickets and Program: available from early 2021 at the event website

Vienna Festival 

Vienna music festival: Bela TarrVienna Music Festival Guide. What on earth have the Wiener Festwochen in common with The Sound of Music? Actually, both helped Austria after the Nazi Regime to re-set its image and re-connect with the world. While Hollywood adapted history in The Sound of Music, the Vienna Festival actively makes you think about Austria’s past in a forward-looking way through art and culture.

Since the 1950’s, the Wiener Festwochen blend the established with the latest in local and international art, music, dance, theater, performance, installation, and workshops. As much as unheard-of newcomers also classical artists form part of the festival.

During Austria’s largest cultural festival, expect fresh approaches to world classics performed by top orchestras, conductors, theater producers and singers. This photo shows Hungarian film maker Béla Tarr. Definitely, the festival’s highlight is the grand opening show in front of Vienna City Hall (free admission). 

Due to current restrictions caused by Covid-19, the Vienna Festival will switch to a different format. On 16th May, the initial opening speech will be held online and broadcast in local media. From 15th May to 20th June, the Vienna Festival will use social media and the internet for daily extracts – ‘ gestures’ – of each program piece that cannot be performed in front of a live audience. From 2nd June, a few Vienna Festival artists will host installations in public spaces such as at Karlsplatz/Kärntnertor passageway. In addition, curator Miguel A. Lopez will transform his prologue And if I devoted my life to one of its feathers? into a billboard campaign across the city.

Dates: 16thMay to 20th June 2020 (and additional event dates later in 2020, tbc)
Locations: various across Vienna
Programme and tickets: go to website

International Music Festival

Vienna Music Festival: Wiener KonzerthausVienna Music Festival Guide. Clearly, the Wiener Konzerthaus, the home of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, adores any kind of great music. Hence, its widely praised ‘Internationales Musikfest’ embraces the finest of classical and modern music as well as jazz and contemporary tunes. During seven weeks in May and June, you can choose from a dazzling array of events. All of them star top national and international orchestras, ensembles and soloists. In 2021, the concert series focuses on ancient Greek hero Prometheus, the visionary and creator of human civilization. Prepare for beautiful pieces by Beethoven, Liszt, Skrjabin and Nono that explicitly relate to the mythological figure.

Dates: 23rd May to 29th 2021
Location: Wiener Konzerthaus, Lothringer Strasse 20, 1030 Vienna
Programme and Tickets: check the festival programme and more performances and get tickets

Donauinselfest

Things to do in Vienna June : Danube Island FestivalVienna Music Festival Guide. Although the annual Donauinselfest (Danube Island Festival) has traditionally been Europe’s largest free open air festival it will slim down considerably this year. For two days, the long stretch of the Danube Island will host an outdoor party for no more than 1,250 guests, instead of several thousand. If you want to experience the best of Austria’s pop culture, join fun loving people, along with pop stars and radio stations, for three free shows, Vienna sausages, kebabs and beer. On Saturday (19th) evening, prepare for a show for ‘all generations’, while Sunday morning will host a mix of Schlager and folk music. The early evening will be dedicated to cabaret artists. 

For the first time in its history, the festival will this year tour all 23 Vienna districts prior to its final shows on the Danube Island. Starting on 1st July, a tour bus will to bring 240 pop music and cabaret acts live into the neighborhoods.

Date: 1st July to 18th September (80-day bus music tour) 19th and 20th September (Danube Island Festival) 2020
Location: all 23 districts – check website for program updates; Danube Island (Donauinsel)
Admission: free (admission cards will be raffled over the summer)

Grafenegg Festival

Vienna concerts: Grafenegg castleVienna Music Festival Guide. Just outside of Vienna, Grafenegg Castle in the Danube’s Wachau Valley has become an insider spot for lovers of classical and jazz music. Each summer top musicians and orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra perform at this romantic 19th century castle.

Between August and September, the ‘Cloud Tower’ auditorium will air sounds of famous classical composers. During the 250th Beethoven anniverary 2020, the festival will go heavy on this amazing classical composer. Expect to hear Beethoven highlights, from his Missa Solemnis to opera Fidelio and his best piano concerti. As for other composers, there will also be Bruckner, Gershwin, Mahler, Mozart and others on the menu.

Time: 4th July to 6th September 2020
Location: Grafenegg Castle; Schlosstrasse 10, 3485 Grafenegg
Programme and Tickets: from early 2020, get tickets for various performances (the ticket site also offers a resale service in case your trip plans change). In case of bad weather there is an option to move the open air event to the onsite Auditorium.

Transfer And More: Conveniently, a festival shuttle bus runs from Vienna to Grafenegg and back. However, once you travel to Grafenegg you may as well visit UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wachau Valley nearby. For example, you could take a boat ride on the Danube, followed by lunch at a winery and exploring baroque Melk Abbey before getting showered with music and fireworks at Grafenegg.  Get in touch if you need assistance.

Vienna Jazz Festival – Cancelled for 2020

Vienna Concerts : Vienna Jazz Festival, JazzkantineVienna Music Festival Guide. During two weeks each summer you can witness our mostly baroque Vienna all jazzed up. Spread across various locations these Vienna concerts represent a mix of internationally renown jazz stars and national singers.
 
In the past, celebrities such as Natalie Cole, Randy Crawford, Bobby McFerrin, George Benson, Bryan Ferry, and Helge Schneider performed at the festival. For the 2019 event, the programme is expected to be released in the spring.
 
Dates: June to July 2021 (dates tbc)
Locations: various across Vienna, from the Vienna State Opera and Vienna Konzerthaus to open air concerts at City Hall square to Hundertwasser-designed incineration plant.
Programme and Tickets: visit website

FreudeNOW – Cancelled for 2020

Vienna Music Festival Guide. For the first time, the classic open air festival FreudeNOW will open its doors in July and August 2020. Where a dozen race horses used to blow up the dust near Prater park, opera and operetta stars will belt out arias, and circus acrobats of Nouveau Cirque style will awe the audience with acrobatics and live music.
 
In particular, the delicate 19th-century race stands mixing with multimedia visual worlds and breathtaking acoustics will provide an intriguing setting. In this premiere season, expect Mozart’s Magic Flute, Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, a multimedia operetta concert, an operetta show featuring Puccini and Lehar, Paris At Night by ReCirquel contemporary circus company, and various film music.
 
Dates: July to 23 August 2021 (dates tbc)
Location: Galopprennbahn Freudenau, Freudenau 65, 1020 Vienna
Programme and Tickets: visit website

Klezmore Vienna Festival

Vienna Music FestivalL Vienna Klezmore OrchestraVienna Music Festival Guide. When the Klezmer clarinets start teasing, laughing and chatting with you Jewish Vienna and its European heritage flourish again. During two weeks in November the Vienna Klezmore Orchestra along with other bands from Europe and overseas stage a dozen vibrant concerts across town. With that much Jewish dance music and Yiddish songs from the Steppes and Shtetls it’s hard to stay seated.

Dates: November 2021 (tbc)
Locations: various across Vienna
Programme and Tickets: visit website

Voice Mania

Vienna music festival Voice ManiaVienna Music Festival Guide. When I hear a great voice sing freely on its own I sometimes get goose bumps. As a matter of fact, Voice Mania shows that I am not the only one getting excited about great vocals. Just as high fog hits November’s skies you can hear some fabulous voices from all over the world. For a start, ‘Balcanto’ singers will belt out arias, yodlers, gospels and electrifying sound rhythms from various balconies in Vienna’s city center. Most of the other concerts will take place at Theater am Spittelberg.
 
Dates: 6th to 29th November November 2020
Locations: various balconies in the city center (Balcanto, 8th November, from 2.00 pm – date tbc); Theater am  Spittelberg, Spittelberggasse 10, 1070 Vienna;
Admission: free (Balcanto); approx EUR 25 per concert ticket; check programme

Wien Modern Festival

Vienna music festival: Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Sylvain CambrelingVienna Music Festival Guide 2020. Wien Modern is the ultimate local festival for contemporary music. Uniquely for Vienna, the event provides an international platform for contemporary music, supported by dance, performance, visual arts, film and video. In this photo from Wien Modern you see the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra under the baton of French conductor Sylvain Cambreling.

Each festival is related to a theme. In 2020, ‘mood/atmosphere’ will set the scene, through orchestra music, electronic music, film, workshops and performances. In general, you can choose between 50 events at around 16 locations.

Dates: 29th October to 29th November 2020

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