Stephen Husarik (University of Arkansas - Fort Smith)
Kathleen Lamkin (University of La Verne)
Nation/Culture. The Federal Republic of Austria, with a population of approximately 8 and a half million inhabitants and a land size of 32,377 square miles, making it among the smaller countries of Europe, was before 1918 a vast multinational empire ruled from its capital, Vienna. Its multi-ethnic citizens included German-speaking Austrians, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, Poles, Ukrainians, Slovenians, Croatians, Serbs, and Italians. For centuries nobility from throughout the Habsburg Empire resided in their palaces in Vienna during the winter months, traveling back to their estates in the summer; they supported music both in the imperial city and at home hiring musicians for their court orchestras and operas. Music was highly valued in society where there was not only a wealth of local composers and performing musicians from within the empire but also an influx of foreign musicians who contributed to the well-established music tradition. Austrian music has flourished for centuries and remains today an essential part of Austrian society.
Notable Musicians. Austria not only produced their own extraordinary performers and composers but also attracted foreign musicians. Remarkable Austrian exponents of the classical style included Georg Reutter, Georg Christoph Wagenseil, Leopold Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Michael Haydn, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Leopold Hoffmann, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Maria Theresa von Paradis and Franz Xaver Sussmayr. The 19th century witnessed the great romantic composers in Vienna of Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Carl Czerny, Franz Schubert, the German transplants Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms, and other Austrians such as Joseph Lanner, Anton Bruckner, Johann Strauss Sr., Johann Strauss Jr., Josef Strauss, Eduard Strauss, and Gustav Mahler. Modernism was ushered in with Arnold Schoenberg and his students Alban Berg and Anton Webern. Other important 20th-century Austrian composers were Fritz Kreisler, Robert Stolz, Egon Wellesz and Theodor Berger.
Music Conservatories. Continuing its long and rich musical tradition, Austria has established conservatories and universities of music and the performing arts in the various provinces throughout the country to educate both local and international students. All of these institutions have extensive websites and most provide information in both German and English.
Vienna, the former imperial capital and today continuing its role as a major center of music, is the home of four of these institutions. One of the largest and most prestigious is the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna with a stellar faculty and hundreds of exceptionally talented students from all over the world. Areas of study include extensive programs in music, theatre and film. (http://www.mdw.ac.at) The Vienna Conservatory, another Viennese institution founded in 1979, instructs around 700 students a year from 45 countries offering a Bachelor and Master of Arts in cooperation with the university. (http://www.viennaconservatory.at) A third institution in the city, the Conservatory Vienna University, offers artistic and teaching credentials for around 850 students from 50 countries. (http://www.konservatorium-wien.ac.at) Prayner Conservatory for Music and the Dramatic Arts founded in 1905 and officially recognized by the Austrian government in 1958 offers a Bachelor and Master of Arts in cooperation with the university.(http://www.konservatorium-prayner.at) Located in Salzburg is the world-renowned Music University Mozarteum Salzburg founded in 1841 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mozart’s death. The new Mozarteum building completed in 2006 is one of Austria’s exquisite modern structures. (http://www.moz.ac.at)
In the province of Styria, with a history dating back to 1816, is the University for Music and Performing Arts, one of the top three conservatories in the country located in the city of Graz. Besides traditional programs in classical music, it offers the oldest and one of the most well respected jazz departments in Europe. With 2,000 students in a variety of majors, the conservatory offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in music. (http://www.kug.ac.at)
The province of Upper Austria is home to the Anton Bruckner University in its capital city of Linz. Like the other major Austrian conservatories it offers bachelor and master programs in music, theatre and dance. A faculty of 200 instructs around 850 students from all over the world. (http://www.bruckneruni.at)
Burgenland, the most eastern province of Austria, in 1971 established the Joseph Haydn Conservatory in its provincial capital of Eisenstadt where Haydn worked for the Esterházy Princes for most of his professional career. Forty-three faculty members instruct around 400 students from all over the world. (http://www.haydnkons.at)
The Tyrolean State Conservatory located in its provincial capital Innsbruck historically dates back to the year 1818. Instrumental and vocal diploma studies are available for students from ages 15 to 26. One of their unique courses of study is traditional alpine music. Since 2006 programs in cooperation with the Music University Mozarteum Salzburg have been offered. (http://www.konstirol.at) The major conservatory in the province of Carinthia, the Carinthian State Conservatory, located in Klagenfurt, instructs around 900 local and international students each year with a faculty of 75 artists/teachers. This conservatory was the first Austrian institution to offer a curriculum of studies in folk music. (http://www.konse.at)
In the far western province of Voralberg, in the town of Feldkirch, is located the State Conservatory of Voralberg. Housed in a former Jesuit convent, the conservatory began a cooperative program in 2005 with the Music University Mozarteum Salzburg offering bachelor and master programs in vocal and instrumental music. The State Conservatory of Voralberg also offers preparatory studies in connection with the music high school in Feldkirch. (http://www.vorarlbergerlandeskonservatorium.ac.at)
Music Archives. Throughout Austria are a wealth of archives and libraries with extensive holdings of music manuscripts and other materials regarding Austria's rich musical heritage. Some of these archives are housed in the larger cities, but many are scattered throughout the countryside especially in monasteries. Vienna is home to some of the most important libraries and archives including, but not limited to, the Archive of the Society for the Friends of Music (http://www.a-wgm.com), the Austrian National Library Department of Music (http://www.onb.ac.at/ev/collections/music.htm) and the Arnold Schoenberg Center (http://www.schoenberg.at). The websites of each describe their holdings and policies for research. In Salzburg the library/collections of the Foundation of the Mozarteum Salzburg are another rich source of information. For research on Haydn or other musicians working in Eisenstadt, the Esterházy Archives in the palace and the administrative archives in nearby Forchtenstein Castle offer documentation on Haydn's music and the musicians working at the court.
Music Festivals. Perhaps the most famous of the numerous Austrian festivals during the year is the Salzburg Festival held from mid-July through September offering opera and concert performances by world-renown artists. (http://www.salzburgerfestspiele.at) In September Eisenstadt hosts the two-week Haydntage festival featuring the music of Haydn in such venues as the Esterházy Palace and the Bergkirche where Haydn is buried and where his last six masses were first performed. (http://www.haydnfestival.at/haydn_de/) The Summer Festival at Lake Constance, also known as the Bregenz Festival, features performances of operas and concerts on beautiful Lake Constance. (http://www.bregenzerfestspiele.com) Other festivals on a smaller scale include the Opera Festival in St. Margarethen near Eisenstadt where opera is performed each summer in an open-air setting. The Mörbisch Festival also located near Eisenstadt and close to the Hungarian border, features operetta performances each summer on the lovely Lake Neusiedl. (http://www.seefestspiele-moerbisch.at)
Contacts. Each of the above websites lists specialists in their fields.