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The ‘Jazz Heart’ Transplant

The ‘Jazz Heart’ Transplant

On Ash Wednesday just past, the U.S. Embassy, the Austrian Foreign Ministry and Diplomatische Akademie Wien joined forces to celebrate the 175th anniversary of U.S.-Austrian diplomatic relations with a Gala Event which, not incidentally, featured music performed by the Jon Sass Group, a multi-national quartet led by American jazz tuba(!) exponent Jon Sass. Perhaps inspired […]

Wohnzimmer as Concert Hall

Wohnzimmer as Concert Hall

Given Vienna’s rich artistic history, wanderings on the city streets easily led to imagining the lives of the former denizens of the flats above. Should there be any doubt, it often seems as though a plaque commemorating the living space of some well-known composer or musician sits proudly above at least one door on nearly […]

Belcea Quartet returns

Belcea Quartet returns

Last spring, London’s Belcea Quartet brought us stupendous performances of the complete Beethoven string quartets on six nearly successive evenings. It was an artistic feat comparable to six successive Olympic medals. (If you missed it and have some passionate financial flexibility, they’re doing it again in Stockholm at the end of this month.) The foursome […]

Jazz Fest Wien 2012

Jazz Fest Wien 2012

Readers of this column will recognise that its very existence is a tribute to the vibrant Vienna jazz scene. While a national capital and historical metropole, Vienna is a comparatively small city of 1.8 million and far from what one could call trendy. All the same, a good case can be made that this is […]

Jazzman Elvis Costello

Jazzman Elvis Costello

“What we play is life.” – Louis Armstrong. Elvis Costello returned to Vienna last month for a career-spanning solo show at the Konzerthaus. Reaching into his back catalogue, this modern troubadour enthralled his audience for two and a half hours. He hit town with a commendable lack of fanfare, or so it seemed, with seats […]

Bach Never Came to Vienna

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach is almost never played in Vienna. I did hear a Brandenburg Concerto last season, and the year before, an evening of Bach solo pieces for violin. But musicians here, born or trained, generally do not perform Bach. This is despite the fact that almost every string player who plays […]

Two Pianos, Eight Hands

It was quite a night for jazz fans on May 10th at the Konzerthaus. Not one, not two, not even three, but four of the greatest living jazz pianists on a single stage! This was the first night with all four performing a post-bop piano programme with bouncy ebullience. There was a time early in […]

Gustav Mahler: From the New World

The 35th Music Festival at the Konzerthaus is in full swing, with this year’s motto “Mahler and America” to commemorate Mahler Year 2011 (the centenary of his death). And while the festival continues until Jun. 21, the four concerts of the San Francisco Symphony from May 21 to 25 have already been a brilliant focal […]

In Search of a Third Stream

Climbing the stairs to the Grosser Saal at Vienna’s Konzerthaus (3., Lothringerstraße 20) one is reminded that this massive edifice is not simply imperial in its imposing appearance and massive size, but is in fact one of the final, crowning achievements of Kaiser Franz Josef’s public works. At the landing midway up to the Parterre […]

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