For the 32nd time, isa will see the mdw bring together outstanding students and prominent musicians from all over the world in several history-steeped communities nestled amongst the Vienna Alps. The special combination of natural beauty and historico-cultural significance to be found in this region of southern Lower Austria provides the ideal backdrop for high-intensity artistic encounters.

Particularly in view of the horrific war in Ukraine, isa22—also taking place in a year still plagued worldwide by the COVID pandemic—would like to invite its participants and audiences to place the positive power of creativity and the motivation to make a fresh start, to reinvent, at the centre of its artistic work and reflections. Whether creating entirely new things or opening up ever-new perspectives on the pre-existing through “co-inventive” interpretation: artistic endeavours require a basic impulse to repeatedly begin anew. Openness, the joy of creative experimentation, the ability to get enthused, and the willingness to take risks are just as much part of this as are persistence, resilience, and the ability to start all over again following crises or setbacks. After all, practice, repetition, and trying, trying again make up a large part of life as a musician. isa’s master classes with internationally renowned tutors will offer ten days’ worth of first-class opportunities for artistic development to over 200 participants. Many of the isaMasterClass tutors have already taught at isa several times before, while isa is also greeting the new tutors Sibylle Mahni (horn, solo winds), Gerhard Marschner (viola, solo strings), and Detlev Müller-Siemens (composition) as well as Minna Pensola and Marianna Shirinyan (chamber music). Alongside the instruction provided in the master classes, that all-over creative experience so characteristic of isa also comes thanks to workshops, lectures, and coaching sessions. At isa22, these will include in-depth offerings on topics such as improvisation at the interface between classical, jazz, and world music in collaboration with ipop – the mdw’s Department of Popular Music and (historical) performance practices with the renowned specialists Stefan Gottfried and Clive Brown. What’s more, further enriching encounters will be had with high-calibre surprise guests. Competitions that beckon with well-funded prizes will make for exciting moments, and the climax of the prizewinners’ concert will be the world première of a work by the award-winning composer Matthias Kranebitter that isa commissioned with an eye to this year’s theme. In the over 30 concerts of the isaFestival, which will take place in parallel with the master classes, isa participants will be given the chance to introduce local audiences to the pieces on which they’ve worked and to perform together with renowned tutors and established artists. What’s more, a theatrical production featuring the interplay of stage acting and music will be mounted in cooperation with the Max Reinhardt Seminar. And like every year, there will be a diverse presentation of short films on isa’s annual theme produced by students of Film Academy Vienna.

In terms of organisation, this year’s theme also applies: for the first time, isa will take place within a slightly abbreviated timeframe and with a slightly altered structure that will facilitate greater focus while also reducing the cost of participation. And finally, partnerships such as with the Südbahnhotel Semmering or the recently established Theater Reichenau GmbH will offer isa additional performance venues and opportunities for regional cooperation. Artistic work most certainly is relevant to society, perhaps now more than ever. And despite these tough times, isa22 invites us to keep at it—always anew!


32nd International Summer Academy of the mdw

18–28 August 2022
Payerbach, Reichenau an der Rax, & Semmering

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