Transdisciplinary Collaboration Between the Visual Arts
For a full decade now, students of Heinz-Peter Linshalm and Petra Stump-Linshalm have been performing at various exhibitions of the modern and contemporary art museum mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien as part of a cooperative arrangement between the museum and the mdw’s Joseph Haydn Department of Chamber Music and Contemporary Music. In this museum’s annual “mumok Matinee” series, its exhibition spaces play host to one-of-a-kind concerts featuring contemporary compositions that see music, architecture, and works of visual art combine and connect in fascinating ways. The students also render existing links between visual art and music audible through their creative interpretations, improvisations, and performances. So far, performances of works by over 45 composers—including several world premières—have been given. Interactive involvement of museum visitors in the concert experience is likewise a frequent feature, resulting in unforgettable moments for all those involved. These matinees stand out for their unique atmosphere and serve as an inspiring example of visual art and music’s transdisciplinary linkage while also offering space for individual experiences and creativity.
Lorina Vallaster, who completed BA-level studies in classical recorder as part of the Music Education for Voice and Instruments programme as well as a recorder degree in the Instrumental Studies (performance) programme, participated twice in the mumok Matinees. In January 2019, she took part in the performance of a piece by Leonard Bernstein originally composed for recorders and cello. 2020 then saw her team up with cellist Anna Maria Niemiec to perform Viennese composer Florijan Lörnitzo’s von Schatten und Laub. “These concerts are a great opportunity to venture outside the University and present the fruits of our intense rehearsal work in a more public setting. On top of that, the combination of contemporary artworks and music gives rise to powerful synergies.” Lorena feels that these concerts’ diverse instrumental forces and art forms as well as flexible seating make for a convincing format and an exceptional performing opportunity for students.
Peter Joyce, who completed studies in composition and music theory as well as conducting at the mdw and is currently enrolled in the Orchestral Conducting programme, takes a similar view: “Without a doubt, those performances at the mumok were among my most wonderful and memorable mdw experiences. The opportunity to perform contemporary music surrounded by important works of modern art was truly unique and inspiring.” Alongside his experience of the mumok as an incredibly inspiring place in which to perform, Joyce was also particularly impressed by the audience: “It was one of the most open and positive crowds I’ve ever performed for.” Good planning and organisation plus the museum’s welcoming atmosphere round out his positive memories. “I had the great fortune to participate in these concerts multiple times—not only playing chamber music and a piece for solo bass clarinet, but also with a composition of my own that Heinz-Peter Linshalm and Petra Stump-Linshalm had commissioned for the Andy Warhol exhibition.” That work, entitled Factory Music and composed specifically for the occasion, was inspired by the wild and creative community that made Warhol’s Factory what it was. “Performing this composition with several of Warhol’s most important artworks in the background was an experience I’ll always remember.”
“A place where music and art come together” is how Pablo Carpio Hernández, who’s currently enrolled in the mdw’s Contemporary Music (Ensemble) MA programme, describes his experiences at these concerts. To him, the mumok Matinees represent an innovative concept where mdw students have the opportunity to take part in a concert featuring contemporary music that involves not only performing but also learning to communicate with the audience. 2023 was Pablo’s second year participating in the project. “It felt great being part of these concerts, where we played and even improvised a huge variety of different pieces. This kind of work is always a wonderful experience where you learn a whole lot, innovate, and have fun. It was a challenge and an adventure that we all enjoyed very much, and it also let us connect what we do with the museum’s exhibitions.” He hopes he’ll be able to continue taking part in this annual project, thereby bringing people together with music and contemporary art in a very special way. The next mumok Matinee takes place on Sunday, 17 December 2023 (guided tour at 11 a.m., concert at 12 noon).