In October of last year, the Joseph Hellmesberger Department of String Instruments, Guitar and Harp in Music Education moved from its old location at Rennweg 8 to Metternichgasse 12. This new address, previously home to Film Academy Vienna, now offers all students and teaching staff ample space.
The “language” of conductors consists of gestures and motions. For those who haven’t mastered them, they’re frequently intriguing to watch—and for all those who have, they represent just one aspect of those numerous important skills that are essential to communicating with musicians, an orchestra, or a choir.
To numerous Viennese music lovers, Sian Edwards has been a familiar name for many years, now—thanks to her collaboration with Klangforum Wien and the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and by virtue of numerous Theater an der Wien appearances conducting works such as Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata.
It is as dictators at the rostrum that figures such as Teodor Currentzis, Arturo Toscanini, and Herbert von Karajan are frequently described, in contrast to the principle of democratic leadership exemplified by such figures as Bruno Walter, Marie Jacquot, and Johannes Wildner. But must a conductor indeed work differently these days, and have the demands being made of conductors changed?
“What we see of the conductor at the rostrum is really just the tip of the iceberg. A deeper look reveals a veritable pyramid of competences made up of skills ranging from music to management,” says Alois Glaßner, head of the mdw’s Department of Conducting. mdw Magazine spoke with Glaßner about the University’s comprehensive training of conductors, the conducting programme as such, and the profession’s ongoing transformation as well as the department’s own plans.
In the series “What do the arts have to do with the Earth’s climate?”, the “Green mdw” initiative is inviting concerned individuals to speak out on their personal approaches to this issue. Matthias Naske has served as Intendant of the Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft and President of Wien Modern since 2013.