Austria is a country with a zest for life – and music. That’s why the calendar is full of world-class festivals.
Far beyond its borders, Austria is known as a country that knows how to live well. And Austrians are known as people who enjoy culture to the fullest. It’s no surprise that the annual calendar is filled with more than 200 music and dance festivals. World-renowned events include the Bregenz Festival on the world’s largest floating stage and the Salzburg Festival that was founded in 1920 laid the foundation for Austria’s long-standing festivals tradition. There is a broad spectrum of offerings. Well known in Europe are the classical productions, such as the Styriarte in Graz, led by starconductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the Franz Liszt Festival in the Burgenland town of Raiding and the Tirolean Festival taking place in the architecturally futuristic theatre in Erl.
Two large festivals in Austria are dedicated to Jazz—one in Vienna, the other in Saalfelden. Linz has left behind its image as an industrial steel town and is now a colourfully illuminated cultural centre, as evidenced by the Klangwolke Festival. This open-air festival produces modern music with fascinating sound, light and visual effects. Other productions bridge between traditional and contemporary music. For example, the Carinthian Summer in Carinthia and the Danube Festival in Krems are an exciting blend of innovative dance, plays and music that amazes—and inspires. It’s far removed from the musical mainstream. Just as in the Gmunden Festival Weeks and at the “Glatt und Verkehrt” (Smooth and Backwards) Festival in the Wachau. The latter refers to an original style of music that melds innovative patterns amid perhaps the most beautiful riverscape in Europe.
In dance, there are no limits to creativity and openness. Impulstanz in Vienna is Europe’s largest festival for modern dance. Its spell draws artists from all over the world and turns Vienna into a global meeting point of cultures, or better put, into a massive dance stage. The Innsbruck Tanzsommer is a global playground for avantgarde choreographers and dancers. Impressive. Austrians would simply say: Life is a celebration.