29. May 2012
More music for everyone!
A small private orchestra in every family? In Vienna musical training is undergoing a reform. Schools, music schools and established orchestras are joining forces to further enhance Vienna’s position as a music city. Even a new pop academy is being created for this purpose!
Already one fourth of all Viennese children and youth have taken up an instrument and are making use of the City of Vienna’s wide spectrum of musical training options. In times of ever more day schools and after-school care services, musical training in Vienna is being restructured and repositioned. Already now of the more than 11,000 pupils of Vienna’s music and singing school, just shy of 5,000 are being trained at the school. This is a cooperation, which the city councillor responsible for education Christian Oxonotisch would like to continue expanding. Under his guidance and under the heading Future Image of Music in Vienna+ music training in Vienna is to be given a new foundation.
Guitar, piano, bass – more music for the young generationPrivate Schools as well as the most important municipal and university institutions, from the neighbourhood Volkshochschule (adult education centre), the private university of the Vienna Conservatory to the Vienna Philharmonic, are all shaping this musical programme. The top goal is to allow more children to “get a taste” of music and thus make it easier for them to engage with music. An umbrella organization of all public and private institutions as well as a central contact and counselling centre should also be created for this purpose. “Music is a very important part of human existence in a very general sense,” as Swea Hieltscher, head of the Vienna Musik- und Singschule (Music and Singing School) says, who sees a big chance and challenge in this re-conception of the city’s music strategy.
Hansel & Gretel in a rap version, Shakespeare as a songThe 800 children who took a musical journey through the night were already proof that the quality is right. The much-applauded performance of the young singers at the Vienna Konzerthaus was strongly backed by the choirs, dancers and ensembles of the Musik- und Singschule. The programme featured everything from a children’s song La-Le-Lu to the rap version of the Hansel and Gretel fairy-tale song, to the melody of Shakespeare’s Mid-Night’s Summer Dream – a truly impressing repertory.
Pop academy: yelling permitted, noise welcomed“Rocking away” on stage – this and much more will be taught and learned from fall on at the newly created Pop-Akademie. 120 young generation musicians from jazz and pop will be launching their musical career at the first institution of its kind in Austria. And they will be moving closer to their dream of a big music career. In addition to getting a foot into the music world, the academy based at the Vienna Gasometer will provide a sound preparation for studying music and also familiarize students with the music of other cultures: “Popular music needs its own setting, a separate curriculum, different targets and perspectives than a music school oriented after classical music usually can,” as Hanns Christian Stekel, head of the Johann Sebastian Bach Musikschule confirms. This school is also in charge of creating and running the Pop-Akademie.
Linked with the Neu Marx Mediaquarter MarxThe City of Vienna will be supporting the creation of this training centre until 2015 with a total of 1.2 million euro. Moreover, there will be a tight cooperation with the City of Vienna’s Musikschule. “With the pop academy we are closing a gap in Vienna’s music training. The offerings should not lose sight of the interests of young people,” as Christian Oxonitsch, the City Councillor for Education who is in charge of these matters has stated. The venue at the Gasometer offers a perfect setting with the event hall, and “Klangfarbe”, Austria’s largest music outfit. The stages of the Arena, the Szene Wien and the Planet Music are located very nearby. Moreover, with the Mediaquarter St. Marx a link will be created which is very supportive of musical culture. The construction of a small stage – a music cube as a performance and rehearsal venue – is also planned, where a large window will give a glimpse of music pieces.
Music training with high-school diplomaThe many joint projects with world-famous orchestras as well as recognized conductors and musicians show how successful the Musikgymnasium Wien has been in integrating itself in the wide landscape of the ‘world music metropolis of Vienna’.
There are two secondary school forms leading up to the Matura (final examination). For the 8-year- Realgymnasium (science-based with emphasis on geometry, technology education) begins after primary school, while the 5-year Oberstufenrealgymnasium begins with level 5 of the upper stage. The Musikgymnasium offers an extensive secondary-school education, which qualifies one to attend university but at the same time it is specially geared to the needs of young people who want to work intensively with music – in particular classical music. The afternoons are generally free of classes so that there is enough time to rehearse and to attend instrumental classes at the university, conservatory or music school. The school has several choirs and orchestras, which appear at various occasions in the city’s concert life. A special highlight here is the traditional musical festival where masterpieces from choir and orchestra literature are performed at the Musikverein or the Konzerthaus – from Haydn’s Creation to Orff’s Carmina Burana, from Beethoven symphonies to film music. Here all of the children from the school participate, forming an impressive symphony orchestra and a huge choir. The Vienna Philharmonic has agreed to sponsor the Musikgymnasium, and members of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and many other renowned musicians are supporting rehearsal work.
Votava/PID, Musikgymnasium, Shutterstock/26kot