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OPEC bulletin 5–7/17

Rehearsal of the Simón

Bolívar Sympony Orchestra

at the Golden Hall of

Vienna’s Musikverein,

venue to the New Year’s

concert that takes place

every year in Vienna.

Aileen (l) and Roxana in a

souvenir shop listening to

sounds from a music box.

The breakdown of students at the Music and Arts

University is approximately 30 per cent Asian, 30 per cent

from other countries abroad and the rest from Austria,

reveals Schmidl.

In terms of comparable countries, Finland is equal to

Austria in both music education and consuming music,

states the professor. However, Vienna has plenty of musi-

cal specialties.

“Vienna is very well known for its string sounds— the

Wiener Streicherklang. But the same goes for brass instru-

ments. For conducting, it is not that famous, but you have

a great variety of famous conductors being active here.

So it is definitely still a place for conductors to come.”


There is still a lot of emphasis on music in the country-

side and here the city-country schism comes strongly into

play, states Schmidl.

“This contradiction of capital and countryside really

broke out in the 1920s and is still there today. People in

the countryside use music as an identifying factor,” he


The liveliness of music in the countryside is a

European phenomenon, he states. It keeps the traditions

alive, but on the other hand some parties try to use the

music to support ideological ideas such as the homeland

and blood and soil. “With music you have to be very care-

ful how it is used for identity reasons.”

Schmidl says the

countryside may, for that

reason, feel more threat-

ened by the changing

population. They want

to keep their music and

culture pure “… which is

a paradox. Music lives

through change and

exchange. This is a phan-

tasm of a pure music.”

Inside this complex

and fascinating mix of

past and present, clas-

sical and modern, coun-

try and city, foreign and

local music has always

managed to stay at the heart of Vienna and the city’s iden-

tity. This may evolve in the years to come, but it seems

music in one form or another is here to stay.