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The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna presents, in cooperation with the Archive of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, an unusual homage to Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827).

His universal and unique reception, the epochal significance of his music, but also the perception of his deified persona, create numerous entry points; high and popular culture, commerce and politics all form an inexhaustible reservoir for inspiration and appropriation.

The exhibition brings together paintings by Caspar David Friedrich, sketchbooks by J. M. W. Turner, graphic works by Francisco de Goya, Anselm Kiefer and Jorinde Voigt, sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Rebecca Horn and a new work developed for the exhibition by Tino Sehgal, a video by Guido van der Werve and much more, all of which are brought into dialogue with the music and persona of Beethoven. The exhibition will thus build a bridge with the present: masterpieces of fine art form connections with music and silence.


Beethoven moves, even when everything appears to have come to a standstill around us. That also applies to our great Beethoven exhibition, which was planned to open on 25 March and which we now have to postpone to an as yet unknown date due to the circumstances. Ease the wait with spotify, where we offer a podcast as well as a playlist arranged especially for our unique homage to Beethoven: listen in and set the mood for Beethoven Moves…

Baldesari at the Kunsthistorischem Museum Vienna

Planned events

Concert Talks in the Cupola Hall

Monday, 27 April, 7 p.m.

Iconosonic Beethoven

The series ICONOSONICS focuses on musical figures and gestures that have become ‘images with fixed meanings’ it is based on both baroque musical rhetoric and the acoustic images of nineteenth- and twentieth-century programme music and the codified pictorial sounds composed for and used in contemporary film and utility music, which it engendered. ‘For me, re-evaluating and comprehending musical figures means not seeing them as a readily available design medium, but to create them anew in the light of their historical character, to pass through the process by which the “figure” sheds its old skin and achieves a novel, specific appearance’. (Clemens Gadenstätter)

Clemens Gadenstätter, Figure – Iconosonics 1
For clarinet, string trio and piano (Klangforum Wien)
Followed by: Bernhard Günther (Wien Modern) in conversation with Clemens Gadenstätter

is Professor of Analysis, Musical Theory and Composition at the Musikuniversität Graz. A major focus of his work is on the compositional re-synthesis of emotions. For him, this represents the conflation of the trinity of hearing, comprehension and composition.

Lately Gadenstätter has focused on the transformation of acoustically-triggered, pre-formed emotions (work series: E.P.O.S.: les premiers cris, les cris des lumières, les derniers cris); the concept of the banal (Semantical Investigations 1&2 and the essay Was heißt hier banal); and the polymodality of hearing (häuten, schlitzen for string quartet 1&2, ES for singer and ensemble etc.). Gadenstätter was commissioned to produce works for, among others, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Musik der Jahrhunderte – Stuttgart, WDR – Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Wien Modern, ORF/RSO, Musikbiennale Berlin, Salzburger Festspiele, Musikbiennale Salzburg, Steirischer Herbst and Ultima – Oslo.

was appointed as the artistic director of the Wien Modern festival in 2016. Since 2012 he has also led the festival ZeitRäume Basel – Biennale für neue Musik und Architektur, which was first held in 2015; 2004-2016 he was head dramaturg at the Philharmonie Luxembourg where he was in charge of, among other projects, the rainy days festival. For over twenty-five years Günther has focused on contemporary music and its milieu and context, attending and organizing countless concerts comprising a gamut of genres and formats as author, publisher, dramaturg and curator for different publishers, media and organizers, and as judge and juror in musical competitions.


Monday, 18 May, 7 p.m.

Caprichos Goyescos

This music for guitar takes its cue from Los Caprichos by Francisco de Goya. Published in Madrid in 1799, this series of eighty etchings ‘represents both the beginning of the modern age and one of its highlights’ (Werner Hoffmann). About twenty years ago, Jürgen Rupp began to ask composers to write works for solo guitar for him, each of them inspired by a particular Capricho. So far, he has assembled over forty compositions, of which a selection – all based on etchings on show here – will be performed.

Jürgen Ruck, Caprichos Goyescos
New compositions for solo guitar after etchings by Francisco de Goya
Followed by: Wilhelm Sinkovicz (Die Presse) in conversation with Jürgen Ruck

is Professor for Guitar at the Musikhochschule Würzburg. His repertoire comprises music from the sixteenth century until today. He has performed as a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Scharoun Ensemble, the Ensemble Intercontemporain Paris, the London Sinfonietta, Phace|contemporary music Wien and the WDR, NDR, SWR, SR, RAI Milan and ORF Vienna radio orchestras. In his work, he focuses on contemporary music: both as a member of the Ensemble Modern and in collaboration with composers such as György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann or John Adams. He has made Hans Werner Henze’s seminal oeuvre for guitar a focal point of his repertoire. In 2000, the CD recording of his performance of these works received the ECHO KLASSIK award for ‘solo performance of the year’ of twentieth-century music.

studied composition and musicology in Vienna. He has been the music critic of Die Presse since 1984; countless radio broadcasts; taught for many years at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien (mdw), at the Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien (MUK, formery the Conservatory), and at the Theatre, Film and Media Studies Department of Vienna University. He has published books on, for example, Arnold Schoenberg, Johann Strauss, and the opera in Vienna.

Tuesday, 9 June, 7 p.m.

Leonore Prohaska – An unfinished revolutionary opera by Ludwig van Beethoven

Susana Zapke and Thomas Macho examine Beethoven’s interest in the story of Eleonore Prochaska, the daughter of an officer who, under the assumed name August Renz, joined the Prussian army in 1813 to fight against Napoleon. Killed fighting for king and country and celebrated as the German Jeanne d’Arc, this female figure reflects mythical discourses typical of the nineteenth century. The panelists will look at why Beethoven again explored this female typology in order to write an ultimately unfinished revolutionary opera that, in addition, shares certain traits with the figure of Leonore in Fidelio (1805/1806/1814), which, in turn, is based on the opera Léonore, ou l’amor conjugal.

Incidental music (fragment, 1815) to accompany J.F.L. Duncker’s drama
Premiere directed by Wolfgang Dosch and Niels Muus
Students of the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna (MUK)
Leonore: Sepideh Eslambolchi
Warriors: Namil Kim, Jongmin Kim, André Aguir Angenendt, Muratcan Atam
Piano: Rafael Salas Chia
Followed by: Susana Zapke (MUK) in conversation with Thomas Macho (IFK)

headed the Institut für Kulturwissenschaft at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Since 2016 he has led the Internationales Forschungszentrum für Kulturwissenschaften (IFK) of the Kunstuniversität Linz in Vienna. In 2019 the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung awarded him the Sigmund Freud Prize for his scholarly prose. His monographs include: Das Leben ist ungerecht (2010); Vorbilder (2011); Schweine. Ein Portrait (2015); Das Leben nehmen. Suizid in der Moderne (2017)

is Professor for Historical Musicology at the Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien (MUK). Her research focusses on mediaeval studies (9th–15th cent.), twentieth-century music, and music in urban spaces – symbolic politics and urban images with a special focus on Vienna as well as the history of the visual reception of Beethoven. Her most recent publication is Beethoven visuell. Der Komponist im Spiegel bildlicher Vorstellungswelten, with W. Telesko and S. Schnidl (2020)