In the course of a year, over 60 performances are staged in the Austrian Cultural Forum's small but grand theater. The ACFNY's musical programs feature an eclectic mix of contemporary, classical, and world music, as well as jazz, and DJ/club-events. The ACFNY also partners with concert halls, performance spaces and universities in order to showcase Austrian cutting edge ensembles.
The annual MOVING SOUNDS FESTIVAL is an ongoing project that examines the way technology functions as a mediator between different genres and modes of expression, but the range of possible topics is actually eclectic and intentionally unbounded. Thus traditional and contemporary classical musical performances are juxtaposed with acoustic and electro-acoustic music, interactive composition/performance, improvisation, pre-recorded soundtracks, and live interactive works such as DJ/remix performances, electronica, turntablism and experimental genres such as noise music, mash-ups, biomusic, etc. Cultural theory, criticism, music theory and music cognition complement the project on the discussion side.
“The Moving Sounds Festival means its title to be taken in every possible way. The works performed during this three-day event are meant to be moving, if not always emotionally then viscerally or intellectually.” - Allan Kozinn, The New York Times
The MOSTLY CONTEMPORARY music series exposes ACFNY visitors to a wide range of mostly contemporary compositions that are rarely performed or not as well known. By playing with contrasts and establishing lineages and links it testifies to the vital relationship between tradition and innovation, memory and progress. The program sometimes features exponents from the Second Viennese School, yet pays special attention to the post-1945 generation of composers and those of the 21st century from Austria and beyond. MOSTLY CONTEMPORARY also explores the interface of cutting-edge microtonal and electronic music with a so-called "classical modern" repertoire.
The ACFNY-COMPOSER SERIES created in 2008 explores new developments in composition and tonal possibilities while paying homage to living composers and giving young composers a platform. This program is one of the few ACFNY-programs with a more international focus, like the group show exhibitions, since music is probably the most universal "language" which does not require any specific pre-knowledge. And as composers are the authors of this art, each composer - from Austria, America and beyond - can present his personal style in many ways: performing an evening program, giving a lecture, a master class, a composition workshop and engaging in a dialogue. Both students and lovers of music can gain invaluable insights into the sophisticated technique and complex nature of composition in the intimacy of the state-of-the-art ACFNY auditorium.
JAZZ and WORLD MUSIC events are held occasionally throughout the year with concerts and a small JAZZ FESTIVAL. The annual JAZZ FESTIVAL takes place at venues such as The Jazz Standard, Dizzy's Jazz Club at Lincoln Center and Joe's Pub. Martin Reiter, Wolfgang Puschnig, Gene Pritsker, Steve Wilson, Viola Falb, Michael Wolff, Stella Jones, Badal Roy, Trio Nada, Franz Hackl, and many more have been among the performing musicians.
Recent highlights include a concert by Georg Friedrich Haas, one of the most important modern European composers, who delighted the audience with his multilayered trademark-style of subtle works in early February. The ACF-concert followed the US-premiere of his piece "In Vain" at the Miller Theatre in New York. The renowned Hugo Wolf Quartet also returned to New York in spring 2009 to perform an eclectic program at the ACFNY, which included works by Franz Joseph Haydn, Alban Berg, and Kenny Wheeler.
A concert by Austria's most important contemporary chamber ensemble, Klangforum Wien, was one of the crowning concert series events of the spring 2009 season at the Austrian Cultural Forum. Klangforum Wien also performed within the framework of the FREE RADICALS program at Lincoln Center in New York in early April. The other major highlight was the enthusiastically received concert of the MERLIN ENSEMBLE VIENNA, an event which was staged in co-ooperation with and at the MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM.