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Innovators in Exile

100 Years of the International Society for New Music

Austrian Cultural Forum New York (map)
Austrian Cultural Forum New York
11 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022
In person
General: Free, RSVP to: or +1 (212) 319 5300
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Elysium Between Two Continents Logo

RSVP to: or +1 (212) 319 5300

In 1922, a group of musicians organized a festival in Salzburg to showcase modern music by composers from around the world. Seen by some scholars as an attempt to subvert the conservative image of a newly-founded Austria being promoted by the Salzburg Festival, the festival returned in 1923 as the International Society for Contemporary Music, which is still in existence today. However, even by 1923, the festival had already earned the ire of anti-modernists, with one reporter from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle calling the participants “musical bolsheviks.” An extant image from the festival features a group of serious-faced modern composers, who did not yet know their fate: the majority of those pictured would be exiled to the United States as the rise of Nazi ideology linked modernism with Jewishness and Bolshevism. Most of these composers, in the midst of or on the precipice of vibrant careers, are now virtually unknown.

Join us in honoring the centennial of this 1922 festival with an evening of music from these exiled composers, including Rudolf Reti, Paul Pisk, Karl Weigl, Hugo Kauder, Wilhelm Grosz, Egon Lustgarten, Paul Hindemith, and Egon Wellesz. The concert will largely feature music composed by these composers after their emigration, most of which has never before been heard by modern audiences.

Michael Lahr, the Program Director of Elysium Between Two Continents, and Alexis Rodda, Elysium’s Program Coordinator, are the creative team behind the Innovators in Exile festival. Jeannie Im is the director of the concert program. Lahr will give an introduction to the evening’s events, while Rodda, an award-winning soprano, Im, a soprano noted by Opera News for her “gorgeous line and touching intensity,” and baritone Bryan Murray (called “powerful and forthright” by Opera News) will sing. Dan Franklin Smith, an “incredibly sensitive player” according to The Brooklyn Eagle, will play piano.