A Public Space Encounter with Music


The project “Klangketten” [Sound Chains], starting from the fact that the Vienna Musikverein became home to what is now the mdw1 (which occupied today’s artists’ dressing room for the Brahms-Saal and the corridor now known as the “Schulgang”) immediately upon its completion, seeks to render audible and visible how Antonio Salieri’s original pedagogical initiative proceeded to radiate across the world – as well as in which buildings (Viennese teaching locations) it now makes its home.

Over the many decades that followed, instructors, students, former students, and students of mdw graduates came to form audible human chains that, emanating from the Musikverein, eventually reached out in a ray-like fashion to the individual locations of today’s mdw. Such human chains, then as now, can also be thought of as “sound chains” or “sound paths”.

They transport and send songs, sounds, and improvisations both sonic and rhythmic throughout the city. But in contrast to the children’s game “whisper down the lane”, where a message is whispered from ear to ear, repeatedly misunderstood, and transformed into something absurd, the musical material in these chains wanders about town in a consciously audible fashion.

In the present project, such messages – melodies and sounds from all over the world – will be developed further by the participating musicians, actors, and singers, being adapted, embellished, and modified by the chains of people conveying them in accordance with their respective destinations.

Sound Chain ©Florine Glück

Additionally, these sound chains will be enriched by public space “sound islands” that will be used for teaching. At such islands, Vienna residents, passers-by, and tourists will be invited to take lessons, try out instruments, and train their voices. In other words, they will have the opportunity – if interested and willing – to partake of the mdw’s mission and concrete offerings free of charge.

Involving and/or specifically inviting former students and graduates will draw a historical arc back into the mdw’s recent history, ideally underlining how its work, offerings, message, and competencies have radiated outward.

mdw graduates from Austria and abroad are also invited to make visible the locations where they now do their (teaching) work. And by involving their pupils, these graduates can use the mdw’s bicentennial celebrations to further extend this audible musical journey. In this way, they will help to make visible the impulses that emanated and continue to emanate from Vienna.

Klangketten invites groups representing different generations and layers of society to join together for personal encounters and hands-on activities with music in the public sphere, thus sending a visible and audible message that conveys the mdw’s 200-year-old mandate and mission.


  • Date: 31 May 2017 (alternate date in case of inclement weather: 7 June 2017)

Idea, concept & contact:

Mag. Dietmar Flosdorf
Josef Hellmesberger Department of String Instruments, Guitar, and Harp in Music Education

Rennweg 8, 1030 Vienna
Tel.: +43 1 71155-4501
E-Mail: office-hbi@mdw.ac.at


1 The very first teaching facilities of what is now the mdw were at Palais Lobkowitz, the original home of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. In 1829, this society acquired a building (called the “Haus zum roten Igel”) on Tuchlauben in the city’s Kärntnerviertel section. Following construction of the present-day Vienna Musikverein building (1863–1870), teaching activities were moved once again to occupy dedicated spaces in what is now the Musikverein’s “Schulgang” [School Corridor] and the artist’s dressing room for the Brahms-Saal.