Current Program


Accademia di Dame

On 15 November, 1697, the emperor’s name day, a remarkable event took place at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria:
five women received invitations to take part in a rhetorical competition, in which they were to debate whether it is more important to build one’s life based on merit or to rely on luck.
This academy is an extraordinary and rare example of a Baroque event shaped and conducted explicitly by women—who appeared both as singers and as the authors and presenters of their speeches.

The present project draws on the hypothesis that this historic event may be an attractive concert format for today´s audience—as a new convergence of art and research—and searches for solutions via which to transfer the accademia di dame into the present.

The first modern reenactment of this historic women’s academy and further projects are currently in preparation.

L´art de toucher le clavecin

François Couperin’s masterful French preludes, first published in 1716, come together with nine pralines by chocolatier Thomas Kovazh.

Duration: 50 minutes (incl. moderation and chocolate tasting)


Voglio il core

Music from the Salon of the Renaissance Courtesan Veronica Franco, Venice. Circa 1574
Music by Antonino Barges, Baldassare Donato, Marco Facoli, Andrea Gabrieli, and Claudio Merulo

Best of Leopold, Wien 1697

Emperor Leopold I was known to have one private pleasure in particular aside from his passion for hunting: the pursuit of music. In addition to being an excellent player of the harpsichord as well as various other instruments, he was also intimately familiar with the rules of composition and music theory. Less well known was his devotion to writing music for comedies and to organizing the rhetorical contests—so-called literary academies—that were typically held at court during the Carnival season.

1697, the year in which the music for this program premièred, is a historically important date for the performers. This was a year during which numerous events, such as the aforementioned comedies and literary academies, were developed and performed explicitly by women. The program “Best of Leopold” offers a selection of arias from such pieces, composed in Vienna in the late 17th century. The alternating sequence of vocal and instrumental music upholds the tradition of the so-called “serenata”—or, in the more familiar vernacular, the mini-opera.

Duration: 90 minutes (incl. moderation)



der Thorrechte Schäffer
[The Foolish Shepherd]

A Baroque Musical Comedy from Vienna

Unusual about this music is not only its composer—Emperor Leopold I—but also the baroque Viennese dialect in which the arias were written. These features set this piece apart from the usual Italian opera librettos and comedy texts in 17th-century Vienna and allows it to be take its place in the canon as one of the first known German singspiels.

Students and instructors of Konservatorium Wien Private Unviersity performed the music from this pastoral comedy on stage for the first time since 1683.

Gold.Berg.Werk / Karlheinz Essl

an interpretation of the Goldberg-Variations BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach for harpsichord and live-electronics

In the mid-1980s the composer Karlheinz Essl already had devoted intense study to this work, which in many respects seemed to pose compositional questions in an exemplary manner. In 2002, at the suggestion of the Orpheus Trio, the composer Essl took the High Baroque harmonic sequence of the piece transcending it in a modern, electronic sonorous space.

The version for electronics and harpsichord was written in 2010 for the festival Intonazione (



“Newton claims that there are seven colors and seven notes, while Du Fay asserts there are but three colors and three notes. Both are correct, and their argument is merely an empty one of words. I am also right when I say that there are countless colors and countless notes. However one chooses to understand it.”
(L. C. Mizler 1739)

The idea of a relationship between colors and notes inspired numerous learned Europeans of the Baroque Era to create color systems and methods of transferring these to music. The 18th-century reception of Isaac Newton’s seven-part spectrum shows that the idea had great influence on the subsequent discourse.

Counterpoint and cosmos

The Viennese twelve-tone composer Josef Matthias Hauer chose an interesting approach to Johann Sebastian Bach’s music: he wrote down the entire “Well-Tempered Clavier” by ear. In this new program, Susanne Pumhoesl pursues the question as to how the music of Bach affected Hauer’s compositional output, juxtaposing a selection of contrapuntal works by Johann Sebastian Bach with the bizarre twelve-tone games of Josef Matthias Hauer.