ISCM festival “World New Music Days” 2013 in Slovakia and Austria.


This year ISCM festival “World New Music Days” was going in three towns  - Košice, Bratislava (Slovakia) and Vienna (Austria).


Festival started at the 5. of Nov. in Košice, which was the Capital of Culture in Europe this year. In Košice lives around 250 000 inhabitants and it is located in East of Slovakia. The Old center of town is small, but beautiful and it is possible to walk through in 20 - 30 minutes. Outside this area starts the multistage living area, which reminds Soviet times architecture and style...

To the festival came delegates from around 40 countries. (ISCM has 50 members from all the world). In Košice we were staying first 3 days. The day started with General Assembly and continued with 2 or 3 concerts with contemporary music every evening.

The program was very interesting. The music was different kinds - emotional, experimental and intellectual as well.

From Košice to Bratislava we were going with train around 5 hours. The weather was beautiful, with sunshine and the train was going through the Tatra mountains. Cloud-kissing mountains were covered in some places with fog, in some places with snow. It was so poetical and mysterious, that I decided to come back here as normal tourist one day.

As soon as we arrived to Bratislava, we were going to the concert at the Slovakian philharmonic chamber hall. First piece (for contrabass solo “Monologue”) was by young Latvian composer Sabīne Ķezbere and of course I was in hurry to hear the concert.  The piece was played by ensemble “Melos -Ethos” and it had a great success.

After the chamber music concert all delegates were going to the Slovakian Opera, where the first performance got the opera “Dorian Grey” by young Slovakian composer Ľubica Čekovska. It was real, big opera with classical traditions, professional and well done, but unfortunately without any originality, which keeps performance and music in memory for long time. But never the less Slovakia was very proud about this event and the audience was full with journalists, musicologists, musicians, composers and politicians as well.

In Bratislava lives around 500 000 people and there are 2 symphony orchestras (very big orchestras, with 8 double basses and even 8 percussionists!!!) and they play every week 2 – 3 concerts for rather big audience.

The Radio House is also huge (build in 1970...) with chamber hall  and big hall for symphony orchestra. Impressive! At the big hall is build in organ. So there can be also concerts with organ music.

I have to mention also Slovakian Music Information Center, which has long traditions and at the moment is rather big institution, which promotes not only Slovakian music, but also organize concerts and festivals.

ISCM festival was going at the same time as “Melos Ethos” festival, which is focused more at Slovakian music.

In Bratislava was invited famous Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. There was performed her Concerto for Flute and symphony orchestra. At the next day there was meeting and discussion with K. Saariaho, which was rather important for young composers.

At the 11. of Nov. we were going to Vienna. It was the last part of the ISCM festival organized by Austrian colleagues collaborating with local festival “Wien-Modern”.

“Wien-Modern” had focus at Austrian composers, so it was good possibility to hear the local traditions too.

In Vienna was organized also Symposium, where musicologists discussed about contemporary music and explained situation in contemporary music at different countries (USA, Korea etc.)

About program more info:

Indra Riše, Leader of the Latvian ISCM section


1. Dec. 2013