A spirit of experimentation and research

Clara Iannotta and 50 other female composers

Clara Iannotta is the composer in focus at the Musikverein in the 2024/25 season. Works by female composers are also central to a cooperation project that will run for several years.

Manu Theobald

A “sound image” – for composer Clara Iannotta, this is often the starting point for a work. When the works of the “composer in focus” are performed at the Musikverein in October in cooperation with Wien Modern, you can get an impression of what she means by this: “When I compose, I don’t start from the instruments, but from something that I imagine internally. And then I strive to get as close as possible to this ideal image with what the instruments provide,” says Iannotta in the interview. If she deems it necessary, she sometimes modifies the instruments. “This has its roots in my childhood when my father didn’t buy me toys but showed me how to make one. I take a similar approach to my music.”

François Roelants

Born in 1983, Clara Iannotta began her career as a flautist, taking lessons from age six after admiring a flute solo on television at the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert. However, one of her teachers suggested that she could become even better if she also learned to compose. “I soon enjoyed it so much that I gradually moved away from the flute and stuck entirely to composition.” Her success proves her right: her works have been performed at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Milan, Paris and Venice, among others. For example, she has composed for Quatour Diotima, the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Klangforum Wien. Her portrait CDs “A Failed Entertainment”, “Moult”, and “Earthing” were awarded places on the best list and prizes from the German Record Critics, and she also received the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation Award and the Hindemith Prize. In addition to her work as a composer, Iannotta is a professor of composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and musical director of the Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik.

Their work is always dominated by a love of experimentation and a spirit of research, often oscillating between experimental instrumental treatment and electronics. The poems of Dorothy Molloy also inspire her. “My works are a tribute to her and closely linked to her texts. When I read ‘Troglodyte Angels Clank By’ for the first time, I immediately had this dark room filled with dust in front of me, in which you can’t perceive anything at first, and your perception changes dramatically for this very reason.” From this association, Iannotta created the work of the same name, in which individual events only gradually emerge through instruments, colours and sounds. “Troglodyte Angels Clank By” will be among the works performed at the Musikverein. The Austrian premiere of the piano concerto “the purple fuchsia bled upon the ground” is also included – with Pierre Laurent Aimard as soloist. In all her works, Iannotta wants to create spaces in which the listeners can wander around and make discoveries, figuratively speaking. She describes her music as one that “invites the audience to use not only their ears but also other parts of their bodies to perceive my compositions”.

Bringing more female composers onto the repertoire is the aim of the “Akademie Zweite Moderne” of the Wiener Festwochen and the Arnold Schönberg Center, which will take place in 2025 in cooperation with the Musikverein. Under the patronage of Nuria Schoenberg Nono, female composers from all over the world are invited to Vienna to network, develop strategies for visibility and present their works. Klangforum Wien will perform these. The project will run for five years, with ten female composers invited each year and the Musikverein participating. The aim is for concert halls and opera houses, in particular, to commit themselves to significantly increasing the proportion of works by female composers in their programs.

Theresa Steininger

Concerts 24/25

September 6, 2023


Großer Saal

September 6, 2023


Großer Saal

    © Julia Wesely

    Simply conduct

    © Felix Broede

    Suction effect

    © Deutsche Grammophon - Andreas Hechenberger

    With charisma and temperament

    © Julia Wesely

    Strong relationships

    © Wolf-Dieter Grabner

    Contemporary music

    Archive, Library and Collections of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna

    Fine and fragrant

    © Brand photography

    Conducting on the royal road

    Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna

    Colossal sounds