Musikverein Perspectives: Anton Zeilinger

The physicist Anton Zeilinger is passionate about music. This will become clear in the Musikverein Perspectives: in concerts and talks developed with the Nobel Prize winner.

ÖAW - Jacqueline Godany

The name Anton Zeilinger (born 1945 in Ried/Innkreis) has been a household name not only since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2022. His fundamental research in quantum physics has opened doors to a new understanding of the world in many areas and hinted at exciting applications. About 25 years ago, Zeilinger’s experiments on the “teleportation” of quantum states caused a sensation: He used quantum physical “entanglement” – Albert Einstein had described this phenomenon as “spooky action at a distance” – to transfer information between particles. For example, this effect can be used for absolutely tap-proof communication, and Zeilinger was the first to prove this in theory and practice.

Michael Reck and Paul Kwiat

As a professor at the Universities of Innsbruck and Vienna, as the initiator of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, as founder and director of the IQOQI research institute and later as President of the Academy of Sciences, he shaped several generations of researchers and never tired of explaining to the public how exciting science is. However, he advocates a vast horizon of thought: For him, science is compatible with religion, and science does not contradict art and culture. Quite the opposite: music is a central, essential and indispensable part of his life. He has attended operas and concerts throughout his life. Music occupies him, fulfils him, and is a space for him to experience and, not least, to reflect.

The Musikverein has invited Anton Zeilinger to develop concert programs together at the Musikverein Perspektiven: Concerts, in which it becomes clear what kind of music inspires him and how he thinks about music. The concert programs planned with him reflect topics and questions central to Anton Zeilinger. For example, natural phenomena are what composers make audible in their music. Or the performance of music in natural locations. The simplicity and beauty in which nature reveals itself are evident and apparent. The creativity with which composers can fascinatingly create something genuinely new. And associatively, the big questions that his research into quantum physics raises fundamentally question our everyday experience: What is real? What is the reality of things independent of their observation? Or does the observer become the creator, the interpreting musician, or the composer? Does Beethoven’s “Eroica” exist independently of its performance? How can we use music to explore such questions, learn something about them, and listen to music in a new way? What can work by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Bruckner, Stockhausen, or Theodorakis tell us about ourselves and our understanding of the world?

The concerts will explore these questions – and will not be academic events. They will be sensual, captivating, exciting experiences – of listening to music together, of feeling the passion and energy of music and its enormous significance and enrichment for us. Anton Zeilinger will be present at all concerts and talk to artists and other interviewees about the musical works and the questions that move him—a musical journey with the Nobel Prize winner for physics.

Stephan Pauly

© Julia Wesely

Simply conduct

Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna

Colossal sounds

© Deutsche Grammophon - Andreas Hechenberger

With charisma and temperament

© Julia Wesely

Strong relationships

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

Fine and fragrant

© Brand photography

Conducting on the royal road

© Felix Broede

Suction effect