Contemporary music is center stage again for the 30th year running

Loud, emotional, noisy or sublime – contemporary music has many faces, some of them challenging for laypeople to understand. Fortunately, for the last 30 years Wien Modern has committed to making the cutting edge more accessible by adding art installations, performances and video into the mix, creating an audibly stimulating as well as visually pleasing whole. More than 100 concerts – 73 of them first performances – over an entire month make it one of the largest festivals of its kind, challenging conventional ideas of music.

This year, the festival’s motto is “Bilder im Kopf ” (“Images in Mind”), kicking o with the Wiener Symphoniker accompanying the silent film J’accuse (Abel Gance, 1919), a forgotten gem of an anti-war film. Shot entirely on WWI battlefields like Verdun, all scenes were acted out by veterans (including a scene with zombies).

Also, keep an ear out for the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra’s Claudio Abbado concert, honoring the festival’s founder while critically examining the recent ban on face veils.

On All Saints’ Day, Noche de los muertos – proyecciones by sound- and video-artist Billy Roisz, will offer a new take on the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos by creating a film noir soundscape using guitars and electronic beats.

For children, Wien Modern offers events in cooperation with Dschungel Wien and Zoom Kindermuseum, like painting workshops and imaginative journeys using fingers and maps to hook them while they’re young.

General Pass holders gain entry to most productions, as well as additional discounts, making it easy to take a chance on something unfamiliar. If you’d prefer to play it by ear, single tickets are available as well.

Through Dec 1, various locations. Wien Modern