Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Markus Hinterhäuser takes over at the Salzburg Festival from October 2016

Sorry this is a cut-and-paste job from a press release, without editing let lone comment, but I am off out (to Fidelio at ENO: Calixto Bieito's return to London), and thought this information might be of interest to readers sooner rather than later:

Markus Hinterhäuser appointed Artistic Director of the Salzburg Festival starting on October 1, 2016


President Rabl-Stadler’s contract renewed for another three years till 2017


(25 Sept. 2013, Press Office Salzburg Festival) Starting on October 1, 2016, Markus Hinterhäuser will be the Salzburg Festival’s Artistic Director; his contract runs for five years, until September 30, 2021. The contract of Festival President Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler has been extended for another three years (from October 1, 2014 to October 1, 2017). These decisions were made by the Salzburg Festival’s Supervisory Board today, Wednesday, September 25. Its meeting was chaired by Section Director Mag. Andrea Ecker of the Federal Ministry of Education, Art and Culture.


The current Artistic Director, Alexander Pereira, will take up a position at La Scala in Milan after the 2014 season. During the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Sven-Eric Bechtolf and President Rabl-Stadler will join forces at the helm of the Festival, taking over responsibility for the overall artistic planning from October 1, 2014.


Long-term perspective and double competency


The Supervisory Board decided unanimously that Markus Hinterhäuser was the best-qualified candidate for the position of Artistic Director of the Salzburg Festival, starting on October 1, 2016. As Ecker declared, the decisive reasons were the special connection that Hinterhäuser enjoys with Salzburg, ensuring a long-term perspective, as well as his double competency and authority as an internationally acclaimed artist and experienced arts and culture manager with a high capacity for innovation. Furthermore, the artistic concept presented by Hinterhäuser was convincing, guaranteeing a high-quality programmatic orientation of the Festival. “We are happy that he has accepted the appointment; he is an excellent choice for Salzburg, and the Festival can look forward to a positive future,” the Supervisory Board’s chairperson is convinced.


There were ten applications for the position of Festival President. The evaluation of these applications definitely showed the incumbent, Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler, as the best-qualified among the applicants, Mag. Ecker continued.


A beautiful and moving moment


“This is a very beautiful and moving moment for me,” Hinterhäuser commented upon his appointment: “It is a great and important mission for me, because I am very attached to the Festival and my life has been influenced profoundly by Salzburg and the Festival.” Asked about the Festival’s future development, the designated Artistic Director declared that one thing he could say for certain was that there would be fewer events, since the limit of feasibility had been reached internally and externally. A profound analysis of the Festival’s expansion during the past two years will form the basis for future decisions.


Regarding the conceptual pillars of his tenure as Artistic Director, starting in the autumn of 2016, Hinterhäuser explained that on the one hand, he considers the profound exploration of Mozart’s oeuvre very important. This, however, also demands the courage to blaze new trails. Further development and concentration of the Ouverture spirituelle, leading up to and preparing the season’s first opera production, as well as a stronger integration of the drama department in terms of content and dramaturgy, are further issues. “My handwriting is known in Salzburg, and I will not change it fundamentally,” said Hinterhäuser.


Energy and enjoyment of the Festival


Festival President Rabl-Stadler spoke of a historic situation at the Festival, since the coming years will be marked by the work of three Artistic Directors. “This situation is definitely challenging. However, I am looking forward to supporting the three Artistic Directors in realising what they consider necessary. I have the necessary energy and enjoyment of the Festival,” said Rabl-Stadler.


A stable artistic path of high quality


“We want a long-term perspective and a stable artistic path of high quality into the future,” Landeshauptmann Dr. Wilfried Haslauer, a member of the Supervisory Board, stated, emphasising that both sides – the Supervisory Board and the designated Artistic Director – are interested in a long-term partnership. Haslauer said that for him, the limits of the Festival’s growth have been reached. Quality must be the most important criterion, finding a reasonable measure for developments, and the economic conditions must be add up, the Landeshauptmann sketched out the path forward.


Markus Hinterhäuser: a short biography


Markus Hinterhäuser was born in 1959 in La Spezia, Italy. He studied piano at the Music Academy in Vienna, at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and at various master courses. As a pianist, Marks Hinterhäuser has performed at the world’s most important concert halls and at internationally renowned festivals. As a co-founder of Zeitfluss, a series of events taking place from 1993 to 2001 at the Salzburg Festival, and as Artistic Director of the project Zeit-Zone at the Wiener Festwochen, he won international acclaim as a cultural manager. Beginning in October 2006, Hinterhäuser was responsible for the Salzburg Festival’s concert programme. From October 1, 2010 to October 1, 2011 he was its Interim Artistic Director. Until July 1, 2016 Hinterhäuser will remain Artistic Director of the Wiener Festwochen.

1 comment:

Zwölftöner said...

Best candidate for the vacancy, if also a foregone conclusion of almost insulting proportions for the other applicants. Anybody's guess as to who Salzburg imagined they were fooling by paying headhunter Egon Zehnder tens of thousands of euros (jo supa) to make this ridiculous process look 'professional' and 'transparent'. But at least this way Hinterhäuser still honours his Festwochen contract. His first programme announcement in December is awaited with baited breath, though expectations are running foolishly high and there is a certain amount of amnesia about the Bondy era. Bondy deserves much credit for making the Festwochen immeasurably more contemporary than Salzburg - Mortier won all the plaudits for challenging Haider in 1999, but all the recent cultural 'Auseinandersetzungen' on social and political themes took place in the Burgtheater and at the Festwochen, not in Salzburg.

The Pereira debacle also deserves more reflection, I think, than the customary 'glücklich ist, wer vergißt'. The conservative/middlebrow programming is one matter. The criticisms over expansion were however overheated; Pereira's long-term plans were not exponential and in any case the extra week in July was as far as an extension of the festival could feasibly go (and one which Rabl-Stadler intends to keep; funny that). Pereira hardly showed himself to be fiscally reckless in Zürich and the few extra millions in Salzburg were covered by donor commitments. Rabl-Stadler never had a good answer for why she spent so much time obstructing an Intendant whom she and the Kuratorium had hired with explicit reference to his fundraising abilities. Although an anti-Pereira Kuratorium had the power to quietly block his budget plans, Rabl-Stadler nevertheless chose to engage in a briefing war with oddly redundant talking points. These are all variations on a single theme, if I quote just a few news reports: "Alexander Pereira redet zu viel über das Geld", "Der Intendant redet am liebsten vom Geld", "Pereira redet nur vom Geld", "[Pereira gilt] als jemand, der eher über Geld als über Kunst spricht", and so on. This recalls a much too recent time in Austrian politics when Jörg Haider made references to the "US-Ostküste" and all those Austrians sympathetic to his agenda implicitly knew exactly what he was talking about. It speaks to the extraordinary, and extraordinarily ugly, strength of Haider's political legacy that the use of code words which prime stereotyping - nowadays, most acutely when it comes to the Turkish and LGBT communities - is no longer even controversial. One hears plainly enough how normalized this has become just by sitting in the Gasthaus or the U-Bahn. Pereira gave as good as he got and I don't mean to be naive or cast aspersions, but that all this talk of money attached itself so swiftly to a Jewish Intendant should give pause. Rabl-Stabler vs. Pereira was one messy personality clash, that much is obvious. Couldn't we have had a dumb media feud just about that, rather than slipping into tropes that would make Onkel Jörg cackle with glee?