Austrian Cultural Forum Celebrates 15 Years in NYC!

Austrian Cultural Forum on 52nd Street. Photo by David Plakke davidplakke.com. Courtesy of Austrian Cultural Forum New York

Talk about time flying!  I used to work at 52nd Street and Madison Avenue in the late 90’s, and I remember when the site of the Austrian Cultural Forum was an empty lot.  The building (only 25 feet wide) is a testament to the ingenuity of Austrian architect Raimund Abraham, as well as to the creativity of the staff who program its space.  The ACF is celebrating its15th Anniversary with a special sound exhibit Homages, featuring 15 newly composed or arranged recorded pieces by contemporary Austrian musicians, each paying tribute to one particular pivotal artist whose work was influenced by New York. The 15 commissions (each 3 to 5 minutes) are spread throughout the public spaces of the building, embedded in LED light boxes.  You’re given headphones and an audio device – as you get near each light box, the music begins. Many pieces are experimental and almost all have some electronic music component. I especially liked the homages to Charlie Mingus (Peter Herbert),  Philip Glass (Patrick Pulsinger) and John Zorn (Max Nagl).  On opening night, there was also a fabulous performance by the Talea Ensemble of works by Steve Reich, John Zorn and Olga Neuwirth.   Homages is running only through Monday, April 24th.

The Austrian Cultural Forum has a robust program of performances, exhibitions and lectures throughout the year.  Take a look at their calendar – they host over 100 free events a year.  The ACF also has a library of more than 11,000 volumes of contemporary Austrian literary, artistic, historical, and political works.

Congratulations to Christine Moser and her staff for a great celebration!  And to everyone who made these 15 years happen!

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