Vienna Media News 01/2022 Under New Management: Culture in Vienna is Female
Albertina modern: Angela Stief
Eccentric outfits, a distinct tendency towards pop culture and a reputation for being possessed of a particularly critical spirit with a pronounced feminist vein: the brightest new management appointment at a Viennese cultural institution goes by the name of Angela Stief. On September 1, 2021 she took up the reins as Director and Chief Curator at the Albertina modern, an offshoot of the world-famous Albertina, which is dedicated to modern, post-modern and contemporary art. Born in Augsburg in 1974, she famously ruffled feathers on the Viennese culture scene in her capacity as curator of the Kunsthalle Wien, where she put female pop-art, queer fashion and performance art center stage. No stranger to the venue, Stief collaborated with the Albertina before taking the top job when she co-curated opening exhibition The Beginning. Right now, the Albertina modern is running Stief’s pop art exhibition The 80s, which explores the pluralism of style in the decade and addresses the birth of Postmodernism. In her new role as Director of the Albertina modern, Stief has also taken over as head of Contemporary Art at the Albertina proper.
Museum of Applied Arts: Lilli Hollein
Lilli Hollein was installed as the new General Director of the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) – one of the top institutions in the city focusing on turn-of-the-century Viennese design – on September 1, 2021. Born in Vienna in 1972, she is anything but an unknown quantity. The curator and culture manager – a celebrated design expert – cofounded Vienna Design Week in 2007, which is Vienna’s biggest annual design festival. From 2013-2021, she stepped up as sole organizer of the event, positioning Vienna as a key location for contemporary design on the international stage. Hollein’s predilection for good design and willingness to engage with unusual formal language is perhaps inevitable, given that her father is the Viennese Pritzker Prize-winning architect Hans Hollein (1934-2014). Her brother Max Hollein is Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In some ways, Lilli Hollein’s appointment brings her full circle: she studied industrial design at the University of Applied Art Vienna – located in the same building as the MAK .
Volksoper: Lotte de Beer
From the 2022/23 season on, Lotte de Beer will be providing a breath of fresh air at the Wiener Volksoper. Born in 1981, the Dutch opera director is set to become the first woman to set the tone at the long-established music venue. De Beer is hardly a newcomer when it comes to the world of musical theater. She majored in directing at the Amsterdam University of the Arts, having previously studied piano, singing and acting in Maastricht. 2010 saw her achieve her first major successes with the company she cofounded, Operafront. From there, she went on to take European musical theater by storm. De Beer has directed productions at Oper Leipzig, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and the Bregenzer Festspiele. Guest appearances in Basle, Malmö and Essen helped to cement her first-class reputation. Known for her distinctly contemporary productions and non-dogmatic approach, de Beer is no stranger to Vienna thanks to past engagements at the Theater an der Wien and the Kammeroper.
Jewish Museum Vienna: Barbara Staudinger
The Jewish Museum Vienna (JMW) will also be under new management from July 2022, when Barbara Staudinger (b. 1973) takes over from long-standing director Danielle Spera. Staudinger’s move follows her previous appointment as Director of the Jewish Museum Augsburg Swabia. She started her career in 1998 as a researcher working at the Institute for Jewish History in Austria. In 2005, the Viennese-born academic took up a post as curator at the Jewish Museum Munich, where she put together a wide variety of different exhibitions. Staudinger was also part of the team of curators responsible for redesigning the Austrian exhibition at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Her career highlights to date include numerous research projects as well as research papers on Jewish history and culture. Staudinger studied at the University of Vienna where she read history, theater studies and Jewish studies. She wrote her PhD on Jews in the Imperial Council.
Theater Museum: Marie Theres Arnbom
Part of the Kunshistorisches Museum Vienna Association, the Austrian Theater Museum will also come under female leadership on January 1, 2022. Incoming Vienna-born Research Director Marie-Theres Arnbom (b. 1968) has a wealth of experience as a freelance exhibition curator. Arnbom, who has a comprehensive catalog of research publications to her credit, is the organizer of several festivals and is an experienced music dramatologist. And her reputation proceeds her at the Theater Museum, where she has already curated two exhibitions. Arnbom’s most recent publication, Die Villen vom Ausseerland (2021), focused on the villa construction boom in the well-heeled region of the same name. Previous novels include “Swing tanzen verboten! Unterhaltungsmusik nach 1933 zwischen Widerstand, Propaganda und Vertreibung” and “Damals war Heimat. Die Welt des jüdischen Grossbürgertums”. And Arnbom is currently the artistic director of the Kindermusikfestival St. Gilgen and Hölle am See festivals. Her main objective in her new role as Research Director is to open up the Theater Museum to new audiences.
RSO & MdW: Marin Alsop
The ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSO) has been under the stewardship of Marin Alsop since September 2019, when she became the first woman to take the helm at the RSO. Born in New York in 1956, she is also the first woman to teach orchestral conducting at the internationally renowned University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Alsop has long been held up as an example of a pioneer in a male-dominated industry. Her career highlights speak volumes, with her first big break coming when she won the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition in New York in 1989. One of her mentors was Leonard Bernstein, who she also studied under. There are virtually no major orchestras that Alsop has not conducted, with the New York Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich among her guest posts. The Orchestre de Paris and Münchener Philharmoniker are among the countless others to have enlisted her services over the years. When she picked up the baton at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra she became the first woman ever to conduct one of the major US orchestras.
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