HISTORY of isa

About isa

Decades of consistent development have seen what started in 1991 as a masterclass for string players attended by 13 students grow into a project that is unparalleled worldwide. In addition to the long-standing courses for solo instruments, chamber music, piano, voice, composition, and contemporary music, the last few years have also included a music outreach component (isaOutreach) as well as the research conference isaScience.

About the mdw

The mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna numbers among the world’s largest and most renowned universities specialised in music, theatre, and film. Over 3,000 students from more than 70 countries are currently being trained in 115 degree programmes encompassing music and other performing arts, science and research, and education. The mdw’s altogether 25 departments include the Max Reinhardt Seminar and Film Academy Vienna.
More on the mdw at: www.mdw.ac.at

HISTORY of isa

isa – the International Summer Academy of the mdw was established in 1991 as an initiative of the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts under the leadership of Univ.-Prof. DDr. h. c. Michael Frischenschlager. It was born amidst the euphoria generated by the fall of the Iron Curtain and had as its goal the facilitation of musical encounters and international networking for particularly gifted young students, in particular for those from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

Beginning with the 15th edition of isa (2005), Univ.-Prof. Dr h.c. Johannes Meissl worked consistently to develop the International Summer Academy into an event that draws its identity from its mix of courses, topically diverse workshops, the associated festival, academic reflection, innovative interdisciplinary artistic projects, and the building of networks based on new friendships. World-class quality and participants from 45 countries around the globe combined with the overall “isa-experience” have by now made the mdw’s International Summer Academy into an event that is unique the world over.

From the very beginning, it was also possible to secure the participation of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) and the Franz Liszt Music University in Budapest as the programme’s main cooperating partners. And every year since then, isa has been held in cooperation with further leading music universities from the CEE region – including those of Bratislava, Brno, Zagreb, Sofia, Bucharest, Ljubljana, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Sarajevo, Vilnius and Krakow – as well as with the involvement of world-renowned institutions of musical training in London, Paris, New York, Tokyo and other major cities.

since 1991 Master classes for solo strings (without double bass)
since 1993 Master classes for string quartet
since 1994 Master classes for solo winds and wind chamber music
since 1995 Master classes in composition
since 1998 Master classes for singers
since 1999 Master classes for piano & chamber music with piano
2003 – 2010 Master classes in conducting
from 2005 More and more supplementary workshops and lectures
since 2006 Master classes for double bass
A new overall theme every year for isa and associated interdisciplinary projects (Max Reinhardt Seminar, Music Education, Stage Design, Filmakademie Wien, etc.)

2010 – 2012 Conduct of the singers’ courses in cooperation with jOPERA Jennersdorf
Since 2013 Transformation of the accompanying concert series into the isaFestival, including the specialised series UNERHÖRT – International Award Winners and Open Chamber Music.
Conduct of the singers’ courses as isaOperaVienna in cooperation with the mdw’s Department of Voice and Music Theatre.

isaScience – A forum for the scientific and scholarly community
since 2019 isaOperetta
2020 isaDigital

em. o. Univ.-Prof. DDr. h.c. Michael Frischenschlager
Since 2005
Univ.-Prof. Dr. h.c. Johannes Meissl

Prominent isa instructors have included and continue to include leading educators from the programme’s partner institutions as well as from the mdw, many of whom have worked and continue to work worldwide as performing artists in famous ensembles and orchestras. For example: Alban Berg Quartet, Amadeus Quartet, Bartók Quartet, Janácek Quartet, Czech Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, etc.

In the past, isa participants have successfully taken part in important international competitions such as the ARD Competition (Munich), the Fritz Kreisler Competition (Vienna), the Menuhin Competition (Folkstone), the Osaka Chamber Music Competition, the Paganini Competition (Genoa), the Prague Spring Competition, etc. Many former students of isa now have careers on the world’s concert stages or work in opera houses and great orchestras including the Budapest State Opera, the Sofia State Opera, the Czech National Theatre, the Vienna State Opera, the Zagreb State Opera, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, and the Czech Philharmonic.


2021 unlimited
Jubilee Folder 30 Years of isa

2020 Heroes?
Welcome to isaDigital

2019 Just Play?!

2018 Music and Democracy

2017 Bewegung (Motion)
isaFestival 2017
isaMasterClass 2017
isaScience 2017

2016 DRAMA
isaFestival 2016
isaMasterClass 2016
isaOperaVienna 2016
isaScience 2016

2015 Jubilee
isaFestival 2015
isaMasterClass 2015
isaOperaVienna 2015
isaScience 2015

2014 Times of Change
isaFestival 2014
isaMasterClass 2014
isaOperaVienna 2014
isaScience 2014

2013 Scandal?!
isaFestival 2013
isaMasterClass 2013
isaOperaVienna 2013
isaScience 2013

2012 1912 – Fall and Rise
Master Class

2011 Liszt and the longing for the Mediterranean
Master Class

2010 as time goes by…
Master Class

2009 Haydn the Progressive

2008 Music of the North

2007 French Music

2006 With Mozart everything is Opera