House of Music (Haus Der Musik)

House of Music (Haus Der Musik) (36)

Have you ever felt like conducting an orchestra or creating music with your body? Or maybe attending the New Year's Eve concert? If so, then you cannot miss this museum. And less so if you are travelling with children.

Halfway between the Staatsoper and Stephansdom visitors have the opportunity to live a unique experience in this modern interactive museum that opens 365 days a year from 10 am to 10 pm. The objectives of the museum are to present music in new ways, though always from an empirical, or experiential perspective, in which the visitor plays an active part.

The building, which presents its technological ingenuities over an area of 5000 square metres, was at one time the palace of the Archduke Charles and its relationship with music is long standing, as it was also for some years the residence of the composer Otto Nicolai, creator of the opera The Merry Wives of Windsor and founder of the Wiener Philharmoniker, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Even today the Haus der Musik remains, at least in part, the home of this prestigious orchestra, as the first floor, called the Beletage, houses the only rooms of the palace that have been preserved as they were in former times, and visitors are free to examine documents relating to the history of the institution.

Opened in 2000, the honorary president of the Haus der Musik is Zubin Mehta. The renowned conductor committed himself fully to the project on confirming that the museum had a clear mission to communicate Vienna's rich musical heritage to the public while simultaneously tending bridges to the future via the creation of a space that encourages dialogue between people who approach the phenomenon that is music from different criteria and perspectives.

This idea of uniting past and future is also reflected in the building's combination of contemporary architecture with the latest in modern technology. 

The central courtyard, topped by a glass roof, is surrounded by music-related enterprises and offers temporary free exhibitions. The courtyard also houses a cafe.

In contrast, the second floor invites the visitor to enter a fascinating world in which they can discover, for example, the capabilities of the human voice as an instrument or the first sonic experiences that human beings are exposed to, among other pleasures. Especially interesting is what is known as the Instrumentarium, where visitors can interact with giant instruments.

In addition to information on the composers who have made Vienna one of the music capitals of the world, from Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven to Schoenberg, Webern and Berg, to Schubert and Mahler, the third floor houses one of the most popular rooms among visitors to the museum: the Virtual conductor. 

Here, thanks to a sophisticated system, the visitor is faced with the task of conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which is presented for the occasion on a giant plasma television. The virtual orchestra responds to the baton, following the rhythm andtempo established by the conductor. And if you are up to the challenge, you may even be rewarded with applause. 

But surely one of the great attractions that you can enjoy in this temple of sound is the Brain Opera, a state-of-the-art facility developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that lets you create your own sounds through movements and rhythms of your body. In addition, the room allows you to combine your creations with those of other visitors.

On top floor of the building houses a small auditorium and a restaurant. So if, in addition to other emotions and stimuli, the music has whetted your appetite, you know where to go.

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