about the ensemble
Studio Dan was founded in 2005 as the large ensemble of the JazzWerkstatt Wien. Over time the group has undergone a metamorphosis, first into a more flexible instrumental ensemble and more recently into a multidisciplinary artistic production collective.
Studio Dan's vision far exceeds the mere performance of music: the group holds that artistic work can contribute meaningfully to the struggle against destructive capitalistic mechanisms and burgeoning nationalism. The ensembles develops educational formats, performs in public spaces, mounts challenging productions for young audiences and fosters networks reaching beyond the confines of the arts scene. The ensemble is particularly interested in artistic positions in conscious opposition to current trends in music and the arts. Studio Dan's membership has always been highly heterogenous, both in terms of the participants' artistic backgrounds and in terms of their age and gender.
For more than 15 years, the collective has commissioned works from composers, authors and dramatists from wildly diverse aesthetic fields: both from young artists such as Oxana Omelchuk, Karolina Preuschl, Eva-Maria Schaller, Christian F. Schiller, Matthias Kranebitter and Christof Ressi, and from more established names like George Lewis, Vinko Globokar, Elliott Sharp, Elisabeth Harnik and Friedrich Cerha.
Studio Dan has mounted co-productions with major institutions such as La Strada Graz, KinderKinder/Big Bang, Wien Modern and Dschungel Wien. Besides regular performances at Porgy & Bess and echoraum in Vienna, the ensemble has appeared at festivals including the Ostrava Days, the ORF musikprotokoll at steirischer herbst, and styriarte, as well as in venues including the Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Kulturfabrik Kampnagel in Hamburg, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and the legendary Roulette in Brooklyn, NYC. In 2020, the ensemble released its latest album, Breaking News, on the Swiss label Hat Hut Records.
Studio Dan's debut CD, Creatures & other stuff, received the German Record Critics' Award (shortlist); Planet Globokar was nominated for the YAM Award in 2017, and the New York Times chose its 2020 recording of George Lewis' "As We May Feel" – the first recording of the piece – as one of the year's 25 best classical music tracks.
Among other activities, the 2022/23 concert season is slated to include concerts at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
2008 – 2020
In 2020 Studio Dan realized one of its biggest projects yet: For two weeks ZONK!?!! brought concerts, sound sculptures and a connected musical outreach program to Vienna’s 20th district. The spa concerts in the Franz-Novy-Hof (a so called “Gemeindebau” located in Vienna’s 16th district) featured concerts, workshops and interventions in its courtyard. The program of Selected Works II included five compositions; four of which were premieres. Die Strase/GIF-Frenzy presented two very different approaches of connecting film and live music with concerts in Graz and Vienna. Stockhausen’s piece Tierkreis was performed by the ensemble for the first time at the Styriarte Graz and the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna. The CD Breaking News (with compositions by Oxana Omelchuk and George Lewis) was released on the renowned Hat Hut label.
In 2019 we presented five new productions – four of which were presented in the Jeunesse Specials at Porgy & Bess (Vienna). Femenine with music by Julius Eastman (premiered at open music Graz); New York – Wien #3 (with music by Anthony Coleman) premiered at the Jazzfesival Saalfelden); Augmented Reality Series #1 is a production that includes 10 premieres and was presented at the musikprotokoll 2019; the project SOS 2019 features music by Daniel Riegler and texts by Karolina Preuschl. How is your bird? is a scenic music theater for children that premiered at La Strada Graz and at the MUSIKTHEATERTAGE WIEN. Further concerts Landeck, Dornbirn, Graz und Wien and performances in Posen/Pl, Bozen/IT, Ostrava/CZ.
In 2018, the ensemble was first continueing the programs Neapel (last time), Breaking News, Planet Globokar and their Tribute to Frank (Zappa). Studio Dan was performing at the Stadtgarten Köln, at the Festspielhaus St. Pölten, at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and at the Open Ears Festival Kitchener in Canada.
For the second time in June and July, the ensemble presented the self-curated concert series "More Creatures & Other New Stuff" with five concerts in the Viennese Porgy & Bess. The group was performing existing pieces of u.a. Ig Henneman, John Zorn or Pierre Jodlowski and commissioned works by Elisabeth Harnik, Viola Falb and Johannes Lauer. The young Carinthian composer Christof Ressi, the appointed Featured Composer 2018, was going to present several of his existing and new works. The collaboration with Leo Riegler was bringing film and live music to the program in October.
The final highlight of the year was the long-planned and longed-for premiere of the commissioned work "Passaggio Verso Il Rischio" by Vinko Globokar at Wien Modern.
2017 included the presentation of several programs in New York on an invitation from the Austrian Cultural Forum, as well as other concerts in Canada. On this tour, pieces by young European composers as Mirela Ivičević, Caitlin Smith, Christoph Walder and Daniel Riegler were presented next to new commissions by Oxana Omelchuk and George Lewis. HOHNOR, apremiere by Christian F. Schiller, was written for two harmonicas and ensemble. In the first half of 2017 the ensemble was paying tribute to Frank Zappa´s artistic universe and related music (Varèse, Stockhausen, Fred Frith, Christof Dienz...); In September the ensemble was for the first time working on a piece by Julius Eastman.
In 2016, Studio Dan brought our programs to several internationally-renowned stages. We performed our brand-new in-house production “Planet Globokar” at Wien Modern / Dschungel Wien, the Theater am Ortweinplatz! (Graz), and KinderKinder festival in Hamburg. As part of the musikprotokoll festival, our ensemble collaborated with the composers' collective die andere saite to perform new music in Graz, Austria and Ljubljana, Slovenia. For the first time, we produced a four-concert series in June at Porgy & Bess devoted to music by Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Cornelius Cardew, George Crumb, and many others. In November, Studio Dan performed in concerts at kunsthaus mürz, at the Jazzfest Leibnitz, and at the Tagen für Neue Musik in Zurich.
2015 the ensemble celebrates its 10th anniversary with lots and different programs: HOMO FABER (4 concerts at the 21er Haus), “Studio Dan plays …” (5 children’s concerts in Hamburg, Vienna and Kapfenberg), the opening concert of the JazzWerkstatt Vienna ZOOM! Festival, “Eine Art Chansons” (Friedrich Cerha) at the Porgy & Bess etc.
2014 was marked by the 80th birthday of Vinko Globokar. The ensemble focused on his collection of improvisation models “Individuum Collectivum”. Vinko Globokar was part of one of the four evenings as guest and improvisor on trombone. The evening was broadcast by the ORF.
2013 saw the premiere of “Musik für 11”, a spatial-sound composition developed for the Arnulf Rainer Museum. In December, the CD “In The Pelagic Zone” was presented together with Elliott Sharp.
2012 the third album “Decadence” and the net art project www.dekadenz-cd.at were released. In the same year, Studio Dan premiered “Fanfare III” for 16 musicians distributed throughout the performance space, featuring soloist Michel Doneda.
2011 the ensemble received a grant from the Ernst-von-Siemens Music Foundation for their collaboration with Elliott Sharp.
2010 a second album followed, featuring singer Nika Zach and entitled “Things”; the CD release tour included a performance at JazzFest Berlin.
2009 the ensemble released its debut (double) CD, “Creatures & Other Stuff”, which subsequently won the German Record Critics’ Award.
In 2008 Studio Dan was chosen as the “stage band” for a six-month residency in the Vienna jazz club Porgy & Bess and became an integral part of the Austrian music scene.