NO EXCUSES ANYMORE: Academy Second Modernism debuts in New York!




“It is the first production of these dimensions in which Congo and Europe join hands. And it is also the first opera to deal with the subject of modern-day mining“, wrote the major German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung after the „brilliant“ (Neue Musik Zeitung) world premiere of Justice last week.


An opera like never before”, judged German television ARD after the premiere at the Grand Théâtre de Genève of this “reinvention of opera” (Tribune de Genève). “Opera has never been so radically decolonized,” reported the influential Deutschlandfunk, Swiss television SRF dedicated a whole documentary to Rau’s newest project. Parallel to the opera, Milo Rau launched the Justice for Kabwe crowdfunding campaign together with various NGOs.


Now Rau and Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival) – Europe’s largest crossover festival for performance, music, opera, art and discourse – are coming to New York to present their new initiative to change the music world from scratch: the Academy Second Modernism.


Did you know that only 2% of the works included in concert subscriptions hail from women? To change this, the Wiener Festwochen and many partner institutions all over the world are now launching a brand new global platform for female composers and presenting it in New York on February 6 and 7.


Together with Pulitzer Prize Winners and Academy Members Du Yun and Tania León, representatives from New York art institutions such as the Metropolitan Opera and under the patronage of music icon Nuria Nono-Schoenberg, we call for action to address the devastating current state of representation when it comes to female composers on the contemporary classical stage, opera, concerts, musical spaces and festivals. 


The aim of the Academy Second Modernism is the commitment of theatres, operas, festivals and ensembles to significantly increase the proportion of works by women composers in their programmes. Join us in New York to discuss and create a global manifesto demanding immediate change and decolonization in a still deeply entrenched field resisting to change!


“When someone is actually meaning to take action, there is a way. No excuses anymore.”

Nuria Nono-Schoenberg




6 February 2024, 10:00
Austrian Cultural Forum


with Melina Tsiamos (Deputy Director ACF), Milo Rau (Artistic Director Wiener Festwochen), Jana Beckmann (Dramaturgy Wiener Festwochen), Du Yun (member Academy Second Modernism)
Register here.


7 February 2024, 18:30
Segal Center New York


with composers and Pulitzer Prize winners Tania León and Du Yun, Marcia Sells/Met Opera NYC, Kristin Marting/PROTOTYPE, Milo Rau and Jana Beckmann (Wiener Festwochen).
More info and live stream here.


7 February 2024
Segal Center New York


Join us for an afternoon with Milo Rau discussing his latest book Reclaiming the Future and the search for new forms of thinking, feeling, and collective action – plus an excerpt screening of Rau’s film work.
More info and live stream here.