Home to an astounding number of legendary composers—from Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven to Brahms, Mahler, and Schoenberg—Vienna maintains an incredible richness of musical culture to this day. The world-renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Musikverein, and the Staatsoper are just a few of the many leading institutions that help make Vienna a true “city of music”—and make it the perfect location for an engaging study of Music History and Performance.
What You'll Study
The IES Abroad Vienna Music Program is ideal for students majoring or minoring in Music, and offers you the opportunity to participate in a wide selection of courses focusing on Music and European culture and society. The program is organized in conjunction with the Vienna European Society & Culture Program.
You select your courses from English- and German-taught options in the following areas:
Music Theory & Composition
Area Studies (including all courses offered through the European Society & Culture Program)
This program is unique because it offers a variety of features and conveniences for you as an IES Abroad Music student, including private lessons, new practice rooms, instrument storage, local instrument rental, and our Music Performance Workshop.
If you have advanced German language skills, you can also enroll in courses at the Universität Wien where you can experience the Austrian educational system first-hand.
Participate in our language partners program to practice your German and meet local students. You can also add international work experience to your résumé while earning credit by participating in an internship or field experience placement and accompanying academic seminar.
Vienna will be your classroom. Imagine visiting one of the city’s world-famous concert halls to attend the rehearsal of a major ensemble, or visiting the homes of important figures in musical history, such as Mozart and Beethoven. Wherever possible, our courses take advantage of the city’s historical, artistic, and cultural sites and include course-related excursions.
We want you to feel at home in Vienna, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible.
$5 Million in Financial Aid
We firmly believe that financial limitations should not prevent a qualified student from participating in an IES Abroad Program. This is why we commit $5 million to our financial aid programs.
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. We offer unique courses that explore Austrian History, Culture, Art, and many other topics through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors, as well as course options at prestigious local universities, enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day both in and out of class.
You take 15–19 credit hours per semester, and all courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise specified. Language courses are taught in German, and all other courses are taught in English, unless otherwise noted. Academic programming is scheduled five days a week.
If you have taken fewer than two years of college-level German or the equivalent, you enroll in English-taught IES Abroad courses. If you have advanced-level German language proficiency, you may enroll in a combination of German- and English taught courses or all German-taught IES Abroad courses. If your German is at an advanced level, and scheduling allows, you can enroll in partner university courses.
You create your academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional program components:
IES Abroad German course (required, 4 credits)
IES Abroad Music courses (at least one required, 3-4 credits)
German-taught courses at Universität Wien (3 credits)
IES Abroad Internship or Field Experience (includes internship/field experience seminar, 3 credits)
Music Performance Workshop A special feature of the program is the Music Performance Workshop, a course designed to offer instrumentalists and vocalists the opportunity to expand their repertoire and enhance their performance skills. Interested students submit a special application and audition on-site to be admitted to the workshop. As part of the Music Performance Workshop, you can enjoy the following features:
Student participation in weekly in-class performances of chamber music and solo repertoire
Emphasis on vocal/instrumental chamber ensembles, opera theater (including Viennese operetta), and German Lied
An ensemble instructor to help prepare your group in performing works of chamber music
An in-house pianist/accompanist/coach to help in preparing repertoire
Performing in Performance Workshop recitals in our Rococo concert hall
Guest lectures and masterclasses with internationally renowned performing artists
Auditions Music Performance Workshop auditions are usually held during the first or second week of your stay in Vienna. This is an opportunity for every performer to perform for everyone else; it gives the music department faculty a chance to assess your artistry and technical proficiency and lets all the musicians start to develop a sense of working together. That, after all, is the point of the Workshop: creating music with one another in a rich learning environment.
Additional Program Features
Private Lessons – Take partially-reimbursed music lessons for credit with instructors from some of the top orchestras and music schools in Vienna (see MS391 Individual Performance Studies syllabus).
Practice Rooms – Numerous practice rooms are available at the IES Abroad Center and at nearby facilities.
Concert and Recitals – As a Performance Studies student, you can perform a selection of works during a group concert and can also present your own recital during the course of the semester.
Concert Hall - IES Abroad Vienna boasts its own performance space - a beautiful Rococo concert hall with outstanding acoustics and a 50-person seating capacity. The space, which has two grand pianos and a harpsichord, serves as the venue for student concerts and recitals.
Field Study Excursions - You attend events such as rehearsals of leading ensembles in Vienna, visits to music-related historical sites like the homes of Mozart and Beethoven, and guided tours of famous music venues and museums in the city.
Instrument Storage – A limited number of lockers are available at the Center, allowing you to bring your own musical instrument to Vienna and avoid rental fees.
Instruments – A contrabass and an F tuba are available for rental directly from the Center; other instruments are available from local rental companies.
Guest Speakers - Professional musicians and other guests provide a series of modules on topics including the Alexander Technique, auditioning for Euopean houses or ensembles, sound and recording, early music, and personal performance experiences.
Note for Clarinet, Oboe, Horn, and Percussion instrumentalists The clarinet, oboe, and horn as taught and played in Vienna have a different construction and require a different technique than found in the U.S. However, IES Abroad maintains contact with instructors that teach and play in both traditions, so lessons are not a problem. You can view this as a unique opportunity to expand your knowledge of the instrument. Percussion studies in Vienna are particularly distinct from in the U.S. IES Abroad does not encourage timpani or percussion students to pursue their studies in Vienna unless they are particularly willing to overcome this complication. The same applies to most areas of jazz, computer, and popular music.
This is a list of planned course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.
In addition to your program’s specified coursework, you can take any of the area studies courses offered through our European Society & Culture Program. Please see this page for additional course offerings.
Enrolling approximately 90,000 students, the Universität Wien offers a wide variety of courses in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. The University boasts recognized academic strengths in Germanic Studies, Political Science, and Theology. Founded in 1365, the Universität Wien is one of the oldest universities in Europe.
Listed below is the broad range of disciplines available at the University. Advanced-level German language skills are required to enroll in courses.
For specific course offerings, visit the Universität Wien website, and click “Blättern” to browse options. Please note that course offerings vary from semester to semester.
Business & Economics
Earth Sciences, Geography & Astronomy
History & Culture Studies
Philology & Culture Studies
Philosophy & Pedagogy
Sports Science & Sports
Interning abroad as part of your study abroad experience will help distinguish your application for graduate school or a job opportunity in today’s competitive market. It’s an exhilarating challenge, and we’re here to help guide you in securing your placement and succeeding in your internship.
Participating in an internship abroad helps you:
Add international work experience to your résumé
Gain real work experience and skills
Build your confidence
All of our internships are supervised and earn IES Abroad credit. You participate in a seminar to complement the practical experience you gain during the internship. Proficiency in German language is not required for the Education Field Experience or Public Service internships, but is recommended for Music Research, Arts & Culture, and Business internships.
Past students have interned in the following fields. Don’t see your field listed here? Just talk to your IES Abroad Advisor—new internships are always being added.
Music ResearchInternships — Experience an inside view of the professional activities of a musicologist and deepen your knowledge of music history by assisting a faculty member with his/her research. Duties may include conducting research online and in Vienna's research facilities and archives, managing databases, and attending local talks and conferences. A limited number of placements are available. Music research internships may require competency in German.
Arts & Culture Internships — The arts and culture internship offers first-hand experience and involvement in Austrian cultural institutions (including museums and theaters), businesses, and service organizations engaged in the fields of arts, culture, and entertainment in Austria. Proficiency in German is recommended.
Business Internships — Apply foreign language skills while building an international résumé. Most business internships require the equivalent of four semesters of college German, but this is not a prerequisite for all internships.
Education Field Experience — Supervised teaching involves 30 hours of teaching English in selected Viennese secondary schools. Students attend lectures once a week on the structure and function of the Austrian school system and comparative teaching methods. Proficiency in German is not required.
Public Service Internships — Supervised public service internships involve 30 hours of work with environmental, social, medical, and charitable organizations. Proficiency in German is not required.
Field Trips & Events
Although your adventure begins in Vienna, our field trips take you to other great cities in Austria and beyond to provide contrast and context for what you are learning in Vienna. These trips are partially subsidized by IES Abroad. Past destinations are listed below.
World Heritage Tour (Hallstatt, Salzburg, Český Krumlov & Prague) 6 days | Fall & Spring Visit the village of Hallstatt and take a boat cruise on the beautiful Hallstättersee. Then, travel to Salzburg and visit a salt mine. Visit the beautiful city of Český Krumlov, the old town of which has been designated a World Heritage site along with the Castle District of Prague, which is the final destination of the trip.
Austrian Alps 3 days | Fall & Spring Enjoy the skiing and the breathtaking scenery!
Wachau 1 day | Fall & Spring Visit the famous Melk Abbey.
Styria Tour 2 days | Fall & Spring Tour this Austrian region known for its delicious wines and vineyards.
Note: IES Abroad field trip destinations, activities and lengths of stay may vary according to term and availability.
Musical Tour Through Austria and Germany 5 days | Fall & Spring Covering relevant course material and complemented by resident Music History experts, you will vist the homes and haunts and homes of some of the greatest composers of the 19th Century in this tour that starts in Upper Austria and Salkammergut (home to Bruckner, Mahler, and Brahms), then heads to Salzburg (where Mozart was from). From here, you go to Germany, where you’ll visit Wagner’s home in Bayreuth before going to Leipzig to explore the city of Bach, Mendelssohn, and Schumann.
*Starting Fall 2019
IES Abroad Vienna also organizes course-related trips that complement IES Abroad courses and help you build your general knowledge of Austrian culture and society. Past trips have included:
Classical music concerts and operas
Museums, gardens, and historic homes
Further, you attend events such as the rehearsals of leading ensembles in Vienna, visits to music-related historical sites like the homes of Mozart and Beethoven, and guided tours of famous music venues and museums in the city.
Part of making you feel at home in Vienna is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it’s the orientation program that prepares you for what’s ahead, your housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services. This is just one of the things we’re known for.
The program begins with an orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad staff, your fellow students, and the city of Vienna. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, and health and safety are covered.
Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.
During the first few weeks following orientation, you spend half of each day in intensive German language instruction. The rest of the time is spent in academic advising, lectures on contemporary Europe, Austria, and Vienna, and tours of Vienna and the surrounding area.
We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarksto see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Vienna, it will feel like home.
Apartments – You have the option to live in an apartment that houses between three and six students. Some apartments are set aside for students interested in taking a language pledge and speaking only in German while at home.
Housing with Local Residents – You have the opportunity to live with one or more IES Abroad students and an Austrian landlady/landlord or Resident Assistant.
Residence Halls – Allowing you to live among Austrian and international students, residence halls feature double rooms with a shared bath.
You have full access to kitchen facilities for preparing meals, which are not included in the program fee. All housing options include free Internet access.
Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events
Redefine the way you live and learn in Vienna through our cultural events, such as:
Theater and opera events
Extracurricular sporting activities through the Universitätssportinstitut (for a minimal fee)
Get to Know Your New City
Experience an Opera at the Wiener Staatsoper
Students have the incredible opportunity to see world-class opera performances for only a few euros.
Relax Along the Danube Canal
Enjoy the late afternoon sun while you take in the tranquility of this waterway.
Visit a Museum or Two on a Rainy Day
Whether you’re into classic or modern art, history, science, architecture, or nearly anything else, at least one of the 100+ museums of Vienna will interest you.
Ride the Praterturm at Prater Park
The “Prater Tower” is the highest swing ride in the world, providing both thrills and spectacular views of the city!
Sip Wine at an Authentic Heuriger
These Viennese wine taverns serve locally-produced wines and snacks to thirsty and hungry patrons who sit at long picnic tables.
Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.
Also known as the Palais Corbelli, the IES Abroad Vienna Center is an elegant 17th-century palace in the heart of the city and is just minutes from many of the museums, theaters, and other major cultural attractions that have bestowed international fame on Vienna.
Student lounge and small library
High-speed Internet and printer access
Practice rooms and instrument storage for music students
An international scholar, Dr. Solvik holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Music and Intellectual History from Cornell University. Born in Norway, he speaks Norwegian, German, and English fluently, and uses French as a research language.
Dr. Solvik was instrumental in setting up the IES Abroad Vienna Music Program, which he has coordinated since 1999, and has also designed and taught numerous courses in Music History. In addition to his work with IES Abroad Vienna, Dr. Solvik has served as lecturer at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst (The University for Music and Performing Arts). His teaching and administrative experience is augmented by his active and productive scholarly career as an expert on Gustav Mahler.
IES Abroad Staff
IES Abroad Vienna Staff Ginte Stankeviciute, M. Sc. Academic Program Manager
Elizabeth English Summer Internship Coordinator and Special Programs Assistant
Katherine Mawdsley Special Programs Manager
Helmut Summesberger Manager of Student Affairs
Meral Kölblinger Student Health & Safety Coordinator / Student Affairs