Festival for the soul 2024

Look forward to some enlightening evenings with inspiring talks and musical performances by well-known artists and spiritual masters.

Artistic director: Prof. Dr. Arnold Mettnitzer 

The programme

“The end lies in the beginning“

Friday, 1st March 2024
8:30 pm

“Time is what comes after the end,” Sergiu Celibidache says about Anton Bruckner’s music. The world-famous conductor refers to the dimension of timelessness in his music, in which the beginning and the end coincide. Norbert Trawöger, artistic director of the first Upper Austrian KulturEXPO titled “Anton Bruckner 2024“, knows how to talk passionately about this, as Bruckner’s music has fascinated him from a very early age. And the trained flute player understands just as much about taking a breath before the first note. Art is able to suspend time, to make it disappear.

Norbert Trawöger will talk about this and more with Arnold Mettnitzer, introducing and listening to Bruckner’s sound spaces together. And the passionate musician will have his flute close at hand.

With his inspiring breath of air, Norbert Trawöger creates space for unheard-of possibilities mesmerizing people with their sounds. The flute player is not only Artistic Director of the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, but also Artistic Director of the first Upper Austrian KulturEXPO titled “Anton Bruckner 2024“ and was Artistic Director of the Linz Kepler Salon until 2023. He comes from a family in Gmunden where Franz Schubert had already stayed as a guest in 1825 and felt “free and easy, as if at home“ (quote from Schubert’s letter to his parents). In 2010, his biography of Balduin Sulzer was published. Most recently, his book “Spiel“ (Play) was published by the Viennese publisher Kremayr & Scheriau, in the essay series “übermorgen“ (the day after tomorrow). The “cultural whirlwind“ (OÖN) and “sought-after instigator of creative thinking and action“ (A-list) lives “brilliantly weird“ (OÖN) with his children, in constantly changing artistic aggregate states, frequently speaking out restlessly about society, art, and culture, and playing the flute.

How does relationship “work“?

Saturday, 2nd March 2024
8:30 pm

Hardly anyone knows. This is the surprising experience the philosopher and psychotherapist Michael Lehofer regularly has in his practice. Since love and partnership are so complex, there can be no universal rules. However, there are certainly findings that contribute to the happiest possible love relationship. In 40 theses, Michael Lehofer gets to the heart of this knowledge with a loving, mature and humorous view.

Archabbot Korbinian Birnbacher
With the eyes of the soul

Friday, 8th March 2024
8:30 pm

Under this motto, Archabbot Dr. Korbinian Birnbacher OSB of St. Peter in Salzburg will lead you through this day. In doing so, he draws on the deep well of Benedictine spirituality and personal experience as abbot of the oldest continuously inhabited monastery in the German-speaking world. The down-to-earth Benedictine art of living has proven time and again to be a reliable remedy for decline and decay in difficult times. An invigorating encounter with the wisdom of thousand-year-old monastic culture!

Curriculum vitae of Archabbot Dr. Korbinian Birnbacher OSB

  • 1967 Born in Bad Reichenhall/Obb as Georg Birnbacher.
  • 1987 Admission to the Archabbey of St. Peter in Salzburg
  • 1994 Ordained priest in Salzburg
  • 1999 – 2003 University chaplain
  • 2003 -2013 Curator of the art collections
  • 2004 -2009 Cooperator in Abtenau
  • 2009 -2013 Prior of St. Peter’s Abbey
  • 2014 President of the Benedictine Academy
  • 2019 Chairman of the Austrian Conference of Religious Orders

Furthermore, he has held numerous honorary positions in church and non-church committees and associations, including Member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Salzburg Festival, member of various academies and religious orders of knighthood as well as member of the Rotary Club.

Arnold Mettnitzer & Univ. Prof. DDr. Johannes Huber

Saturday, 9th March 2024
3:00 pm
at the Festival Café

Arnold Mettnitzer and Univ. Prof. DDr. Johannes Huber discussing the topic IS IT INTELLECTUALLY HONEST TO BELIEVE IN GOD?

Arnold Mettnitzer & Waltraud Klasnic
“Can a soul be grateful?“

Saturday, 9th March 2024
8:30 pm

Arnold Mettnitzer and Waltraud Klasnic discussing the topic: “Can a soul be grateful?“

Waltraud Klasnic, Governor of Styria from 1996 to 2005 and thus the first woman to hold the office at the head of a federal state. After leaving federal politics, she volunteered, among other things, as chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria (until 2011) and as president of the umbrella association Hospice Austria (until 2021). In May 2010, Klasnic was appointed Victims‘ Commissioner of the Austrian Catholic Church. In this function, she heads a commission whose task is to ensure the independence of the investigation of the current cases of abuse of children by members of the Catholic Church in Austria. Hans Rauscher, one of Austria’s top journalists, already dedicated a book to her in 2000: Waltraud Klasnic – A Woman of New Style at the Top of Styria (Molden Verlag  ISBN 3-85485-043-3)

Brigitte Karner & Edgar Unterkirchner

Friday, 15th March 2024
8:30 pm

Brigitte Karner (narrator) with Edgar Unterkirchner (saxophone, sounds, loops) “The Man Who Planted Trees” – A wonderful, very touching text, which could not be more topical…

Both Carinthian artists are known for their captivating performances that touch everyone’s heart. The beautiful short story by Jean Giono, in which a man succeeds in healing his immediate environment by virtue of his personal conviction alone, spreads the hope that things can turn out for the better.

Brigitte Karner was named ORF radio play “Actress of the Year” at the ORF Radiokulturhaus on February 24, 2023.

Edgar Unterkirchner is considered one of the most sensitive and stylistically confident saxophonists and is also a sought-after composer and arranger. (E.g. for the soundtrack to Manfred Bockelmann‘s portrait series “Drawing against Oblivion.”)

Stefanie Jaksch
The Bright

Saturday, 16th March 2024
4:00 pm
at the Festival Café

Towards the bright, towards the light

“He’s a bright little chap“, we often say, and by that we mean: really clever. However, when I just hear “bright“, I think of light breaking through, unstoppable.

The bright touches me, the bright that nourishes us, that makes us understand things, that carries us, that keeps us in suspense, that makes us hopeful, makes us think and makes us allies. Nothing seems easer these days than to be discouraged by dark premonitions and depressing news, but of course, dark thoughts still weigh heavier than optimistic ones.

It would be naive to think that we get the bright without the dark; after all, it is always darkest before dawn. I don’t want to give the dark too much consideration. I don’t believe in the dark side of the morning, but I believe in the first ray of sunshine; I believe in the unconditionality of human connectedness; I refuse to despair in the face of great personal and social changes, and in the face of much-invoked turning points with a lot of sabre-rattling.

And I look not only towards the light, towards the bright, but also towards clarity. We can only see what is hidden at the bottom of deep water when the water is clear, i.e. when it is bright. I am asking for a view down to the bottom and for the transformation of muddy lakes into clear waters. This is where the bright develops its irrepressible power – so I invite you to an evening full of radiant, invigorating optimism.

Stefanie Jaksch, born in Erlangen, Franconia, has been living and reading in Vienna since 2011, most recently as publishing director for Kremayr & Scheriau. Since June 2023, she has been working as a freelance writer, curator, and editor.

Arnold Mettnitzer & Julia Malischnig
„Moments of Silence“

Saturday, 16th March 2024
8:30 pm in St. Kathrein Church

Julia Malischnig (guitar) and Arnold Mettnitzer (recitation) invite you to join them on their musical literary journey at St. Kathrein Church.

Julia Malischnig‘s compositions tell a story of the magic of the moment, of emotional experiences, encounters, and dreams. Soulful depth and sensual power characterize the musical language of the guitarist, singer and composer, whose versatility repeatedly takes her beyond stylistic boundaries.

Arnold Mettnitzer & Helmut Schüller

Friday, 22nd March 2024
8:30 pm

Arnold Mettnitzer in conversation with Helmut Schüller on the topic of GROWING OLD WHILE STAYING YOUNG – CHARM AND CHANCES OF OLDER AGE.

Mag. Helmut Schüller, born in Vienna in 1952, pastor in Probstdorf since 1997, university chaplain at the WU and BOKU Vienna since 1999. Spokesperson of the Pastors’ Initiative. On 1 December 1988, he took over the office of Director of Caritas of the Archdiocese of Vienna from Leopold Unger, and in 1991 that of President of Caritas Austria. In December 1993, he was a target of Franz Fuchs‘ first series of letter bombs (discovered in time). After the appointment of Cardinal Schönborn to the office of Archbishop of Vienna, the latter appointed Schüller Vicar General in 1995, but dismissed him in 1999 due to “profound disagreements”.

Christine Lasta & Martin Kusej
reading from the correspondence between Christine Lavant and Werner Berg
In memory of the actress Heidelinde Weis

Sunday, 24th March 2024
8:30 pm

Christine Lasta & Martin Kusej

will read from the correspondence between Christine Lavant and Werner Berg, “Let me know when I may write to you, – and also let me know the most merciless thing when it comes to that.“ This request, addressed to Christine Lavant by Werner Berg in a letter from 1951, illustrates the conflicts that determined their (love) relationship from the very beginning: the relentless honesty made their connection an existential matter, which, at the same time, was endangered due to their respective family situations. The resulting insoluble problems make reading the correspondence an exciting experience which offers deep and surprising insights into the lives and thoughts of the two prominent artists. This way, not only the joint reflection of a writer and a painter on artistic issues is documented, but also the urgent confession of personal needs.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Christine Lavants‘ death, parts of this unique correspondence were published for the first time; and in addition to the Vienna Burgtheater, the Festival for the Soul gives this literary event the attention it deserves. With Christine Lasta and Martin Kusej, Director of the Vienna Burgtheater, two prominent figures lend their voices to the two writers making the linguistic and poetic qualities of their letters tangible.

Your benefit: The evening events are included in the overnight rate!

For day guests:
Ticket for the event € 25.-
Indulging meal incl. ticket € 83.-

We look forward to welcoming you to inspiring evenings at Das Ronacher!

Subject to change