About isa

Decades of consistent development have seen what started in 1991 as a masterclass for string players attended by 13 students grow into a project that is unparalleled worldwide.In addition to the long-standing courses for solo instruments, chamber music, piano, voice, composition, and contemporary music, the last few years have also included a music outreach component (isaOutreach) as well as the research conference isaScience.

About the mdw

The mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna numbers among the world’s largest and most renowned universities specialised in music, theatre, and film.Over 3,000 students from more than 70 countries are currently being trained in 115 degree programmes encompassing music and other performing arts, science and research, and education.The mdw’s altogether 24 departments include the Max Reinhardt Seminar and Film Academy Vienna.More on the mdw at: www.mdw.ac.at

Artistic Director: Johannes Meissl

Beginning with the 15th edition of isa (2005), Univ.-Prof. Dr h.c. Johannes Meissl worked consistently to develop the International Summer Academy into an event that draws its identity from its mix of courses, topically diverse workshops, the associated festival, academic reflection, innovative interdisciplinary artistic projects, and the building of networks based on new friendships. World-class quality and participants from 45 countries around the globe combined with the overall “isa-experience” have by now made the mdw’s International Summer Academy into an event that is unique the world over.

isaScience Conference

isaScience is mdw’s international conference for interdisciplinary research on music and performing arts. We invite scholars, artists, and activists from various disciplinary and academic levels to join the discourse on isa’s annual thematic focus. Since 2013 isaScience is part of isa, the international summer academy of mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria. Organisers of isaScience:
Dagmar Abfalter, Marko Kölbl, Rosa Reitsamer, Fritz Trümpi. From 2013 to 2017 Ursula Hemetek and Cornelia Szabó-Knotik organised the conference programme.


isaOutreach organised by Dietmar Flosdorf invites the local and regional populace to get acquainted with isa musicians in person by working together with them musically. To this end, specially designed workshop offerings provide opportunities for anyone who’s interested – regardless of their age – to become an active part of our collaboration and help shape artistic ideas and music through mutual dialogue. We also make it a point to involve pre-existing activities and resources of local cultural organisations such as brass bands, dance groups, and music schools as an expression of esteem and possibilities for further development.


isa – the International Summer Academy of the mdw was established in 1991 as an initiative of the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts under the leadership of Univ.-Prof. DDr. h. c. Michael Frischenschlager. It was born amidst the euphoria generated by the fall of the Iron Curtain and had as its goal the facilitation of musical encounters and international networking for particularly gifted young students, in particular for those from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

em. o. Univ.-Prof. DDr. h.c. Michael Frischenschlager
Since 2005
Univ.-Prof. Dr. h.c. Johannes Meissl


Prominent isa instructors have included and continue to include leading educators from the programme’s partner institutions as well as from the mdw, many of whom have worked and continue to work worldwide as performing artists in famous ensembles and orchestras including the Alban Berg Quartet, Amadeus Quartet, Bartók Quartet, Janácek Quartet, Czech Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, etc.

Since 1991 Master classes for solo strings (without double bass)
Since 1993 Master classes for string quartet
Since 1994 Master classes for solo winds and wind chamber music
Since 1995 Master classes in composition
Since 1998 Master classes for singers
Since 1999 Master classes for piano & chamber music with piano
2003 – 2010 Master classes in conducting
From 2005 More and more supplementary workshops and lectures
Since 2006 Master classes for double bass
A new overall theme every year for isa and associated interdisciplinary projects (Max Reinhardt Seminar, Music Education, Stage Design, Filmakademie Wien, etc.)

2010 to 2012 Conduct of the singers’ courses in cooperation with jOPERA Jennersdorf
Since 2013 Transformation of the accompanying concert series into the isaFestival, including the specialised series UNERHÖRT – International Award Winners and Open Chamber Music.
Conduct of the singers’ courses as isaOperaVienna in cooperation with the mdw’s Department of Voice and Music Theatre.

isaScience – A forum for the scientific and scholarly community
Since 2019 isaOperetta

In the past, isa participants have successfully taken part in important international competitions such as the ARD Competition (Munich), the Fritz Kreisler Competition (Vienna), the Menuhin Competition (Folkstone), the Osaka Chamber Music Competition, the Paganini Competition (Genoa), the Prague Spring Competition, etc. Many former students of isa now have careers on the world’s concert stages or work in opera houses and great orchestras including the Budapest State Opera, the Sofia State Opera, the Czech National Theatre, the Vienna State Opera, the Zagreb State Opera, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, and the Czech Philharmonic.

From the very beginning, it was also possible to secure the participation of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) and the Franz Liszt Music University in Budapest as the programme’s main cooperating partners. And every year since then, isa has been held in cooperation with further leading music universities from the CEE region – including those of Bratislava, Brno, Zagreb, Sofia, Bucharest, Ljubljana, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Sarajevo, Vilnius and Krakow – as well as with the involvement of world-renowned institutions of musical training in London, Paris, New York, Tokyo and other major cities.

Thank you very much!

Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna
Academy of Performing Arts: Music and Dance Faculty, Prague (HAMU)
Artis Quartet, Vienna
Association of Friends of the Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna
Association Silbersberg, Gloggnitz
Auto Flott, Vienna
Beethovenhaus, Baden
Bezirksblätter Niederösterreich
BLT Tourismusschulen, Semmering
Brahms-Museum, Mürzzuschlag
Burg Feistritz
Burg Wartenstein
City of Baden / Department of Culture
City of Gloggnitz
City of Mürzzuschlag
City of Neunkirchen / Department of Culture
City of Wr. Neustadt
Congress Casino Baden
Czech Association for the Arts and Science (AHUV), Prague
Der Knappenhof, Reichenau / Rax
die klaviermachermeister, Vienna
Elementary School Payerbach
Elementary School Reichenau / Rax
EUROSPAR Josef Uher GmbH, Reichenau / Rax
Ferien-Nachmittagsbetreuung Reichenau / Rax
Folk dance group of Payerbach-Reichenau
Foundation Cziffra Austria, Vienna
Foundation Gottfried von Einem, Vienna
Foundation Viktor Kalabis and Zuzana Růžičková, Prague
Foundation Bohuslav Martinů, Prague
Foundation Život Umĕlce, Prague
Gasthof Diewald, Raach am Hochgebirge
Gasthof Flackl, Reichenau / Rax
Gasthof Kobald, Reichenau / Rax
Hans Lanner Regionalmusikschulverband, Reichenau / Rax
Hotel Marienhof, Reichenau / Rax
Hotel Payerbacherhof
Hotel Restaurant Winkler, Mürzzuschlag
Hotel Zauberblick, Semmering
Hunger auf Kunst und Kultur
Johannes Brahms Musikschule, Mürzzuschlag
Joseph Haydn Department of Chamber Music, Early Music and Contemporary Music, mdw
Konica Minolta, Vienna
Kulturvernetzung Niederösterreich – Industrieviertel
Kultur Sommer Semmering
kunsthaus muerz
L. Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH, Vienna / Wiener Neustadt
Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Budapest
Literatursalon Wartholz, Reichenau / Rax
Municipality of Payerbach
Municipality of Prigglitz
Municipality of Reichenau / Rax
Municipality of Semmering
MuseumsQuartier Vienna
Neue NÖ Mittelschule Payerbach
Neue NÖ Mittelschule Reichenau / Rax
Niederoesterreich Fonds
Ö1 Club, Vienna
Opel Slanar, Reichenau / Rax
OeAD Austrian Academic Exchange Service, Vienna
ORF Landesstudio Niederösterreich, St. Pölten
ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst
Panhans Hotelmanagement GmbH
Passionistenkloster Maria Schutz
Parish of Payerbach
Parish of Prigglitz
Parish of Raach am Hochgebirge
Parish of Reichenau / Rax
Protestant Parish of Neunkirchen
Raiffeisen-Landeswerbung NOe-Wien
Raxalpen Touristik – Tourismus Incoming Büro, Reichenau / Rax
rennergraphicdesign, Martin Renner, Vienna
Riegelhof Prein an der Rax
S IMMO AG, Vienna
Sarolta Kodály, Budapest
Schloss Rothschild: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung, Vienna
Seefestspiele Mörbisch
Seminar-Park-Hotel Hirschwang
Seminarzentrum Raach
Senioren AktiVital Reichenau
State of Niederoesterreich
Summer Schools in Europe
Thalhof Reichenau
Thomastik-Infeld GmbH, Vienna
Tokushima Bunri University, Japan
TRAG-Teppichreinigung Stepanek GmbH, Guntramsdorf
Vereinigte Altösterreichische Militärstiftung
Wiener Alpen
World Heritage Region Semmering-Rax
Yamaha Music Europe GmbH – Branch Austria, Vienna



Belgrade – University of Arts in Belgrade / Faculty of Music
Bratislava – Academy of Performing Arts
Brno – Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts
Budapest – Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music
Bucharest – National University of Music
Cluj-Napoca – Gheorghe Dima Music Academy
Iași – George Enescu University of Arts of Iași
Krakow – Academy of Music
Ljubljana – Academy of Music of the University of Ljubljana
Moscow – Moscow State Conservatory P.I.Tchaikovsky
Novi Sad – University of Novi Sad / Academy of Arts
Prague – Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague
Riga – Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music
Sarajevo – University of Sarajevo / Sarajevo Music Academy
Sofia – National Academy of Music „Prof. Pancho Vladigerov“
St. Petersburg – Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory
Tallinn – Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre
Vilnius – Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LMTA)
Warsaw – Fryderyk Chopin University of Music
Zagreb – University of Zagreb / Academy of Music