Tradition and Modernity unite in the MUMUTH Graz

Official opening for regular performances using Lawo equipment.

The function of the “House for Music and Music Theatre” (MUMUTH) in Graz, Austria, to unite tradition and modernity, has been realised perfectly during the past weeks: in February - before its official opening - two categories of the 7th international contest “Franz Schubert and the Music of Modernity” took place, followed by the ceremonial opening with W. A. Mozart’s “Zauberflöte “ (The Magic Flute) on 1st March 2009. With a “Ceremony for Otto Kolleritsch” on the same evening, the Graz University of Arts (KUG) honoured their Rector emeritus, a long-time advocate for this very house of music and music theatre.

Schubert, Mozart and the Modernity united in a fantastically and openly designed building that, beside the spectacular architecture, has a lot more to offer, particularly with regard to the audio - with a Lawo digital mixing console as heart of the system.

"At last, with this architecturally outstanding house, we can provide our students with the space to further improve their artistic education. The function of a university of art is to continuously develop art. Thanks to MUMUTH our audience can now participate intensively in this exciting process” explained KUG president Georg Schulz. This impressive new building was designed by the Dutch architecture design group UNStudio Ben van Berkel and Bos ─ following an international competition that had 212 entries; the project has already been shown as the Austrian contribution to the Venice Biennale Arts Exhibition. After ten years of planning and another two years in construction, the building was handed over to the KUG.

An innovative “space of sound”
At the heart of the MUMUTH building is a large theatre that can be used as a rehearsal and workshop area, a concert hall or musical theatre stage. It is designed for classical musical theatre as well as modern music performances (including electronic music concerts) and features a public address system based on Ambisonics. This technique, realized in the MUMUTH with 29 individually controlled loudspeakers placed in the domed ceiling, is just one focus of research at the Institute for Electronic Music and Acoustics at the KUG; the system operation software has been developed in-house by the Graz scientists.

The audio mixing console installed at Graz is a Lawo mc²66 console. It is equipped with 32 faders and provides 144 DSP channels, plus a router with 9 MADI ports and 8,000 x 8,000 crosspoints. The decision to choose Lawo was based on ─ among other reasons ─ the openness of the mc² system to external control (Remote Monopl). Further benefits: the star-like networkability with a long-distance remote core and I/O, as well as the large and flexible matrix. The console facilitates also technical development - the system can be thus integrated in research. Partly this has been made possible by adapting the DSP configuration in close contact with Lawo.

Also the floating stage Bregenz with its sophisticated wave field synthesis trusts in Lawo equipment; now another Austrian theatre project of highest demands on audio technology from Lawo has been realized with the University of Art in Graz.