Window to the public

The Ernst Krenek Forum in Krems is the window to the public for the multi-layered and extensive estate of composer Ernst Krenek. In compliance with the antique forum, the Ernst Krenek Forum understands itself as an inter-disciplinary, multi-media and open platform. It serves as a centre of exhibits, concerts, creative work, research and encounter and offers various ways to discover Krenek’s work and personality sensually and sensible. His biography leads us along some distinctive societal and political pillars through the entire music history of the 20th century. It invites those interested, researchers and event organisers to learn about the spiritual and artistic cosmos of Ernst Krenek in various ways and take a curious look at the music of his time.

„I dreamt of a traveling train...“

The life journey of the composer Ernst Krenek or “The One-Man History of Twentieth-Century Music”

The exhibition displays the manifold life and work of the composer Ernst Krenek, who was born in 1900 in Vienna. It leads visitors through almost the entire exciting and turbulent 20th century in the context of culture, society and politics.

Theme panels, listening station and exhibits – among them a bust made by Anna Mahler, equipment from his tone studio in Palm Springs or a Schweighofer piano from his apartment in Vienna – all outline Krenek’s biography and highlight connections with people from his environment, his link to societal, political and music-historical occurrences.

The restored Minoritenkloster in Krems–Stein houses the exhibition. There, you can also visit the Forum Frohner (Kunstmeile Krems), the Klangraum Krems, and the 13th-century Minoritenkirche in Stein – one of the oldest mendicant churches north of the Alps.

Curator: Matthias Henke, Professor of Historical Musicology at the University of Siegen
Architecture: Markus Pillhofer
Graphics: Richard Ferkl
Media design: Fachhochschule St. Pölten supervised by Rose von Suess and Hannes Raffaseder

Curator Matthias Henke on the exhibition

Be swept off your feet by him: the great composer Ernst Krenek, whose works - when seen in all their vibrant abundance and fantastic multiplicity - are virtually breathtaking, like a hiker who climbs higher and higher as the view becomes ever more beautiful.

Be taken away by him: Ernst Krenek, no less prolific as a man of letters, who frequently composed the lyrics to his song cycles himself, wrote book reviews and travel essays; Ernst Krenek, the thinker, sought after as a brilliant conversation partner, by, among others, Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas Mann, Karl Kraus, Oskar Kokoschka, Anton Webern, and Igor Stravinsky; and finally, Ernst Krenek, the cosmopolitan who preferred to speak Czech as a child, learned French at an early age, felt at home in German and English, and was even proficient in Latin.

Travel with him: at the Ernst Krenek Forum. By traveling from station to station with this significant figure, through difficult and easier times, we are taken on a fascinating journey through the twentieth century, from his early years in Vienna, on to Berlin, Switzerland, and Kassel, all the way to his adopted home in Cali fornia. To put it differently: this journey takes us from the Habsburg imperial era, to the Weimar and First Republic, to Nazism and the corporative state, from World War II to the McCarthy era, through the era of the Vietnam War, the student revolts, and the fall of the Iron Curtain. What a crescendo! Krenek does not simply live through all of this as a passive bystander; instead, he plays an active role in shaping the history of music and registers the political events of his times with an adept and watchful eye.

Travel with him: now at the Krenek Forum. Here we can listen to the composer’s wondrous metamorphoses. Late-romantic melos, atonally skewed chords, jazzy, operetta-like, cleverly con structed, sublimely polyphonic, theatrical, lyrical, gigantic, minia ture, experi mental, edgy, round, futuristic electronic, insistently rhetorical, and playful—all of which can be found in Krenek’s work, although it does not come anywhere close to describing his work. Examples of his work can be heard on the loudspeakers that light up like acoustic falling stars and fade at once, and can only ever slightly hint at the ethereal frontiers of this creator of music, whom the brilliant pianist Glenn Gould once described as “the One-Man History of TwentiethCentury Music.”

Travel together: this is what he longed to do. As a boy, Ernst longed to travel to far-away places and meet people. He would have liked to have gone everywhere and met everyone. As a child, he played with his toy train in his parent’s apartment and loved to go to the nearby railroad yard of Franz Josephs Bahnhof. Little did he know that these fancies were already indicative of his work to come. A recurring theme in his works is the metaphor of traveling by train, be it in his worldwide smash-hit opera Jonny spielt auf / Jonny Strikes Up the Band!, in The Ballad of the Railroads, or in the series of Karl Kraus’ poems that he set to music in Durch die Nacht, completed in 1931, from which the line “I dreamt of a traveling train…” gives the exhibition its namesake: With this in mind, I would like to wish all of the visitors to the Ernst Krenek Forum “bon voyage”.

Opening hours

Tuesday – Sunday, 11.00 – 17.00

Guided tours are possible by making an advance registration via +43-(0)2732-71 570 or

Attention: In accordance with the decree of the Austrian Federal Government, the Ernst Krenek Forum Betriebsges.m.b.H., acloses its museum as a protective measure to contain the coronavirus from Thursday, March 12 through April 3, 2020. All events during this period, such as exhibition openings, guided tours and art education formats have been canceled or replacement dates will be communicated in good time.
We thank our visitors and business partners for their understanding.


  • Adults EUR 5.-
  • Reduced* EUR 4.-
  • Family ticket (2 adults, max. 4 children up to 18 years) EUR 10.-
  • Reduced family ticket** EUR 8.-
  • Single with child (1 adult, maximum 4 children up to 18 years) EUR 5.-
  • Free entry for children under the age of 6 years
  • Super Combi ticket Kunstmeile Krems EUR 18.-
    1 Ticket for Forum Frohner ‖ Ernst Krenek Forum ‖ Landesgalerie Niederösterreich ‖ Kunsthalle Krems ‖ Karikaturmuseum Krems ‖ museumkrems

* eductions: Apprentices, students (up to 26 years), senior citizens, handicapped persons, including a registered assistant person, Standard subscribers
On presentation of valid ID or concession card.

** On presentation of a familiy pass

Address and directions

Ernst Krenek Forum
Minoritenplatz 4
3500 Krems-Stein

By car

Route planner

Direct access to Minoritenplatz 4 is not possible. Please use the parking spaces along the Steiner Donaulände. These parking spaces are free of charge for 3 hours when a parking disk is used.
Stein short term parking zone

The paid Campus West parking garage is also available. Walking distance to Minoritenplatz: approx. 10 minutes

There is additional information on parking available on the website of the city of Krems: Parking management of the city of Krems

By train

Hourly trains run to Krems from Vienna or St. Pölten.
To the ÖBB (Austrian railway) timetable


You can order the taxi service under +43-(0)664-421 033 55.

By boat

Combine your visit to the Ernst Krenek Forum with a trip by boat on the Danube. The exhibition is located near the Krems-Stein boat embarkation point.
Detailed information:
DDSG Blue Danube
Brandner Schifffahrt

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