Enroll in MUSC268, "Vienna, 1890 - 1914" Spring 2016 to learn about a city that was, at that time, a world epicenter of cultural, intellectual, and political change. The field study component for this course will take place at the end of the semester in Austria, May 24 - June15, 2016.

Program Description

This multidisciplinary course takes the crucible that was fin-de-siècle Vienna as its object of study, beginning with the city’s 1890-92 expansion to include the suburbs south of the Danube, to the beginning of World War I, which brought an end to the Hapsburg dynasty and Austria-Hungary. Our approach to studying Vienna will be prismatic: each week will consist of one seminar on its music (principally the music of Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg) and one guest lecture on one of the following aspects of the city at this time: urban planning, economics, political history, architecture, art, dance, psychology, medicine, science, and religion. The last three weeks on campus will be devoted to German language instruction and individual research projects. The on-campus component of the course will culminate in transforming Bird Studio into a Viennese coffee house, which will welcome the campus community and during which students must impersonate, through knowledgeable conversation, a contemporaneous Viennese figure central to their field of research.

This immersive on-campus study will crescendo to the downbeat of the course: three days after Commencement, you will board a flight for Vienna for three weeks of intensive study there, convening as a class each day, attending lectures, classes (including a cooking class!), and concerts, and visiting the historical, cultural, and musical sites we studied on campus. We will take three, three-hour guided walking tours, of architectural monuments, of historical (including music-historical) monuments, and of Viennese coffee houses. Arriving during the cultural festival Vienna Festival Weeks, we will attend as many of its offerings as time permits.

Given the rigorous nature of a faculty led programs, students are restricted from leaving the program location during the official program dates.  Travel delays, border complications, and safety issues, etc. may impact student participation in the course. Students are allowed to travel within the program country during free time.  Free time may be used for assignments, reflection and suggested activities at the program director’s discretion. 

Course Objectives

Students will develop an understanding of the musical and cultural significance of the music and lives of Mahler and Schoenberg.  They will develop a complex understanding of Vienna at this time, from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. Students will read the scholarship of each discipline in preparation for the corresponding seminar given by an expert in that discipline. By the end of the course students will be able to produce an argument-driven research paper on the aspect of turn-of-the-century Vienna that feeds into the student’s primary course of study at Oxy. Related to that research, students will develop deep knowledge of a particular contemporaneous Viennese figure and convincingly impersonate, via unscripted conversations, that figure in a public setting. Students will learn to read and speak German at the beginning level. Finally, they will be able to develop an understanding of the geography and culture of contemporary Vienna, with attention to the city’s relationship to its storied past and even greater attention to its musical past.

For the syllabus click here (coming soon)

Faculty Leader

Where David Kasunic’s research and scholarship is concerned, Vienna is his “second" city, after Paris. His principal interest there has been the music of Mahler. While at Oxy, Kasunic has taught a junior seminar on Mahler’s music, has presented papers on his music at international scholarly conferences, and has published an article on the reception of his early compositions. 


Program logistics (flights, etc.) will be discussed in the first week of class in spring semester 2016. Do not book tickets until after this meeting.

For a detailed itinerary click on the following link: Itinerary May 2016 (coming soon)


16 students, 1 faculty instructor (Prof. Kasunic). All students must be responsible, mature, self-motivated, and deeply curious about a range of disciplines. They must provide evidence of success of the following: having worked independently, having managed their time well, having sought out and risen to meet new challenges, and having remained positive and adaptable when encountering the unexpected of a new environment. They must be open to new experiences. Students from a range of disciplines who meet these criteria are encouraged to apply. A preference in selection will be given to students who have taken at least one semester of college-level German. While no previous knowledge of music is required, students who opt to take the course for major or minor credit will be required to engage in harmonic, tonal, and post-tonal analysis of the music of Gustav Mahler and the early music of Arnold Schoenberg. 

Information Session

Come to an info session to talk to the Professor & the IPO staff about the program:

Tuesday, Oct 6 2015 - 11:30 PM to 12:10 PM  JOHN 103, VARELAS INNOVATION LAB

Friday, Oct 9 2015 - 12:50 PM to 1:30 PM  JOHN 103, VARELAS INNOVATION LAB


Cost: $5021 (this is approximate and subject to change)

$2,481 charged to student account (all course-related travel within Austria, some meals, museum entrances, academic resources, etc.)

$2,540 additional out-of-pocket expenses ESTIMATES (international airfare $1,500, additional meals $920, $120 mandatory cell phone rental)

Financial Aid

The total additional cost ($5021) will be included in Financial Aid calculations for Spring semester 2016. A Financial Aid officer will to determine how your package may be adjusted depending upon your need. Please contact the Financial Aid Office with further questions.


  •  This link will take you to the applicationApplication Deadline: October 16, 2014.
  •  Students must apply and participate in an interview for this course, whose enrollment will be limited to sixteen students.
  •  Frosh may not apply for this course.
  •  Prof. Kasunic will contact you for an interview the day after the deadline.


Faculty contact-Prof. Kasunic, kasunic@oxy.edu

International Programs Office contact-Julie Sanots, jimenezj@oxy.edu


Contact International Programs
McKinnon Center for Global Affairs, Johnson 102