Porgy & Bess
Not far from Stephansplatz, Porgy – as the Viennese call the jazz and music club – has played a key role on Vienna's jazz scene and for Vienna, the city of music since the early 1990s. But the jazz club's reputation extends far beyond the local scene. The place creates a sense of identity and presents fantastic live music every day.
More than jazz
The term jazz is very broadly defined: You can also hear electronic and world music at Porgy, not to mention soul, singer/songwriter tunes and much more. On the program: Musician, country, and city portraits, sessions and workshops.
One of Europe’s best jazz clubs
Porgy & Bess has received regular prizes and praises in its more than 30-year history. Jurors, critics, and journalists are just as enthusiastic about the place as the musicians who perform there and the audience.
- Porgy & Bess was awarded with the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming 2020 – together with the Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene in Oslo (Norway). – Recognition for both clubs of the seamless quality of their programs and for their commitment to up-and-coming artists.
- Music and travel journalist Adam McCulloch lists Porgy & Bess among the top ten European jazz clubs in his ranking in Britain's "Guardian" newspaper in February 2016. He describes Porgy as follows:
"This modern club – with the ambience of a state-of-the-art mini concert hall, and room for 350 – has been designed to present top players to maximum advantage. The crowd at Porgy is respectful and attentive and an evening here is a pleasurable and comfortable experience – depending on who’s playing. A wide variety of top-of-the-range jazz is booked, from dazzling, brash evergreen Cuban heroes Arturo Sandoval and Paquito D’Rivera to the dark experimental broodings of central European virtuosi."
- Aleksey Igudesmann – violinist, entertainer, and musical jack-of-all-trades – appreciates Porgy as a very special performance venue.
2,000 concerts in the Fledermaus
Porgy & Bess was an idea of the Swiss jazz all-rounder Mathias Rüegg, who launched a project – unique to Vienna at the time – in the former "Fledermaus-Bar" in 1993: To bring internationally renowned jazz bands to Vienna. Over the years, Porgy & Bess advanced to become a permanent fixture on the local and international jazz scene. Almost 2,000 concerts were held here in its first few years. Today, Cabaret Fledermaus, a clubbing and event location, is established at this first Porgy address.
From erotic cinema to jazz club
In 2001, the jazz club moved into new, attractive premises spread over three floors in a building on Riemergasse. Quite rightly, Porgy & Bess is also considered to be Europe's most beautiful jazz club. The interior architecture is exciting: A historic basement of an Art Nouveau building became an architectural highlight in the sense of minimalist design.
This place is connected with an at times nefarious history: The actress Helene Odilon allegedly (the land registers were lost in a fire) had the house built in 1910. Theater was performed here in the "Boccaccio" cabaret she founded.
Things got pretty hot here from 1953 to 1993, when it was home to the legendary Rondell erotic cinema, also Vienna's first smokers' cinema and of an entirely disreputable reputation. Until the music moved in....