Ars Antiqua Austria (= AAA) was founded in Linz in 1995 by Gunar Letzbor and Michael Oman with the aim of bringing to audiences the roots of specifically Austrian Baroque music played on instruments for the period. The music performed at the imperial court in Vienna at this period shows the strong influence of Italy and later of French forms while Spanish court ceremonials also shape the character of the works. The typical Austrian sound of the period also shows the influence of the many Crownlands. The political and social boundaries of Austria in the baroque era were far wider than in the 20th century. Elements of Slav and Hungarian folk music mingle with alpine sounds and can be heard in the art music of the period. The Austrian sound also reflects the temperament and character of Austria of those days, a melting pot of the different cultures - the joie de vivre of the South, the Slav melancholy, French formality, Spanish pomp and the alpine character of the German-speaking regions. This fusion of court music and folk music with a strong element of dance form the typical Austrian sound. The core of Ars Antiqua Austria consists of 8 musicians, directed by Gunar Letzbor. The ensemble is augmented as required.
In the early years the many concerts concentrated on a musicological recreation of the works of Austrian composers of the Baroque era. Many treasures were unearthed in archives and other locations. Many works were given their first performance in modern times. Enthusiastic reviews welcomed CD’s of music by Roamanus Weichlein, H.I.F.Biber, Josef Pavel Vejvanovsky, Heinrich Schmelzer, Georg Muffat and of course J.S. Bach.
As well as concerts in Austria there have been recent tours to France, Germany, Slovakia and the Ukraine. Starting in 2000 Ars Antiqua Austria is starting a cycle of concerts in the Austrian Radio (ORF - RadioKulturhaus) on the theme of Austrian Baroque music. In 2001 Ars Antiqua Austria will play an opera production at the "Würzburg Mozartfest" and perform in various european festivals for Baroque music (among others in Herne) and last but not least give its debut in New York, followed by a series of concerts throughout the USA.