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The Ernst Krenek Institute preserves, researches, and renders Krenek’s comprehensive body of work accessible to for scientific study as well as for the broader public. At the heart of its activities is the working through his estate, offering consultations to artists and creating networks with scholars. The Ernst Krenek Institute as a point of contact for promoters, musicians, and Krenek researchers and administrates the lending of Krenek’s original pieces.

Krenek was not only a composer; he was also an extremely versatile artist. Krenek’s vast estate, the greater part of which was bequeathed to the Ernst Krenek Private Foundation by Krenek’s widow Gladys N. Krenek, is both an illustration and documentation of his comprehensive talent.

In 1997, a group of musicians and musicologists founded an organization that aimed to increase the awareness for the exceptional contribution of Ernst Krenek’s artistic work. On 12 January 1998 at a ceremony dedicated to Krenek, the Ernst Krenek Institute was presented to the public at the Musikverein in Vienna.

Since its inauguration, the Institute has been engaged in organizing workshops and symposia, in supporting publications of Krenek’s original works and research surrounding them, and creating exhibitions to promulgate Krenek’s cultural legacy.

In 2000, in honor of Ernst Krenek's 100th birthday, the Ernst Krenek Institute and the Vienna City and State Library put together a traveling exhibition with the title “Ernst Krenek’s 100th Birthday, Contemporary of the 20th Century.” It was shown in many places, including Vienna, Innsbruck, Dresden, London, Ontario, Los Angeles, and San Diego. In summer 2008, the exhibition is presented at the Bregenzer Festspiele (Bregenz Festival), which included a special focus on Krenek’s work.