NEW YORK -- Germany comes alive for music lovers in the summer
months with a generous calendar of events and festivals, many of
them offering concerts in the open air or in venues like churches
and castles that are as appealing as the music itself.
Johann Sebastian Bach lived in different German cities, and a
number of them offer Bach festivals every year, but in 1999 the
city of Leipzig, where he spent 27 years, plans to launch its first
major Bach Festival and to repeat the event annually. The organizer
of the event, the Leipzig Bach Archives, hopes to establish a
reputation as the premier venue for performances of the composer's
The festival will include a
variety of performances, including orchestral concerts, oratorios,
chamber concerts and organ recitals, by performers including the
800-year-old St. Thomas Boys' Choir (which Bach himself directed
for many years), the Leipzig Opera and the Gewandhaus
Venues for the performances include St. Thomas Church, the
Leipzig Opera House, St. Nikolai Church, the Gewandhaus Concert
Hall and even the city's market square.
The 1999 Bach Festival takes place May 12 to 16. The dates for
2000 are July 21 to 30.
Leipzig Bach Archives
Phone: (011) 49-341 964-4167
Fax: (011) 49-341 964-4195
E-mail: [email protected]
Bach enthusiasts who miss the Leipzig festival still have other
options. For instance, June 26 to July 4 is Bach Week in the city
of Regensburg, in southeastern Germany, with a series of 12
concerts held in halls and churches.
Bach fans might also want to catch the 27th Berlin Bach Festival
July 3 to 11, the highlight of the capital city's International
Summer Festival of Old Music, or the International Bach Week in
Ansbach, just west of Nuremberg, July 28 to Aug. 8; or the July 30
and 31 Bach Festival in Aschaffenburg, east of Frankfurt.
Those travelers who favor other giants of classical music still
have plenty of choices in Germany. For devotees of Richard Wagner,
the center of the universe is Bayreuth and its 123-year-old Wagner
Bayreuth is about 50 miles northeast of Nuremberg. The dates of
the festival this year are July 27 through Aug. 28, when 30
performances of Wagner's works will be presented.
Phone: (011) 49-9217-8780
E-mail: [email protected].
Travelers whose tastes run more to Mozart might consider the
68th annual Mozart Festival, scheduled for May 21 through July 7 in
Wurzburg. A program including orchestral and chamber music will be
highlighted by evening performances in the illuminated gardens of
the city's Royal Palace.
There's also a Handel Festival June 3 to 8 in Halle, northwest
of Leipzig; a Schumann Festival June 8 to12 in Zwickau, south of
Leipzig, and a Richard Strauss Festival, including a singing
competition, in Coburg June 24 to July 3.
Besides composer-specific festivals, many German summer music
festivals focus on a particular musical theme or type. A few
examples:From June 17 through July 4, the state of Saxony and
neighboring Bohemia in the Czech Republic team up to sponsor the
Saxon-Bohemian Music Festival, with a series of 50 concerts spread
around southern Saxony and northern Bohemia from Dresden to
Teplice, held in churches, castles and concert halls.Bonn hosts an open-air rock, pop and jazz festival on June 26,
held in the city's Rheinauenpark.From late June through July, Munich offers up the Bell'Arte
Summer of Music, a series of open-air concerts in the courtyard of
the Royal Palace; and from July 1 through 31, the city is the venue
for the Munich Opera Festival, said to be the world's oldest opera
event of its kind, with performances by the Bavarian State
Opera.From July 9 through Aug. 29, performers from all over the world
gather in the northern German cities of Lubeck, Kiel and Hamburg
for the 14th Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.On July 7, Stuttgart plays host to its 13th Open-Air Jazz
Festival, offering performances in a large city park.From July 23 through Sept. 12, the town of Schwabisch Gmund,
east of Stuttgart, sponsors a Festival of European Church Music,
with performances of works from the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque
eras, appropriately held in churches in the region.During the month of August, the university town of Heidelberg
holds the annual Heidelberg Castle Festival, with opera and theater
performances in the courtyard of Heidelberg Castle, including a
local favorite operetta, "The Student Prince."
A more complete listing of summer music festivals can be found
on the Web site of the German National Tourist Office, www.germany-tourism.de.
German National Tourist Office
New York(212) 661-7200
Los Angeles at (310) 575-9799.