“In 1997, we were convinced that a festival can enrich the world and change it a bit. I must confess that I remain faithful to this belief even after 25 years. Change starts small, on site. So we have worked passionately all these years to get to the bottom of the burning questions of the world with the means of art on the banks of the Neckar. And that will continue to be the mission of Heidelberger Frühling in the future.”
Thorsten Schmidt, Artistic Director
The Heidelberger Frühling was founded in 1997 as a classical music festival and has since developed into a year-round cultural enterprise. It organizes various festivals, concert series, conferences, support programmes for young artists and competitions, which reach about 47,000 visitors a year.
Since 1997, the stars of the classical music scene and promising young artists have been guests in Heidelberg in the spring. The core of the festival is the meeting of people through music. The artists, the audience and the festival team are in lively exchange.
Each festival edition is unique. In addition to the programmes and artists, the framework of a performance comes into focus. Each year, new focus points are set, inviting a change of perspective and a reconsideration of the supposedly familiar.
In 2022, the Musikfestival celebrated its 25th anniversary. Since the beginning of the 2022/23 season, Igor Levit has joined Thorsten Schmidt as Co-Artistic Director of the Musikfestival. Together, they pursue the goal of further promoting the Musikfesitval as a platform for up-and-coming artists and for format development. They define it as a space for discourse and the exchange of ideas. Collaboration with other cultural partners, the incorporation of current communication possibilities in the digital realm, and ecologically sustainable programme development are at the heart of the collaboration.
In January, lovers of the special musical genre of the string quartet meet in Heidelberg. It is considered the first festival of its kind to focus entirely on string quartets. The four-day Heideberger Frühling Streichquartettfest offers a great density of concerts, lectures, workshops or readings to fully engage in the intensive study of this royal genre of chamber music. The personal exchange between the international quartets, selected artistic guests and the audience during, between and after the concerts makes up the unique character of this festival.
Every month, soloists and ensembles from the top ranks of the international chamber music scene give guest performances in the Aula of Alte Universität Heidelberg. The ornately paneled hall provides an extraordinary sound space for the diversity of chamber music instrumentation and repertoire. In the subscription series, the audience also has the opportunity to meet the artists in conversation: At the beginning of the second half of the concert, they talk about their career and their individual approach to the program of the evening. To the Concert Series
The Heidelberger Frühling Liedzentrum preserves and renews the cultural heritage of European art song, which is firmly anchored in Heidelberg. In concerts and festivals, the Liedakademie under the artistic direction of Thomas Hampson and in Thomas Quasthoff’s Liedwettbewerb “Das Lied” as well as in other artistic projects, the phenomenon “Lied” can unfold creatively and innovatively in all its manifestations. The interplay of these offerings makes the center a place where exemplary song productions can be conceived, tested and brought to the public. This worldwide unique place of song creativity especially promotes innovative projects and the young song talents of tomorrow.
In June, the Heidelberger Frühling Liedfestival promotes those who continue to think about the Lied in a creative way and repeatedly enter “new Lied territory.” The Liedfestival pursues the mission of presenting the genre in a wide variety of formats and providing a platform for experimental and unconventional concepts and forms of presentation.
The Liedfestival is a showcase for guest performances, but also for numerous own productions of the Liedzentrum. And the Liedakademie’s year-round sponsorship programme, under the artistic direction of Thomas Hampson, conducts its final work phase of the season during the Liedfestival – with public master classes in front of an audience and concerts by the current scholarship holders.
The programme of the second edition of the Heidelberger Frühling Liedfestival from 11 to 18. 6. 2023 will be published in February 2023.
The international competition “Das Lied” was launched in 2009 by Thomas Quasthoff and within a very short time has established itself as one of the most important singing competitions worldwide. The goal is to promote great song singers of the younger generation. It also offers the opportunity for audiences, organizers, festivals and agencies to discover the voices of tomorrow. In addition to prize money of 40,000 euros, the prize winners will be given concerts in internationally renowned concert halls. Previously based in Berlin, the competition has been organized by the Heidelberger Frühling Liedzentrum since 2017. After the cancellation of the 2021 competition due to the pandemic, promising singing talents from all over the world will once again come together in Heidelberg from 1 to 5. 3. 2023.
In its conferences, the Heidelberger Frühling sets important impulses for the future of the industry. Since 2013, festivals and concert halls have been discussing current topics and challenges facing the classical music industry at the Heidelberger Frühling Musikkonferenz (formerly Heidelberg Music Conference). In the fall of 2022, the first Heidelberger Frühling Liedkonferenz kicked off the exchange and networking of the international Lied scene.