Season's focus Johannes Brahms

The 2024 Heidelberger Frühling season is dedicated to one of the most important composer personalities: Johannes Brahms.

The Heidelberger Frühling Streichquartettfest will kick things of from 18 to 21 January. The four-day short festival specializing in the musical royal genre of the string quartet thus marks the beginning of the "Brahms Year." Under the motto "Brahms at the Center" five excellent international quartets will immerse themselves in the world of Brahms' string quartets. Works by Robert Schumann and Joseph Haydn broaden the view of Brahms' string quartets and trace developmental steps of the genre as well as mutual influences of the composers.

The 2024 Heidelberger Frühling Musikfestival takes place from 15 March to 13 April under the motto „Brahms!“. This is the second year with Igor Levit as Co-Artistic Director alongside Intendant Thorsten Schmidt. Over the course of four weeks, the complete chamber music works as well as Brahms' solo piano works will be performed. The show of works will be complemented by organ and choral works, songs and, in the festival finale, the violin concerto. A total of 76 works and groups of works by Johannes Brahms are on the programme. The composer focus also recalls the roots of the Heidelberger Frühling, which started its first edition in 1997 as a "Brahmsfest".

The 28th edition of Heidelberger Frühling Musikfestival will feature great artists such as Renaud Capuçon, Tabea Zimmermann, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Iveta Apkalna, Paavo Järvi, Anna Lucia Richter, Sharon Kam, Thomas Hampson and Christian Gerhaher as well as internationally renowned ensembles and orchestras such as the Quatuor Modigliani, Pavel Haas Quartet, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Finnish Baroque Orchestra, Camerata RCO or Orchester des 18. Jahrhunderts.

For the first time, Ouvertüre will take place at the Hotel Der Europäische Hof Heidelberg from 16 to 18 February, inviting visitors to the festival kick-off one month before the Musikfestival begins. The programme includes four events around Johannes Brahms with Veronika Eberle, Adrien La Marca, Quirine Viersen, Mert Yalniz and Dongping Wang as well as musicologist Prof. Christiane Wiesenfeldt.

Key chamber music works by Johannes Brahms will be performed from 22 to 28 March 2024 by Co-Artistic Director and pianist Igor Levit together with the Fellows of the Heidelberger Frühling and other young artists. The encounter with the Fellows – a group of excellent young musicians from Europe and the USA who have won awards at major competitions – is in the tradition of the Heidelberger Frühling Akademie, in which Igor Levit has played a central role over the years. In public rehearsals, the audience can be part of the working process.

In 2024, the Musikfestival will once again be a platform, action area and shelter for up-and-coming artists. The Festivalcampus-Ensemble, formed for the first time in 2023, will be given even more curatorial responsibility in the 2024 festival edition. As part of the Brahms.LAB the young musicians reflect on the relevance and potential impact of classical music in urban society and design their own concerts based on this. Dezernat 16 will become the festival's creative venue, where the Festivalcampus-Ensemble can be seen at work and will present itself with several concert formats. In addition, its path will once again lead to the districts of Heidelberg for re:start concerts with free admission.

It is not only young artists who will find scope and funding opportunities at the 2024 Musikfestival. In the Junior.LAB presented by the main partner MLP, outstanding students of business administration at the University of Mannheim will take part alongside the musicians of the Festivalcampus-Ensemble. What they all have in common is excellence in their respective fields and a willingness to actively shape society and togetherness. In the Junior.LAB, participants engage in a creative exchange: How can the social challenges of tomorrow be mastered? What can the two spheres of art and business, which have more in common than they seem at first glance, learn from each other? The results of the discourse will be presented in the 2024 Musikfestival.

As in previous years, the festival will be framed by a wide range of educational activities for different age groups. There will be participatory concerts for children, concerts for schools, including one with pianist Igor Levit, and a free Music Day for young and old at the Karlstorbahnhof. Beginning in October 2023, the "Freisam" concert project will work with the Classic Scouts and other teens and young adults to create a performance that will be featured in the 2024 Musikfestival.

In the Brahms-Loungeat the Festivalzentrum, exciting lectures and discussions will take place that will broaden our view of Brahms – discussion is expressly encouraged! Artist talks and the concert introductions "Notenschlüssel", made possible by the Heidelberger Frühling Freundeskreis e.V., provide deeper insights into the concert programmes and enter into dialogue with the performing artists or composers. In cooperation with the DAI Heidelberg, three Musical Sundays will also take place as concert introductions to works by Johannes Brahms.