Season's focus Johannes Brahms

The Heidelberger Frühling Festival season 2024 was dedicated to one of the most important composers: Johannes Brahms.

The Heidelberger Frühling Streichquartettfest kicked things off from January 18 to 21. The four-day short festival, which specializes in the musical royal genre of the string quartet, thus marked the beginning of the "Brahms Year". Under the motto "Brahms at the Center", five excellent international quartets immersed themselves in the world of Brahms' string quartets. Works by Robert Schumann and Joseph Haydn broadened the view of Brahms' string quartets and traced the development of the genre as well as the composers' mutual influences.

The Heidelberger Frühling Musikfestival took place under the motto "Brahms!" from March 15 to April 13, 2024. It was the second year with Igor Levit as co-artistic director alongside artistic director Thorsten Schmidt. Over the course of four weeks, the complete chamber music works as well as Brahms' solo piano works were performed. The exhibition was 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 were on the programme. The focus on composers was also a reminder of the roots of the Heidelberger Frühling, which started its first edition in 1997 as the "Brahmsfest".

Guests at the 28. Guests at the 28th edition of the Heidelberger Frühling Musikfestival included great artistic personalities 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 and the Orchestra of the 18th Century.

For the first time, the Overture took place at the Hotel Der Europäische Hof Heidelberg from February 16th to 18th, kicking off the festival one month before the Musikfestival began. The programme included four events focusing on 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 were performed from March 22 to 28, 2024 by co-artistic director and pianist Igor Levit together with the Heidelberger Frühling Fellows and fellow artists. The encounter with the Fellows - a group of excellent young musicians from Europe and the USA who have won awards at major competitions - was in the tradition of the Heidelberger Frühling Academies, in which Igor Levit played a central role for many years. In public rehearsals, the audience was able to take part in the working process.

In 2024, the Musikfestival was once again a platform, action area and shelter for up-and-coming artists. The 2023 for the first time formed Festivalcampus-Ensemble was given even more curatorial responsibility in the 2024 edition of the festival. As part of the Brahms.LAB the young musicians reflected on the relevance and potential impact of classical music in urban society and used this as a basis for devising their own concerts. Dezernat 16 became the festival's creative venue, where the Festivalcampus-Ensemble could be observed at work and presented itself with several concert formats. In addition, his path once again led him to the districts of Heidelberg for re:start concerts with free admission.

It was not only up-and-coming artists who found freedom and funding opportunities at the Musikfestival 2024. In the Junior.LAB presented by main partner MLP Junior.LAB presented by main partner MLP, outstanding students of business administration at the University of Mannheim took 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, the participants engaged in a creative exchange: How can the social challenges of tomorrow be overcome? 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 Musikfestival celebrated five world premieres by composers Elisabeth Fußeder (*2000) Alexey Retinsky (*1986), Vladimir Kobekin (*1947), PatKop (*1977), Olli Mustonen (*1967) and Goran Stevanovich (*1986).

As in previous years, the festival was framed by an extensive education programme for different age groups. There were hands-on concerts for children, concerts for schools, including with pianist Igor Levit, and a free music day for everyone at the Karlstorbahnhof. The concert project "Freisam" has been working with the Classic Scouts and other teenagers and young adults since October 2023 to create a performance that was performed at the Musikfestival 2024.

In the Brahms-Lounge in the Festivalzentrum exciting keynote speeches and discussions took place that broadened our view of Brahms. Artist talks and the concert introductions "Notenschlüssel", made possible by the Heidelberger Frühling Freundeskreis e.V., provided deeper insights into the concert programs and entered into dialogue with the performing artists or composers. In cooperation with the DAI Heidelberg, three Musical Sundays were also held as concert introductions to works by Johannes Brahms.

From June 8 to 16, 2024, the Heidelberger Frühling Liedfestival immersed itself in the focus of the Heidelberger Frühling Festival season 2024 Johannes Brahms under the motto "Brahms and the Disorder of Songs".

The festival comprised 26 events, including innovative formats such as a Lied.LAB and a musical museum tour, song recitals with renowned vocal artists such as Sarah Maria Sun, Erika Baikoff and Florian Boesch as well as up-and-coming young talents such as Konstantin Krimmel and Tae Hwan Yun. The Heidelberger Frühling Liedakademie will also be presenting itself. The current scholarship holders were able to experience the final phase of their work with public master classes and the final concert. The Liedfestival opened with a "Liedfestival for all" with free admission on Marlene-Dietrich-Platz in front of the Karlstorbahnhof in Heidelberg.