Heidelberger Frühling was founded in 1997 as a classical music festival and has since developed into a year-round cultural institution that organizes festivals, concert series, conferences and support programs for young artists.
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. In 2022, the Musikfestival celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Each festival edition is unique. Each year, new programmatic focal points are set, inviting a change of perspective and a reconsideration of supposedly old familiarities.
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.
The next edition of the Musikfestival will be held from March 15 to April 13, 2024.
In January, lovers of this special musical genre come together for the Heidelberger Frühling Streichquartettfest. It is considered the first festival of its kind to focus entirely on string quartets. The four-day Heidelberger 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.
The next edition of the Streichquartettfest will take place from January 18 to 21, 2024.
Kammermusik+ is the chamber music series for Heidelberg. Every month, soloists and ensembles from the top ranks of the international chamber music scene give guest performances in the auditorium of Alte Pädagogische Hochschule 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 a 7-minute stage conversation.
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 the Heidelberger Frühling Wettbewerb "Das Lied" by Thomas Quasthoff as well as 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.
What began in 2011 as a highly condensed course offering as part of the Heidelberger Frühling Musikfestival has developed into a year-round support program for young singers and pianists from all over the world. The master classes with the Artistic Director of the Liedakademie Thomas Hampson will take place as part of the total of four work phases of the Liedakademie in Berlin and Heidelberg, some of which will be held publicly in front of an audience and via livestream. In addition, the young artists can be experienced in performances, some with specially curated programmes, in Berlin's Pierre Boulez Hall and at the Liedfestival in Heidelberg.
Wettbewerb "Das Lied"
The Heidelberger Frühling Wettbewerb "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 Heidelberger Frühling since 2017.
The 2023 edition was won by 24-year-old tenor Laurence Kilsby from England and 33-year-old tenor Tae Hwan Yun from South Korea.
In June, the Heidelberger Frühling Liedfestival promotes those who continue to think about the Lied in creative ways and always break new ground. 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 the showcase for guest performances, but also for numerous in-house productions of the Liedzentrum, such as the Lied.LABs. And the year-round support programme of the Liedakademie, under the artistic direction of Thomas Hampson, conducts its final work phase of the season during the festival - with public master classes in front of an audience and concerts by the current cohort of scholarship holders.
The next edition will be held from 8 to 16 June 2024. The programme will be published here in spring 2024.
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.