Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival

Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival
© Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival | Photo: Axel Nickolaus

Founded in 1986, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival (SHMF) is one of the largest area festivals in the world. It plays in Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg as well as parts of Denmark and Lower Saxony. The focus is on classical music, but other genres such as pop, jazz, theatre, electro, klezmer, comedy, readings and others are also performed.

Special concert venues

The SHMF aims to bring classical music to a wide audience in a festive atmosphere at unusual venues. The concerts take place in castles and manor houses, barns and stables as well as in the most beautiful churches in Schleswig-Holstein. But special concert venues such as shipyards and old industrial halls also provide an atmospheric backdrop for performances that are otherwise reserved for visitors to renowned concert halls and opera houses.

The concept

Every year, the festival dedicates a retrospective to one composer. After composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Nielsen, Maurice Ravel and Peter Tchaikovsky, numerous artists will explore the work of Franz Schubert in the summer of 2021. 

Another conceptual focus is that of the artist in residence: an outstanding musician will be invited to spend the festival summer in Schleswig-Holstein and perform up to 20 concerts and workshops with his or her instrument. He or she is free to plan the programme. The portrait artists of recent years have been Sol Gabetta, Martin Grubinger, András Schiff, Avi Avital, Sabine Meyer, Janine Jansen and Xavier de Maistre. 

Classical music with picnics

The "Music Festivals in the Countryside" are one of the centrepieces of the SHMF and offer a unique and family-friendly concert atmosphere. Classical music can be combined with extended picnics on the most beautiful estates in the country. Up-and-coming artists and stars from the main programme provide special musical experiences. There are also special music festivals for children, inviting them to join in and listen.

Talent promotion

In the Festival Orchestra, founded by Leonard Bernstein in 1987, in the master classes and in the concert series "Meisterschüler-Meister", talented young artists from all over the world receive decisive musical impulses from renowned artists and experienced teachers year after year. Sponsorship prizes such as the Leonard Bernstein Award, the Hindemith Prize and the Sponsorship Prize of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe support particularly outstanding talents in launching their artistic careers. 

Music education

The Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival also offers a range of music education programmes for the general public: In the Festival Choir, for example, enthusiastic singers with solid choral experience from the north come together and dedicate themselves to great works of choral literature under professional guidance. In workshops with professional artists, amateur musicians can get to know their instrument from new perspectives.