© www.pkfotografie.com, Philipp Kirschner

Music in Leipzig and its surrounding region

Leipzig, where music sets the tone.

You can feel the fascinating power of music everywhere in Leipzig – in the streets and squares, in churches, concert halls and the many authentic locations where famous musicians worked and lived. And there is a long tradition: In past centuries, more than 500 composers lived here, including great names from music history: Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Clara und Robert Schumann as well as Richard Wagner, Edvard Grieg, Albert Lortzing, Gustav Mahler and Hanns Eisler.

The rich musical heritage also includes the Gewandhausorchester and the world-famous St. Thomas Boys Choir. And of course, let's not forget: Leipzig Opera, which has always been committed to Wagner's legacy and numbers amongst the oldest civic music theatre stages in Europe.

But Leipzig does not only have a great musical history. Here the tradition is still alive. The city honours its musicians annually with high-profile festivals that thrill guests from all over the world. Leipzig's record-breaking calendar of musical events ensures the city will always be an attractive destination for classical music fans.

Follow in the musical footsteps of the world's greatest composers and discover the City of Music: Leipzig.

City of Music :Leipzig - Travel Offers

”Oh, how I envy Leipzig for its music.“
– Clara Schumann

Gewandhaus Festival Leipzig

Shostakovitch Festival 2025

View of Leipzig Gewandhaus with the Gewandhaus Orchester written logo in the upper centre of the picture.© formdusche

15 May - 1 June 2025

In May 2025, the Gewandhaus zu Leipzig will be dedicated to Dimitri Shostakovich and will honour him on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his death with one of the most comprehensive examinations of his works. The Gewandhaus­orchester, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Festival Orchestra founded especially for the festival, conducted by Gewandhauskapellmeister Andris Nelsons and Anna Rakitina, will perform Dmitri Shostakovich’s entire symphonic and concerto oeuvres. An unsurpassed roster of world-class artists will feature in the extensive chamber music series, while two performances of the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at the Leipzig Opera, conducted by Andris Nelsons, will complete the festival programme.

The Gewandhausorchester has been playing works by Shostakovich since 1929 and gave numerous German premieres. At Leipzig Bachfest 1950 Shostakovich was inspired to one of his most famous piano works, 24 Preludes and Fugues Op. 87 for solo piano.

The Gewandhaus Festival alternates annually with the Opera Festival.

Leipzig Bachfest 2024

"CHORal TOTAL"

Here, a picture can be seen of the Bach Archive Leipzig from the outside, over it the white Bach Archiv Leipzig writing together with its emblem.© formdusche

7 - 16 June 2024

Every year in June, the city of Leipzig honours its important Thomas Cantor Johann Sebastian Bach with the Leipzig Bachfest. It pursues a tradition of honouring Bach which was originally initiated by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.

In 2023, the 300th anniversary of Bach's appointment as Thomas Cantor was the focus of the festival. The motto of the 2024 Bachfest is "CHORAL TOTAL". Numerous Bach choirs from all over the world will travel to the original places where their idol worked and perform the entire "annual cycle of choral cantatas" - exactly 300 years after the first performance. Singing along is strongly encouraged here, so the audience will become part of the global Bach family of today. Of course, the St. John Passion, the St. Matthew Passion and the B Minor Mass will again be an integral part of the programme. Over the course of ten days, renowned international performers can be experienced in over 100 events, including the renowned St Thomas's Boys Choir and the world-famous Gewandhausorchester.

Video about Leipzig Bachfest

BACH300 - 300 years Bach in Leipzig

Bach Festival Leipzig, concert venues

Bach Festival Leipzig, dates

  • 12 - 22 June 2025

  • 11 - 21 June 2026

  • 10 - 20 June 2027

First Leipzig Bachfest

Interior view of St. Nicholas Church during a Bach Festival Leipzig concert in the City of Music, cultural venue, sightseeing© www.gertmothes.de, Gert Mothes
St. Nicholas Church with its architecturally impressive interior is just one of many venues for the Bach Festival, as well as an important site of the Peaceful Revolution.

The first Leipzig Bachfest took place in 1908. It was organized for the unveiling of the "New Bach Monument".

Selected pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach are performed at the festival. Bach lived and worked in Leipzig as the Thomas Cantor at St. Thomas Church from 1723 to his death in 1750.

Around 100 different events take place every year as part of the Leipzig Bachfest.

Bach Competition

Award winners at the Bach competition with flowers, Leipzig, city of music, concert, events, festivals, culture© Gert Mothes

The Johann Sebastian Bach competition is a globally significant event for young musicians launched in 1950. Since 1996, it has been taking place every other year in June in three alternating subjects: piano, harpsichord and Violin. 

The competition is open to instrumentalists and singers between the ages of 16 and 33.

Broadcast: Reiselust (Travel Favourites)

Prof Dr Michael Maul, Artistic Director of the Bach Festival Leipzig, talking to Klassik Radio (Excerpt from the "Reiselust" programme broadcast on 26.09.2021)

Podcast Tip

Bach's Cantatas with Maul & Schrammek / mdr Klassik

This podcast by Prof. Michael Maul, Artistic Director of the Bach Festival Leipzig together with the musicologist Bernhard Schrammek, is devoted to the sacred cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Mendelssohn Festival Leipzig

A cooperation between Leipzig Gewandhaus and Mendelssohn House

View of the Mendelssohn House in Leipzig with the written logo over it and a stylised graphic of the Mendelssohn House© formdusche

29 October to 4 November 2024

The memory of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy is very much alive in Leipzig: Traditionally, the city honours the composer and musician every year with various concerts around 4 November on Mendelssohn Day, the anniversary of his death. Since 1997, he has also been honoured by the Mendelssohn Festival which took on a new form in 2021 when Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Mendelssohn House began working together to present a varied and sophisticated programme.

Internationally renowned artists put on a rich musical programme, ranging from symphony concerts with the Gewandhausorchester under the direction of Andris Nelsons to choral symphonies, song recitals and chamber music performances. A variety of talks, guided tours and lectures round off the festival programme.

The 2024 Mendelssohn Festival will host the President of the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Foundation, Elena Bashkirova, as well as renowned artists such as Sol Gabetta, Bertrand Chamayou and Dorothea Röschmann. This year's festival will be opened for the first time by a female conductor: GemmaNew, Principal Conductor of the Hamilton Philharmonic and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, will perform Mendelssohn's 3rd ("Scottish") Symphony with members of the Mendelssohn Orchestra Academy and the Gewandhausorchester.

Mendelssohn, Leipzig and the Mendelssohn Festival

”Mendelssohn was … a brilliant, incredibly versatile, European and modern-thinking man. Here is the place where you can feel all this.“
Patrick Schmeing, Mendelssohn House Director

Mendelssohn House

© Robin Kunz

Mendelssohn's study

© Andreas Schmidt

Mendelssohn Monument

Broadcast: Travel Favourites

Patrick Schmeing, Mendelssohn House Director talking to Klassik Radio (Excerpt from the "Reiselust" (travel favourites) programme broadcast on 26.09.2021)

The Leipzig Podcast – Music in the Air!

Mendelssohn House: Empathy and Music

Leipzig Opera Festival

International Ballet Festival "Leipzig dances!" 2024

View of the illuminated Leipzig Opera behind the fountain at Augustusplatz with yellow flags at the Opera heralding the Wagner Festival in Leipzig, City of Music.© Kirsten Nijhof

21 - 29 June 2024

With its more than 325-year tradition, Oper Leipzig is one of the flagships of Leipzig as a city of music. As early as 1693, the first opera house at Brühl was opened as the third civic music theatre in Europe after Venice and Hamburg. Since 1840, the world-renowned Gewandhausorchester has played at all performances of the opera and the Leipzig Ballet. In addition to today’s opera house on Augustusplatz, built in 1960, Oper Leipzig includes the “Musikalische Komödie” in the Lindenau district, a special venue for musicals and operettas. Opera fans love both the exciting productions and the first-class musical standard of the house. The international ballet company of the Oper Leipzig under the direction of ballet director and chief choreographer Mario Schröder also performs at the highest level.

The next Opera festival under General Music Director Tobias Wolff is planned for 2024. From 21 to 29 June 2024, the motto will be "Leipzig dances!" when internationally renowned artists and companies from the ballet and dance scene come to Leipzig to celebrate this art form. Among others, the Akram Khan Company, the Slovenian National Ballet Maribor and of course the Leipzig Ballet will be performing.

More information: https://www.oper-leipzig.de/en/leipzig-tanzt

Leipzig Music Trail

Follow the trail of Leipzig's musical tradition

Leipzig boasts a worldwide unique concentration of originally preserved places where world famous composers lived and worked. The Leipzig Music Trail has been bringing this musical cultural heritage to life for tourists since 12 May 2012. Since individual points of interest are not far away from one another, they can be comfortably visited on foot.  At each point of interest, you can get thrilling insights through musical excerpts and information in both German and English. You can also get the full experience on a unique 360° panorama tour.

The Leipzig Music Trail connects the most important original locations in Leipzig city centre over 5.1 km. Curved steel elements embedded into the ground mark the meandering path through the city centre. You can start and end your tour at any of the points of interest. More athletic music-lovers can discover Leipzig's musical history by bicycle from a completely different fascinating perspective on the Leipzig Music Bike Trail.

In addition to the Notenspur tour, the "Notenspuren app" offers other musical walks on Leipzig's music history that can be heard and experienced.

5.3 km

of Music Trail link up the original musical sites in Leipzig's city centre

23 Points of interest

are linked via a curved stainless steel band, "intarsia"

225 m

is the average distance from one point of interest to the next

800 years

of musical history can be discovered over a short distance

Steel band in St. Nicholas Church Square © www.pkfotografie.com, Philipp Kirschner

Leipzig Music Bike Trail

Tour by bike

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