Leipzig Highlights 2020
Leipzig has always been an industrial hub in Central Germany. To commemorate this rich heritage, the city joins the Saxon festivities on the occasion of the Year of Industrial Heritage 2020. Multiple museums and art spaces pick up the theme for special exhibitions and events. In fact, Leipzig’s creative scene with hotspots like the Spinnerei and Kunstkraftwerk in former factory buildings would not be the same without the industrial history of the city.
Of course, Leipzig, the city of music, offers a myriad of music festivals in 2020. The Bach Archive celebrates a truly special Bachfest in June, inviting over 50 Bach ensembles from all over the world to perform JS Bach’s music in his primary place of work. There is a Wagner Festival in May, a Schumann week in September and a multitude of open-air concerts from June to August.
Year of Industrial Heritage 2020
Saxony declared 2020 as Year of Industrial Heritage to honour the state’s industrial past. Leipzig will join the festivities with special exhibitions, guided tours through former industrial properties and those still in use, theatre performances and art projects. The exhibition WerkStadt Leipzig. 200 Years to the Beat of Machines (10 May to 1 November 2020) at the Museum of City History will be one of the highlights. It emphasizes the city’s industrial heritage and looks at the past through the eyes of important Leipzig companies like Adolf Bleichert and Rudolf Sack. As an authentic place, the Museum of the Printing Arts is presenting the exhibition The eye of the photographer. Industrial culture in German photography since 1900 (8 March to 28 June). Many previously unknown photography from the rich collections in Saxony’s museums and libraries will be presented for the first time and offer an interesting perspective on industrial history in Germany. www.leipzig.travel/industrialheritage2020
Leipzig takes a special place in Germany’s industrial history. The western district of Plagwitz was the first large-scale industrial area in Germany to be planned from scratch. The industrial pioneer Carl Erdmann Heine decided to drain the swampy land in order to build housing and factories. He also worked hard to attract industrial companies to Plagwitz, making sure they were connected to the new rail and canal networks. The combination of housing and jobs was unique, and in connection with the ideal transport links triggered an industrial boom. Today, Plagwitz ranks among the most popular districts in Leipzig. Thanks to successful renovations, the revitalisation of Karl-Heine-Canal and the development of a vibrant creative scene, the area is a successful example of urban transformation.
Van Gogh experience at Kunstkraftwerk Leipzig
A must-see at Kunstkraftwerk Leipzig in 2020 will be the Van Gogh experience. Vincent van Gogh counts among the greatest revolutionary of art history. From 1 February 2020 to 31 January 2021, a new immersive exhibition will show his unique, colorful works at Kunstkraftwerk Leipzig in a colossal, three-dimensional projection. From sunny landscapes to nighttime scenery, from portraits to still lifes: 24 projectors will bring van Gogh’s expressive paintings to life on the 8m-high walls, the ceiling and floor of the former machine hall. www.kunstkraftwerk-leipzig.com
The Museum of Fine Arts, Eastern Germany’s first newly built museum since 1945, will have a special exhibition in honour of the 100th anniversary of the death of Leipzig born artist Max Klinger. The exhibition Klinger 2020 runs from 6 March to 14 June and focusses on Klinger’s work as a sculptor, painter and graphic artist. The Museum of Fine Arts holds the most extensive collection of the artist’s work, among it the famous Beethoven sculpture from 1902. www.mdbk.de
Speaking of Ludwig van Beethoven, Leipzig as a city of music will of course celebrate the 250th birthday of the Bonn-born composer. And which orchestra would be a better fit to play his symphonies than the Gewandhausorchester that was actually the first to ever perform Beethoven’s whole cycle of symphonies in 1825/26? From 20 to 28 February, five Große Concerte (GRAND Concerts) will contrast Beethoven’s works with those of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, another mastermind closely linked to Leipzig. www.gewandhausorchester.de
Bach Festival – We Are Family
Beethoven’s music will also be a part of the annual Leipzig Bach Festival, which takes place all over the city from 11 to 21 June 2020. The New Bach Association, founded in 1900, will be the joint host of a unique festival. In line with the festival theme BACH – We Are Family, more than 50 Bach choirs, societies, festivals and associations from 6 continents will be travelling to Leipzig to celebrate the composer in his principal place of work. More than 150 events will fill Leipzig’s city centre with live music. In the opening concert, the St Thomas Choir and the Gewandhausorchester will perform Beethoven’s Mass in C Major.
The programme is two-pronged. On the one hand, famous Bach interpreters will perform works by the entire Bach family in more than 30 concerts. On the other hand, Bach choirs from 15 countries will perform all 66 cantatas from Bach’s annual cycle of chorale cantatas. The audience is invited to join in the hymn arranged by Bach at the start and end of each cantata. An entire annual cantata cycle has never been performed in a festival. www.bachfestleipzig.de
More events in Leipzig: www.leipzig.travel/events