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The Leipzig Music Trail

A unique guide system opens up 800 years of music history


Leipzig boasts a large number of sites of interest where famous composers lived and worked, in a concentration which is unmatched anywhere in the world. Wherever you go in the city there is musical history: a dazzling past where the foundations were laid for a lively musical present. Opening up this treasure trove is the Leipzig Music Trail (“Leipziger Notenspur”).

The Leipzig Music Trail is a unique guide system which links the 23 most important musical locations in the city centre along a 5 km route. The project was opened with a public celebration and music festival in 2012. A trail of curved stainless steel inserts in the ground and information boards is now winding through the centre of Leipzig to highlight the city's exceptional musical tradition. In the coming years this route will be complemented by a musical promenade, the “Leipziger Notenbogen” (Leipzig Music Trip) and by a cycle route, the “Leipziger Notenrad” (Leipzig Music Trek).

The music of the famous composers who have lived and worked in Leipzig is a cultural heritage of worldwide importance. The idea behind the steel inserts and the information boards is based on a poem by Eduard Mörike which was set to music in 1849 by Robert Schumann: "Er ist's". In the poem, spring approaches in the air like a blue ribbon. The image of the fluttering blue ribbon is that of the sky, and represents new beginnings and the harmonious changing of the seasons. The ribbons bind and unite, creating a sense of belonging and conveying messages, but they are only brought to life by the wind. In keeping with the internationality of the project the information given along the Music Trail is displayed in English as well as German. The project will also appeal to younger audiences with its use of the internet, iPods and interactive music installations.

Contact: Leipzig Music Trail Initiative; phone: +49 (0) 341 97-33741; mail@notenspur-leipzig.de; www.notenspur-leipzig.de

Music Museums in Leipzig

The "Music Museums in Germany" initiative founded in 2005 is one of a kind anywhere in the world, and its headquarters are in the Mendelssohn House in Leipzig. It incorporates a total of 34 museums, almost two thirds of which are in central Germany. The city which contains the most (four museums) is Leipzig.

Bach Museum (Thomaskirchhof 15, www.bach-leipzig.de)

The Bach archive in Leipzig enjoys an excellent international reputation as a centre for Bach research. Along with its research institute the Bach archive also has an academic library, an events department which organises, among other things, the Leipzig Bach Festival, and the Bach Museum. It is located in the Bosehaus, a building first documented in 1558. Following extensive renovation work it reopened on 21 March 2010, the 325th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach's birth.

Edvard Grieg Memorial (Talstraße 10, www.grieg-in-leipzig.de)

The memorial is situated in the rooms which once housed the C.F.Peters publishing company. In the former music room on the main floor Edvard Grieg would perform his latest compositions. Today the room is used for concerts and lectures. In the adjoining rooms visitors can find out all about the life and work of the famous Norwegian. After he completed his studies at the Leipzig Conservatory, Grieg established a close working relationship with Max Abraham, the director of C.F. Peters publishers. In 1889 Grieg signed a contract with C.F. Peters giving the company sole publishing rights to his works.

Mendelssohn House (Goldschmidtstraße 12, www.mendelssohn-stiftung.de)

This building is the last surviving private residence of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. It is the late Biedermeier apartment the family moved into in 1845, and it was restored to the way it looked when the composer lived there. Since 1997 it has housed a museum. Amongst other things, visitors can admire a living room here which contains original furniture owned by the composer and numbers of his water colour paintings and letters. Concerts take place regularly in the music room on Sundays at 11 am.

Schumann House (Inselstraße 18, www.schumann-verein.de)

This museum can be found in the Classical-style building which Clara and Robert Schumann moved into after their marriage in September 1840. This is where the "Spring Symphony" was composed, the piece that gave Schumann world renown as a composer. He also wrote a number of articles here, for the "New Journal of Music" ("Neue Zeitschrift für Musik"), which he founded himself. An exhibition is now housed on the building's main floor, where the musical couple lived for the first four years of their marriage. It takes visitors through some of the historic rooms, revealing much of interest about their lives and work. The showpiece is the Schumann room, fully restored to its original condition.