Leipzig: Immerse Yourself in Music

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Visit us here, and courtesy of the Leipzig Music Trail you’ll be able to discover the city’s most significant musical sights for yourself

Flowers on Augustusplatz with Oper Leipzig beyond (photo: Philipp Kirschner)
Flowers on Augustusplatz with Oper Leipzig beyond (photo: Philipp Kirschner)

For centuries, music and musicians have called the tune in Leipzig. The city’s famous boys’ choir was founded in 1212. Johann Sebastian Bach got his dream job in the city just over 500 years later. Two decades after that, Leipzig’s distinguished citizen-founded orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester, started giving concerts. Mendelssohn, Brahms, Schumann and Mahler soon made their way here to live and work.

The Saxon city remains proud of all those musicians who made the city their home and of the institutions they helped establish. The famous Thomanerchor Bach once trained still performs in St Thomas’s Church while the Orchestra Mendelssohn made famous is now recognised as one of the best in the world. Visit us here, and courtesy of the Leipzig Music Trail you’ll be able to discover the city’s most significant musical sights for yourself.

St Thomas’s Church in Leipzig (photo: Tom Williger)


Perhaps the most seismic musical event of all in Leipzig was the birth of a baby boy in the city on 22 May 1813. He was soon christened Richard, the ninth child of a Police actuary named Carl Wagner. That baby would go on to change the course of art, exerting as strong an influence on novelists, poets, painters, filmmakers and philosophers as he would on composers and theatre artists.

As Richard Wagner would have wanted, Leipzig is far more than a museum to music. It is alive with performance, discussion and dissemination. The 2021/22 season at Leipzig Opera – an institution with a tradition stretching back over 325 years – opened with a production of Wagner’s rarely heard opera Die Feen. The season continues to include new productions of Der Sturz des Antichrist by Holocaust victim Viktor Ullmann, Wagner’s Lohengrin (directed by his great-granddaughter Katharina) and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (directed by David Pountney) as well as the first Saxon production of Danish composer Carl Nielsen’s Maskarade.

The season’s planned culmination, however, is unprecedented anywhere in the world. As part of its inaugural Wagner 22 festival, Leipzig Opera will present all 13 of the composer’s stage works over the space of three weeks, culminating in a complete cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen. With the exception of the Ring, the operas will be presented in the order in which they were written and surrounded by a rich schedule of supplementary artistic and academic events. As it bids farewell to its transformative music director Ulf Schirmer, Leipzig Opera will present a festival of Wagner’s music the likes of which has never been seen anywhere in the world – Bayreuth included.

The ‘new’ Gewandhaus on Augustusplatz (photo: PUNCTUM)


Accompanying these performances will be an orchestra famed for its sonority and adaptability – the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester. The orchestra itself lays claim to an unrivalled sound tradition nurtured through work in the church, on the concert stage and in the opera house.

The famed ‘Gewandhaus sound’ is well worth experiencing in symphonic music. In May 2023, for its new biennial festival, the Gewandhausorchester and its home will be given over entirely to the music of another great musician who worked in the city: Gustav Mahler. The festival, led by the Orchestra and its music director Andris Nelsons, promises to be another event like none other in which a procession of world-class orchestras will perform the composer’s complete symphonies in succession – each in the architecturally and acoustically pristine conditions of the ‘new’ Gewandhaus on Augustusplatz.

In Leipzig, you’ll find the presence of the great composers is very much alive. Come visit us – and immerse yourselves in music.

Find out more: www.leipzig.travel/cityofmusic

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