Strandkorbkonzert mit Tschejefem, SHMF, 24.08.22
What a great
festival summer!

The 37th Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival can look back on a successful season: around 165,000 tickets were sold for the 203 concerts and events. With a capacity utilization of 84 percent, the festival played 123 venues at 65 locations in Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, southern Denmark and northern Lower Saxony. 114 events were sold out. 

"We are hugely excited about this incredible success, which we would not have dared to dream of just a few months ago. My great thanks go to our audience, who have shown great confidence in us and celebrated a wonderful festival summer together with us. With our Brahms focus, the artist portrait and fresh musical ideas and formats, we experienced outstanding concert moments. I am grateful for this and look forward to the 2023 season with optimism," says Festival Director Dr. Christian Kuhnt.

Composer retrospective: Johannes Brahms 

In more than 85 concerts, the festival presented a comprehensive and diverse look at the work of Johannes Brahms. Among others, his great symphonies, solo concertos, string quartets, the "Hungarian Dances", but also lesser-known works could be experienced. In addition to the original works, the focus was also on modern adaptations of his music: ensembles such as the Jazzrausch Bigband, the SIGNUM saxophone quartet, Musicbanda Franui, Uwaga!, Wildes Holz and the singer Lia Pale, among others, developed a current and exciting approach to the works of Johannes Brahms. Prominent actors and actresses such as Martina Gedeck, Axel Milberg and Christian Brückner also dealt with the composer's life and work in musical readings. The composer retrospective also included a series of concerts entitled "Inside Brahms. In the former Gängeviertel of Hamburg's Neustadt district, where Johannes Brahms grew up, Viennese clarinettist Matthias Schorn curated six concerts that spanned an interesting musical-biographical arc. The program included music by Brahms as well as pieces by Astor Piazzolla, Ray Charles and the Beatles.

Johannes Brahms marks the end of the SHMF series of composer retrospectives, which since 2014 has been devoted to Felix Mendelssohn, Maurice Ravel, Carl Nielsen and Johann Sebastian Bach, among others. 

Portrait artist Omer Meir Wellber 

This year's portrait artist of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival was the Israeli musician Omer Meir Wellber. He not only appeared on the conductor's podium, but also performed as a soloist on accordion, harpsichord and grand piano. As part of his artist portrait, which was themed "Friendship", he put together a very lively and varied program with a total of 14 concerts. Among them were large symphonic works, chamber music, chansons, a melodrama and a four-hands piano recital. He conducted the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the string ensemble of the Vienna Volksoper and also led a working period of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra. His concerts have also featured many of his musical friends, including Israeli mandolinist Jacob Reuven, pianists Fazıl Say and Daniel Ciobanu, violist Amihai Grosz, cellist Steven Isserlis, soprano Einat Aronstein, and actors Dominique Horwitz and Isabel Karajan. 

Academies and prizes 

This year, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra was made up of around 110 young musicians from 32 nations. At the conductor's podium were SHMF Portrait Artist Omer Meir Wellber, Holly Hyun Choe, Krzysztof Urbański, Ludwig Wicki and Christoph Eschenbach, Principal Conductor of the Festival Orchestra. The program of the total of eleven concerts included the Double Concerto for Violin and Violoncello by Johannes Brahms, "Le Sacre du Printemps" by Igor Stravinsky, and the film concert "STAR WARS - The Empire Strikes Back". A guest performance took the young musicians to the Rheingau Music Festival.

The Schleswig-Holstein Festival Choir, under the direction of Choir Director Nicolas Fink, dedicated itself to the work "Ein deutsches Requiem" by Johannes Brahms - in an arrangement for choir, two pianos and timpani - on the occasion of the SHMF composer retrospective. 

The master classes with top-class artists attracted participants from all over the world to the University of Music Lübeck. With The King's Singers, cellist Jens Peter Maintz, mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender and violinist Donald Weilerstein, first-class pedagogues returned to the SHMF Masterclasses. For the first time, Israeli violist Amihai Grosz offered an instrumental course. Participants also benefited from workshops on performance training, moderation and concentration enhancement. 

In the concert series "Meisterschüler - Meister" this year's master, clarinettist David Orlowsky, brought classical music together with klezmer. With the young talents he worked out Mozart's Clarinet Quintet, works from his own pen as well as other klezmer and tango composers. 

The British composer Hannah Kendall was awarded the Hindemith Prize 2022. The prize has been honoring young contemporary composers for 33 years and is endowed with 20,000 euros. The prize is sponsored by the Fondation Hindemith (Blonay/Switzerland), the Rudolf and Erika Koch Foundation, the Walther and Käthe Busche Foundation and the Gerhard Trede Foundation, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the State of Schleswig-Holstein.

This year, the Leonard Bernstein Award, endowed with 10,000 euros, went to Scottish guitarist Sean Shibe. The prize, sponsored by the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, has been awarded at the SHMF since 2002 and has established itself as a career springboard for young talent in the classical music scene. 

Werftsommer, music festivals in the countryside and Lübeck music festival with Daniel Hope

For the second time, the Werftsommer (Shipyard Summer) took place over a weekend on the industrial grounds of Lübeck's Kulturwerft Gollan, featuring artists and bands from various musical genres. Among them were the powerful-voiced newcomer Zoe Wees, the reggae star Gentleman, the Canadian singer Wendy McNeill, the Jazzrausch Bigband, the pop band Bukahara, the brass band Moop Mama and the singer-songwriter Anna Wydra. 

The music festivals in the countryside invited visitors to some of Schleswig-Holstein's most beautiful estates over five weekends: Hasselburg, Stocksee, Emkendorf, Pronstorf and Wotersen. Established artists as well as young talents provided the varied concert program.

With his Lübeck Music Festival, violin virtuoso Daniel Hope transformed the Hanseatic city into a sounding stage. He performed eleven concerts with musical friends at unusual venues on Lübeck's Old Town Island. This year, Johannes Brahms was at the center of this "festival within a festival".

Thank you

We would like to thank our sponsors and supporters as well as the state of Schleswig-Holstein for their partnership and commitment to good music in the north.

As main sponsors and partners, the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe (consisting of the Schleswig-Holstein savings banks, Provinzial Nord Brandkasse AG, LBS Bausparkasse Schleswig-Holstein-Hamburg AG, DekaBank and the Sparkassen-Kulturfonds des Deutschen Sparkassen- und Giroverbandes), NordwestLotto Schleswig-Holstein, HanseWerk AG, our mobility partner BMW Group and our media partner NDR make a significant contribution. We would also like to thank the 48 concert sponsors, five product partners and all 49 members of the Business and Music Entrepreneur Initiative. 

The festival would like to thank its generous sponsors ACO Gruppe, Aldra Fenster & Türen GmbH, Stadt Bad Oldesloe, Stadt Bad Schwartau, Claussen-Simon-Stiftung, EUROIMMUN AG, Familie Fielmann, Förderkreis Musik in der Kirche Flemhude, Stadt Kappeln, KIM - Kultur in Marne e.V, Hansestadt Lüneburg, Familie Dr. Hannelore Murmann, Musik in der Stadtkirche zu Glückstadt e.V., City of Neumünster, NORDMETALL Foundation, NORDAKADEMIE Foundation, Georg Plate Foundation, Possehl Foundation, Municipality of Rellingen, Oscar and Vera Ritter Foundation, Sønderborg Municipality, Founders of the Festival Orchestra, Foundations of Sparkasse Holstein, Mathias Tantau Foundation, Alfred Toepfer Foundation F.V.S., Herbert Voigt GmbH & Co. KG, Weiland Kulturstiftung Henning Hamkens and ZEIT Stiftung Gerd und Ebelin Bucerius. We would also like to thank the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, INITIATIVE MUSIK gGmbH and NEUSTART KULTUR. 

The Festival Association would like to thank the now approximately 300 volunteer advisory board members and its 7,900 members. With enormous commitment and specially acquired donations, they all provide for the physical well-being of the artists from all over the world.

Media partner NDR

NDR accompanied the SHMF again this year as a reliable media partner. The "Schleswig-Holstein Magazin" regularly reported on the highlights and central events of the music summer. The program "Schleswig-Holstein 18:00" was also dedicated to the SHMF, among other things. A comprehensive overview of the program, concerts and stars, exclusive photos and background information is also available online at In addition, there were regular reports on the SHMF in the radio programs NDR Kultur, NDR Info and NDR 90,3 as well as on NDR 1 Welle Nord, here also Monday to Friday in "Von Binnenland und Waterkant" between 7 and 9 pm. NDR Fernsehen produced live for 3Sat the opening concert of the SHMF with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra conducted by Alan Gilbert. NDR Kultur also broadcast the SHMF opening concert live on the radio and also broadcast a large number of other concerts covering the entire musical spectrum of the SHMF program. In addition, there were many artist portraits and concert reports also in other formats of NDR television. 

Next year's festival program will be published on February 23, 2023.