The festival

Since its inception in 1986, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival (SHMF) has been among the most spectacular international cultural events in the world. Instead of renowned concerts taking place in the usual concert halls and opera houses, they are set in beautiful castles and manors, in barns and stalls, in the most spectacular churches of Schleswig-Holstein and even in unusual locations such as shipyards and industrial halls. From 1996 to 2013, the artistic concept of the SHMF was to select a feature country for each year and highlight its music and culture. This took us around the globe; from Finland to Japan, from the USA to Russia. With the new director, Dr. Christian Kuhnt, the festival was blazing new trails in 2014 by highlighting a specific composer for each year. Since then the festival has dedicated the composers' retrospective to Felix Mendelssohn, Peter Tschaikowsky, Joseph Haydn, Maurice Ravel, Robert Schumann, Sebastian Bach, Carl Nielsen and Franz Schubert. 2022 the composer's retrospective ended with Johannes Brahms. In the summer of 2023, the festival launched its new series of city focuses, presenting London's musical variety. 2024 will be all about the music metropolis Venice.

Another programmatic focus since 2014 has been the artist portrait: each summer a special artist presents a series of concerts and enjoys the freedom to choose programmes and ensembles to play with. After Sol Gabetta, Martin Grubinger, András Schiff, Avi Avital, Sabine Meyer, Janine Jansen, Xavier de Maistre and Hélène Grimaud, conductor Omer Meir Wellber was the portrait artist of 2022. In 2023 the portrait was dedicated to Daniel Hope. 

Classical Music with Leisurely Picnics

The "Music Festivals on the Countryside" series is one of the cornerstones of the SHMF, offering a unique and decidedly family-friendly concert atmosphere. Visitors can combine classical music with leisurely picnics at some of the most picturesque estates in the region. Both rising stars and prominent artists from the festival's main program provide exquisite music for visitors. The Children's Music Workshop is tailor made for the whole family, as children from 3-13 are kept busy during the main concerts under the supervision of trained music educators. Since 2003, there has also been a special music festival for children, allowing our youngest visitors to listen to the music, sing and play along.

Talented Artists of Tomorrow

With its many educational components, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival clearly shows that it has its eye on tomorrow. Through its Orchestra Academy, founded in 1987 by Leonard Bernstein, and through the master class program, talented young musicians from around the world receive invaluable musical impulses from renowned educators who have all had spectacular careers as international artists themselves.

The Collective Power of Enthusiastic Participants

A unique feature of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival is the collaboration of countless volunteers, regional hosts and music-loving helpers who tirelessly work throughout the festival summer to ensure renowned artists from around the world feel right at home in even the most remote corners of Schleswig-Holstein. Without them, the SHMF would never have become the "gigantic citizen's initiative" Richard von Weizsäcker once said it had grown to be. The international jazz festival, JazzBaltica, has also been a part of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival since 2002. You can find more information about JazzBaltica by visiting