Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival 2024!

From July 6th to September 1st 2024, the 39th Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival celebrates the sonorous tradition of the musical metropolis of Venice and puts saxophonist Asya Fateyeva in the spotlight.

Internationally acclaimed artists will perform at this year's festival, including Lang Lang, Rolando Villazón, Alisa Weilerstein, Bomsori Kim, Sabine Meyer, Grigory Sokolov, Kate Lindsey, Xavier de Maistre, David Orlowsky, Avi Avital, Jan Lisiecki, Lucie Horsch, Valer Sabadus, Vivi Vassileva, Camille Thomas, Ksenija Sidorova and Daniel Hope.

The invited orchestras include the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, the NDR Radiophilharmonie, the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, the Symphonieorchester der Volksoper Wien, the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra, the Chineke! Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Hamburg Camerata, the Basel Chamber Orchestra, Concerto Köln, ensemble reflektor and up-and-coming orchestras such as the MIAGI Youth Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Germany and the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. The orchestral concerts are conducted by conductors such as Alan Gilbert, Stanislav Kochanovsky, Andris Poga, Omer Meir Wellber, Katharina Wincor, Christoph Eschenbach, Holly Hyun Choe and Duncan Ward.

The SHMF also presents ensembles such as the NDR Vokalensemble, the lautten compagney BERLIN, the Venice Baroque Orchestra, The King's Singers, the Alliage Quintet, L'Onda Armonica, the Ensemble Infermi d'Amore, Il Giratempo, the Jupiter Ensemble, Salut Salon, Five Sax, Time for Three, the Rothko String Quartet and the VenEthos Ensemble.

Former Tagesschau newsreader Judith Rakers, actors Axel Milberg and Sebastian Koch, ARD London correspondent Annette Dittert and writer and literary critic Elke Heidenreich will be taking part in readings and presentations. 

Away from classical music, Jamie Cullum, the biggest rock star in jazz, will perform, as will the legendary soul-funk band Kool & The Gang. The SHMF program will also be enriched by the Nils Landgren Funk Unit, Newen Afrobeat, the Crucchi Gang, Marina & The Kats, the Renegades Steel Orchestra, the Flöz pantomime family and the music clowns from Släpstick.

Facts and figures

203 concerts, five »Music Festivals in the Countryside« and two children's music festivals are organised in 120 venues at 71 locations in Schleswig-Holstein, Denmark, Hamburg and the north of Lower Saxony. The budget approved by the Board of Trustees amounts to around 12 million euros. The SHMF would like to thank the state of Schleswig-Holstein for funding totaling 1.238 million euros. Contracts with the main sponsors, concert sponsors and sponsors in kind as well as donations and grants secure the funding. We are delighted to welcome the energy supplier GP JOULE as a new main sponsor. 

Music metropolis: Venice

As the birthplace of the first public opera house and keeper of numerous manuscripts from all musical eras, Venice has a rich musical heritage. From the Renaissance to modern times, the most outstanding artists have performed and composed here. The SHMF 2024 will focus on this diversity and offer a varied insight into the cultural heritage of the lagoon city in over 90 events. The program includes not only symphonic concerts, chamber music, song and opera evenings and sacred music, but also concerts and readings inspired by the Venetian carnival, the life of the seducer and womanizer Giacomo Casanova or the popular songs of the gondoliers. 

The Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, the Venice Baroque Orchestra, I Solisti Veneti, Venice Vocal Jam and Venice fan Ulrich Tukur have been invited as musical ambassadors for the city of Venice. 

The compositions of Antonio Vivaldi, who epitomizes the music of his home city like no other, form an important part of the focus. His music will be emphasized in various interpretations and constellations. The Chineke! Orchestra will play the »punky« new arrangement of the »Four Seasons« by British composer Max Richter, 30-year-old mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre will shed new light on Vivaldi's opera arias together with the Jupiter Ensemble under the direction of lutenist Thomas Dunford, and Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto will enrich the music of the »red priest« with folk improvisations together with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Other Baroque masters such as Tomaso Albinoni, Giuseppe Tartini and Alessandro Marcello, who worked in the city republic, are also represented in the program. An outstanding personality among the few women who made a name for themselves as composers in the 17th century was the Venetian Barbara Strozzi. Her impressive works from the first heyday of opera are also honoured in the festival. Likewise Claudio Monteverdi with his »Vespers of the Virgin Mary«: a masterpiece of Venetian polychoralism - an innovation in vocal music born in Venice, which provides for the distribution of several four-part choirs in space, thus creating an intense sound-space experience. 

Venice was also the city of secular singing. The castrati Farinelli, Carestini and Bernacchi sang arias by Antonio Vivaldi, Antonio Caldara and Alessandro Scarlatti here. Later composers such as Gioachino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini and Giuseppe Verdi premiered their operas in Venice. This musical heritage is also honoured by the festival, with concerts by tenor Rolando Villazón and baritone Benjamin Appl, among others.

Artist portrait: Asya Fateyeva

Showing the saxophone as a versatile instrument with classical origins - that is the mission of this year's portrait artist Asya Fateyeva. Born in Crimea in 1990, the saxophonist specializes in music from the baroque, classical, romantic and modern periods. For her SHMF artist portrait, she has put together a multifaceted program with a total of 17 concerts and events. These include symphonic works, chamber music, early and contemporary music and a workshop. 


From July 30th to August 3rd, the industrial halls of Lübeck's Kulturwerft Gollan will be transformed into a stage for rousing techno-jazz, Italo and Afropop as part of the SHMF Werftsommer. Flavoured with influences from soul, rock and folk, the four unseated concerts offer plenty of opportunity to dance. Sponsored by the Possehl Foundation, the Werftsommer concerts take place under high sustainability standards: Among other things, the audience can enjoy culinary highlights from the region, shuttle buses between Lübeck central bus station and the venue encourage people to travel by public transport and a reusable deposit system minimizes the throwing away of cups and bottles. 

The Berlin project Crucchi Gang by singer-songwriter Francesco Wilking will kick off the festival, translating German-language hits into Italian and rearranging them with guests such as Jeremias Heimbach (JEREMIAS) and Lina Maly for a lively Italo disco course. The following day, Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara fuses Afropop with European rock and folk, creating energetic dance vibrations. The 42-year-old is regarded as one of the leading musicians of global pop and has already sung with Paul McCartney and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band Newen Afrobeat from Chile brings its very own fast-paced sound to Lübeck. Inspired by the Nigerian Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti, the band presents good-humoured, powerful African sounds and South American melodies. The concert is sponsored by the Gollan Group. The Werftsommer will be rounded off by the Jazzrausch Bigband with their unique blend of jazz, electronic music and orchestral sounds. Together with the audience, they celebrate »10 years of Jazzrausch Bigband« and look forward to the next decade full of joyful playing and dancing. 

Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra

»Let's make music as friends«: under this motto of conductor and SHMF co-founder Leonard Bernstein, around 120 young top musicians from a wide range of nations have come together every festival summer since 1987 to form the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra (SHFO). The members of the SHFO have qualified during the winter months at over 25 auditions worldwide and receive a scholarship that includes their stay at the Nordkolleg Rendsburg during the festival season as well as intensive rehearsal phases with renowned conductors.

This year's guest conductors are Holly Hyun Choe, Ion Marin, Andris Poga and Duncan Ward. Christoph Eschenbach, Principal Conductor of the festival orchestra, will also conduct a work phase. The program of the 18 concerts includes Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 3, Camille Saint-Saëns' »Carnival of the Animals« and »An Alpine Symphony« by Richard Strauss together with the extreme mountaineer Reinhold Messner. The young musicians will make a guest appearance at the Rheingau Music Festival during the summer. 

Festival choir

Every year, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Choir is made up of motivated singers who perform major choral works under professional guidance. This year, under the direction of choir director Nicolas Fink, the choir will perform the »Petite messe solennelle" by Gioachino Rossini, who self-deprecatingly described his work as »the last mortal sin of his age«. With bel canto melodies, Rossinian rhythms and original harmonies, the »little mass« exudes an atmosphere of whimsical solemnity. The concerts will take place in Ratzeburg and Schleswig. The festival choir can also be heard in the festive closing concerts together with the NDR Radiophilharmonie in Lübeck. The program includes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem.


For around 35 years, the SHMF Masterclasses have brought together internationally renowned artists to train young talents as soloists and chamber musicians. The participants come from all over the world and find ideal rehearsal conditions in the beautiful ambience of the Lübeck University of Music. In summer 2024, first-class teachers The King's Singers (July 25th-28th 2024) and violinist and former leader of the Alban Berg Quartet Günter Pichler (August 19th-23rd 2024) will return to the masterclasses. The courses are open to the public and invite guest listeners to attend the lessons. At the end of the courses, the young musicians present their progress to the festival audience at the masterclass concerts. The application deadline for participation is April 15th. The masterclasses are sponsored by the Possehl Foundation.

Passionate amateur saxophonists aged 16 and over have the opportunity to attend a workshop with this year's portrait artist Asya Fateyeva and become part of a large saxophone orchestra. At the end of the joint rehearsal period in Lübeck, a concert will take place in Lübeck Cathedral on August 17th.

Another workshop with the Familie Flöz theatre company in Kiel provides an insight into mask acting: Michael Vogel, co-founder and artistic director of the international theatre company Familie Flöz, introduces the participants of the three-day workshop to the secrets of pantomime acting. Participants will immerse themselves in different roles and learn how to give a mask a character. Those interested can register for both workshops until April 15th. 


Singing is healthy. It releases feelings of happiness, reduces tension and promotes the development of social, linguistic and communicative skills, especially in children. The new SHMF project »Singstars!« is focusing on singing with three primary schools in Pinneberg, Elmshorn and Holm. The schools' second-graders learn to express themselves through their voices as part of their weekly music lessons. They learn why singing is so valuable in everyday life and which songs are sung in other countries and cultures. The SHMF provides the schools with experienced music teachers from theatre and concert. Each of the seven classes develops and rehearses its own program, which will be performed at a big closing party on July 12th in the Reithalle Elmshorn. The concert is sponsored by the Georg-Plate-Stiftung, the Claussen-Simon-Stiftung, the Bürgerstiftung Elmshorn and the Dr Hannelore Murmann family.

»Meisterschüler – Meister«

In the »Meisterschüler - Meister« concert series, an experienced star of the music world passes on his experience to young up-and-coming talent. This year, the US pianist and composer Uri Caine takes on the role of »master« and, together with accordionist Marko Trivunovic and the string ensemble Elaia Quartett, creates a program based around Richard Wagner's great operas: In Schleswig and Lübeck, they will perform excerpts from »Tristan und Isolde«, »Tannhäuser« and »Lohengrin«, among others, in chamber music versions, showing Wagner's music from a light-footed and humorous side. The concerts in the »Meisterschüler - Meister« series are sponsored by the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe. The concert in Lübeck is also sponsored by the Possehl Foundation. 

Hindemith Prize

The Hindemith Prize, endowed with 20,000 euros, honours outstanding contemporary composers as part of the SHMF. In 2024, the Swedish composer Lisa Streich will receive the 35th Hindemith Prize. »Lisa Streich demonstrates an outstanding level of craftsmanship. She creates an incredible wealth of colour and handles tension in a remarkable way. Her music opens our ears to new poetic worlds of sound,« said Dr Christian Kuhnt, Director of the SHMF, explaining the decision. The prize is sponsored by the Hindemith Foundation (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. The prizewinners' concert will take place on July 25th at the Forum für Baukultur in Kiel.

Leonard Bernstein Award

The Leonard Bernstein Award, which has established itself as a career springboard for young talents in the classical music scene, has been presented at the SHMF since 2002. In 2024, the Leonard Bernstein Award will go to the Russian Anastasia Kobekina, who is considered one of the most promising cellists of her generation. The 29-year-old enthusiastically breaks with listening habits, gives the audience deep insights into her emotional world and has long since found her own unmistakable sound in her repertoire, which ranges from baroque to modern. Jury member Dr Christian Kuhnt explains the decision in favour of the prizewinner with the words: »Anastasia Kobekina combines technical skill with warmth of heart. Last but not least, we were impressed by the playful ease with which she moves through different stylistic periods.« The Leonard Bernstein Award is endowed with 10,000 euros and is sponsored by the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe. The award-winning concert will take place on July 12th at the Kulturwerft Gollan in Lübeck. Together with the Basel Chamber Orchestra, she will present a program revolving around the musical city of Venice. The concert is sponsored by the Possehl Foundation.

Offers for families 

Family concerts introduce the youngest festival visitors from the age of five to the world of music. What makes a symphony? And where do composers find the inspiration for great orchestral works? KiKA presenter Juri Tetzlaff gets to the bottom of these and other questions together with conductor Holly Hyun Choe and the festival orchestra in Büdelsdorf and Itzehoe. The concert in Itzehoe is sponsored by the Georg Plate Foundation. 

In Schenefeld near Hamburg and Schleswig, Juri Tetzlaff, this time with the Süddeutsche Bläsersolisten PROFIVE, will take his young audience on an adventurous journey into the fairytale world of »1001 Nights« and present a cheerful hands-on concert centered on the magic of the Orient.

The Ardemus Quartet takes the audience from Bad Oldesloe and Norderstedt on a journey to the South Pole. There live the last four penguins in Katona, who only eat bananas. But one day the last banana tree disappears without a trace and an animal adventure with saxophone sounds by Claude Debussy, George Gershwin and Toek Numan begins. The concert in Norderstedt is sponsored by the city of Norderstedt, TriBühne Norderstedt and Stadtpark Norderstedt.

And the Body Rhythm Factory, consisting of multi-instrumentalists Peter Stavrum and Rune Thorsteinsson, will be demonstrating in Ahrensburg and Bad Schwartau that making music can also work without an instrument: often our own bodies, a large bucket or plastic tubes are enough to create rousing rhythms. 

Two children's music festivals, which take place on July 20th and 21st at Gut Wotersen, are also aimed specifically at children. Here, young SHMF visitors aged five and over can experience concerts, hands-on activities and a varied supporting program together with their parents and siblings.

The music festivals in the countryside 

They are the centerpiece of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival: the Musikfeste auf dem Lande. Over five weekends, the most beautiful estates in Schleswig-Holstein - Emkendorf, Stocksee, Wotersen, Hasselburg and Pronstorf - open their doors once again. In addition to the idyllic countryside and farmyards, the public can expect a varied concert program from established artists as well as young talents. The music festivals in the countryside are presented by CITTI. Product partners are Schwartauer Werke, Dithmarscher Privatbrauerei and Fürst Bismarck Mineralwasser. A press conference on the program of the music festivals in the countryside will take place on 25 April.

The music festival tractor in social institutions 

Reaching people with music who are unable to participate fully in social life due to their age, degree of disability or for other reasons - this is the aim of the SHMF's Music Festival Tractor. The tractor is converted into a stage for the concerts in social institutions such as community centers or special schools and spreads a relaxed, lively atmosphere. In June 2024, the music festival tractor will tour the Stormarn and Dithmarschen districts for three days. The music festival tractor is sponsored by the Dr Hannelore Murmann family. 

New venues 

In 2024, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival will be hosted for the first time at the Bad Oldesloe Culture and Education Centre, Gravenstein Castle in Denmark and Gut Helmstorf in the district of Plön. The Forum für Baukultur, the Güterbahnhof and the Metro cinema in the Schloßhof are three new venues in Kiel. In Lübeck, Böbs Werft and Club Treibsand are new to the program. In addition, the Feldsteinkirche in Ratekau and the Immanuelkirche in Wedel will celebrate their premiere as SHMF venues in 2024. Further information on the venues can be found here.