The Festival programme 2023!

View of The Houses of Parliament at dusk.

The 38th Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival will place the musical metropolis of London and violinist Daniel Hope at the centre of its programme.

Many internationally acclaimed artists have been secured for this year's festival, including Mischa Maisky, Martha Argerich, Janine Jansen, Grigory Sokolov, Christoph Prégardien, Avi Avital, Sol Gabetta, Jan Lisiecki, Maurice Steger, Kit Armstrong, Ivo Pogorelich, Benjamin Appl, Steven Isserlis, Sabine Meyer, Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason, Sean Shibe, Albrecht Mayer, Christian Tetzlaff, Hilary Hahn and Anne-Sophie Mutter.

Top orchestras performing at the SHMF include the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Kammerorchester Basel and the Philharmonia Orchestra. The programme also features ensembles such as VOCES8, The English Concert, the lautten compagney, The King's Singers, the SIGNUM saxophone quartet, The Mozartists, the Belcea Quartet, the Gabrieli Consort and the ensemble reflektor. The orchestral concerts are conducted by up-and-coming talents such as Ruth Reinhardt, Holly Hyun Choe and Santtu-Matias Rouvali, as well as renowned conductors such as Alan Gilbert, Paavo Järvi, Edward Gardner, Ton Koopman, Michael Sanderling, Omer Meir Wellber and Christoph Eschenbach.

In addition to major names in classical music, the SHMF programme also presents artists from other genres, including MINE, Jan Plewka, Fünf Sterne deluxe, Bodo Wartke, Corinna Harfouch, Felix von Manteuffel, Sebastian Koch and Harald Krassnitzer.

Well-known ensembles such as the London band RAKA, the gypsy swing ensemble Trio Manouche, the pantomimic Familie Flöz, the five musical clowns from Släpstick, the a cappella group The Swingles and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will be guests on the SHMF stages. Special festival highlights are the concert by the British band Simply Red and the performance of Handel's "Messiah" by the festival choir.

Facts and figures

197 concerts, five »Musikfeste auf dem Lande« and two children's music festivals will be held in 113 venues at 68 locations in Schleswig-Holstein, Denmark, Hamburg and Niedersachsen. The budget approved by the Foundation Council amounts to around 12 million euros. The SHMF would like to thank the state of Schleswig-Holstein for its funding of 1.238 million euros. Contracts with the main-, concert- and in-kind sponsors as well as donations and grants secure the funding. We are pleased to welcome Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein (IB.SH) as a new orchestra partner.

Music metropolis: London

London! This is where music plays and has always played. The Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival 2023 is dedicated to this musical metropolis. »The city is the most extraordinary thing the world can show to the wondering mind« - this was Heinrich Heine's verdict on London in 1827. Today, almost 200 years later, the city on the Thames is still one of the most extraordinary metropolises in the world. In addition to its political importance as the capital of the United Kingdom and as a global financial centre, London is one of the largest international »hubs« for music, where very different influences come together. Local composers such as Henry Purcell, Edward Elgar or Benjamin Britten worked here as well as numerous foreign composers, including George Frideric Handel, Joseph Haydn or Felix Mendelssohn. These are just a few examples of the attraction of the city, where many non-English musicians also achieved fame. London is also a hotspot of pop culture: The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Queen or Amy Winehouse - London's music scene has produced countless world stars, making the city a cultural reference point for the whole world.

The SHMF 2023 is committed to this musical diversity that is presented in more than 90 concerts, across all genres and styles. The programme includes major symphonies, oratories, vocal works, chamber music compositions, but also pop- and musical-pieces that were written or premiered in London or have a connection to the city.

As musical ambassadors of the city, outstanding orchestras and artists have been invited to the festival, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Aurora Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Chineke! Orchestra, The English Concert, the London Community Gospel Choir, the Belcea Quartet, The King's Singers, the London Klezmer Quartet, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, cellists Steven Isserlis and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, singers Ian Bostridge and Benjamin Appl, soulpop legend Mick Hucknall and his band Simply Red, as well as this year's SHMF portrait artist Daniel Hope. Last but not least, Holstenhalle 1 in Neumünster will become the musical place of pilgrimage for the London focus as the »Royal Holsten Hall« in reference to London's Royal Albert Hall.

Portrait artist: Daniel Hope

The world-renowned violinist and passionate music educator Daniel Hope is this year's portrait artist of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Hope was born in South Africa in 1973 and raised in Great Britain. He was still a child when he met Yehudi Menuhin, who became a long-time mentor and companion for him. He completed his studies at London's Royal Academy of Music and at the Musikhochschule Lübeck, which gave him a connection to the SHMF as early as the late 1980s. Since 2015, he has annually invited his musical family to the Lübeck Music Festival and filled the Hanseatic with his music for a weekend. On the occasion of his 50th birthday, he is creating a multifaceted programme of 50 events as part of the artist portrait, reflecting personal connections and his artistic versatility. These include contemporary works by David Bruce and Tan Dun, Irish folk music, chamber music, family concerts, solo recitals, workshops with young talent and literary-musical evenings. As soloist in Benjamin Britten's Violin Concerto, he will meet the Festival Orchestra under the direction of Christoph Eschenbach for the first time. His guests include ensembles and musicians from all over the world with whom he has worked several times over the last five decades: the pianists Alexey Botvinov and Jacques Ammon, the cellist Camille Thomas, the violist Ryszard Groblewski, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and the New Century Chamber Orchestra, of which Hope is the music director, the Irish band Lúnasa and many more. With the a cappella ensemble Amarcord, the SIGNUM saxophone quartet and in his programme »East meets West« with the artists Gaurav Mazumdar and Shahbaz Hussain, he places the violin in other sound contexts and once again shows the sheer inexhaustible range of his work.


In the week from 30 July to 6 August, the industrial site of Lübeck's Kulturwerft Gollan will become a large open-air stage for artists and bands of various musical genres. The eight-member London Afrobeat Collective will kick off the festival, their rousing melodies influenced by Afrobeat legends Fela Kuti and Ebo Taylor as well as modern greats like Antibalas. The musicians of the Balkan Paradise Orchestra awaken the audience's desire to dance with their energetic mixture of Balkan tradition and melodies from Catalonia, Galicia or Valencia, and the German singer and music producer MINE shows with an orchestra that German pop has many facets. After their sensational concert evening in Hamburg's Laeiszhalle in the summer of 2022, the hip-hop group Fünf Sterne Deluxe returns to the festival and, together with the Takeover! Ensemble, will once again present a firework display of scurrility and good humour. In addition to the concerts, the audience can enjoy culinary highlights from the region.


The Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra was founded by Leonard Bernstein in 1987. This year about 110 young musicians qualified for the orchestra in around 30 auditions in Europe, Asia, North and South America during the winter months. They receive a scholarship that includes their stay at the Nordkolleg Rendsburg during the festival season from July to August as well as intensive rehearsal phases with renowned conductors. 

This year, Ruth Reinhardt, Ton Koopman, Holly Hyun Choe, Michael Sanderling and Timothy Henty will be guest conductors. Of course, Christoph Eschenbach, Principal Conductor of the Festival Orchestra, will also lead a working phase. The programme of the total of 17 concerts includes Fireworks Music by Georg Friedrich Händel, Symphony No. 5 by Anton Bruckner and the film concert »Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets«. Guest performances will take the young musicians to the Rheingau Music Festival and the Frauenkirche in Dresden during the summer.

From 16 July to 12 August, the Masterclasses will take place at the University of Music Lübeck. Top-class artists dedicate themselves to the participants from all over the world. With cellist Steven Isserlis, bassoonist Matthias Rácz and clarinettist François Benda, first-class teachers are returning to the SHMF Masterclasses. After Avi Avital, SHMF Portrait Artist 2017, played a concert with up-and-coming talents in the series »Meisterschüler – Meister« in 2018, he is now offering a mandolin workshop again. At the end of the courses, the up-and-coming musicians will present their progress to the festival audience as part of the masterclass concerts. The application deadline for participation is 15 April.

In the concert series »Meisterschüler – Meister« the exceptional Swiss flutist Maurice Steger, known for his lively and technically brilliant style of playing, passes on valuable suggestions on technique and interpretation to the next generation. Together with the musicians Paula Pinn (recorder, baroque bassoon), María Carrasco Gil (baroque violin, baroque viola), Konstanze Waidosch (baroque cello, viola da gamba) and Sara Johnson Huidobro (harpsichord, organ) of the ensemble Marsyas Baroque, he will perform early to late baroque works by Georg Philipp Telemann, Marco Uccellini, Giovanni Battista Fontana, Johann Sebastian Bach and others.

The British composer Alex Paxton will be awarded the Hindemith Prize 2023. The prize honours young contemporary composers for the 34th time and is endowed with 20,000 euros. »Alex Paxton is a champion of musical co-existence and has developed an extremely modern and forward-looking style. His craftsmanship is particularly evident in the way he orchestrates his works. His basic sound, which always remains varied in itself, in combination with his humour, has completely enthused us«, says Dr. Christian Kuhnt, artistic director of the SHMF and chairman of the jury. The prize is sponsored by the Hindemith Foundation (Blonay/Switzerland), the Rudolf and Erika Koch Foundation, the Walther and Käthe Busche Foundation and Gerhard Trede Foundation, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the State of Schleswig-Holstein. The prize-winners' concert will take place on 14 August in the Kesselhaus of the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts in Kiel.

Leonard Bernstein Award

This year's Leonard Bernstein Award, endowed with 10,000 euros, goes to Vivi Vassileva. Born into a Bulgarian family of musicians in 1994, the percussionist came to her instrument through a group of folk artists on the beach of Karadere on the Black Sea coast. At the age of 16, she was accepted at the University of Music and Theatre in Munich, where she completed her Bachelor of Music degree with Raymond Curfs and Peter Sadlo. She is currently studying with Martin Grubinger at the Mozarteum Salzburg. In her concerts, she presents the diversity of percussion, juxtaposing classical works with rarely heard or premiered arrangements and compositions or resorting to unusual percussion instruments made from recycled materials. Jury member Dr. Christian Kuhnt justifies the decision in favour of the prize winner by saying: »Vivi Vassileva is a great percussionist and has an engagingly pleasant and creative personality. It is also particularly exciting how she considers issues of sustainability in her work. We are incredibly pleased to honour her with the Leonard Bernstein Award and look forward to many years together.« The award, sponsored by the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, has been presented at the SHMF since 2002 and has established itself as a career springboard for young talent in the classical music scene. The prize-winners' concert will take place in Lübeck on 14 July.

Festival Choir

Every year, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Choir is made up of motivated singers who perform great choral works under professional guidance. This year, on the occasion of the London focus, the oratorio »Messiah« by George Frideric Handel and an a cappella programme with both secular and sacred works by Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams, among others, will be performed. Choir director Nicolas Fink is the conductor.

Offers for families

Family concerts introduce the youngest festival-goers to classical music. Together with conductor Holly Hyun Choe and the festival orchestra, KiKA presenter Juri Tetzlaff revives Leonard Bernstein's concert series »Young Peoples's Concerts« and deals with the question: Who was Leonard Bernstein as a composer, mediator and conductor? Together with the Süddeutsche Bläsersolisten PROFIVE, Juri Tetzlaff will also transport the audience to the colourful and dazzling underwater world of the »Little Mermaid«. The Austrian band Louie's Cage Percussion presents a wide range of instruments from percussion to vocals in a firework of sound, and Daniel Hope also presents two family concerts as part of his portrait: on the violin and as a narrator, he whisks listeners away to the stories of »Ferdinand the Bull« and »Paddington Bear's First Concert«. Two children's music festivals are also aimed specifically at children, taking place on 19 and 20 August at Gut Wotersen. Here, young SHMF visitors from the age of five, together with parents and siblings, will experience concerts, hands-on activities and a varied supporting programme.

»Musikfeste auf dem Lande«  

The »Musikfeste auf dem Lande« take place at the most beautiful estates in Schleswig-Holstein - Hasselburg, Stocksee, Emkendorf, Pronstorf and Wotersen. In addition to the idyllic countryside and farms, the audience can expect a varied programme of concerts by established artists as well as young talents. The programme will be released on 27 April.

New venues

In 2023, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival will be hosted for the first time in the Michaeliskirche in Kaltenkirchen. With the Hauptkirche St. Nikolai and the Fabrik, two new venues will be added in Hamburg. In Kiel, the Hebbelschule is a new addition, as are the Savoy Kino in Bordesholm, the Filmtheater Burg on Föhr, the BBZ Dithmarschen in Heide and the church in Schönberg. In Lübeck, the Fischerkirche St. Andreas and the St. Georg-Kirche celebrate their premiere as SHMF venues.

Sponsors of SHMF 2023

The Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival has enjoyed broad support from the business community from the very beginning. We thank our sponsors for their partnership and active 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, mobility partner BMW Group and our media partner NDR make a very significant contribution. We are also pleased to welcome another financial institution as a sponsor alongside the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe: IB.SH has signed a three-year contract as a new orchestra partner.

We would also like to thank 46 concert sponsors, four product partners and all 47 members of the Business and Music Initiative. With their monetary contributions and personal commitment, they shape and mould our platform for business, culture and society.

Thank you

The Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Foundation would like to thank the Aldra Fenster und Türen GmbH, the Bund Deutscher Nordschleswiger, the Claussen-Simon-Stiftung, the EUROIMMUN Medizinische Labordiagnostika AG, the Förderkreis Musik in der Kirche Flemhude, the Gemeinde Rellingen, the Großhansdorf Stiftung, the family Dr. Hannelore Murmann, the Musik in der Stadtkirche zu Glückstadt e.V., the Georg Plate Foundation, the Possehl Foundation, the Hanseatic City of Lüneburg, the KIM Kultur in Marne e.V., Dr. Carl Hermann Schleifer, the City of Bad Oldesloe, the City of Bad Schwartau, the City of Kappeln, the City of Neumünster, the Sonderburg Kommune, the foundations of the Sparkasse Holstein, the Stiftung Dom zu Lübeck, the Ulbrich Foundation, the Herbert Voigt GmbH & Co. KG and the ZEIT Foundation Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius.

The indispensable music education activities of the SHMF are generously supported by the Possehl Foundation, the Oscar and Vera Ritter Foundation, the Mathias Tantau Foundation, the Weiland Cultural Foundation Henning Hamkens, the NORDMETALL Foundation, the Nordkolleg Rendsburg and the ACO Group. The Fielmann family also continues its patronage of the SHMF.

The Festival Association, with its approximately 8,000 members, also supports in particular the Festival's work with young musicians. A big thank you goes to the donors of the Festival Orchestra's circle of benefactors for their generous commitment. The Festival Association would also like to thank the 300 volunteer members of the advisory board. With enormous commitment and specially acquired donations, they provide for the physical well-being of the artists from all over the world.

Media partner NDR

NDR is accompanying the SHMF as a reliable media partner again this year. The »Schleswig-Holstein Magazin« regularly reports on the highlights and central events of the music summer. The programme »Schleswig-Holstein 18:00« is also dedicated to the SHMF, among other things. In addition, there are regular reports on the SHMF in the radio programmes NDR Kultur and NDR Info as well as on NDR 1 Welle Nord, here also on Mondays to Fridays in »Von Binnenland und Waterkant« between 7 and 9 pm. NDR Fernsehen will produce live for 3Sat the opening concert of the SHMF with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra conducted by Alan Gilbert. NDR Kultur also broadcasts the SHMF opening concert live on the radio and also broadcasts other concert recordings that cover the entire musical spectrum of the SHMF programme. In addition, there are many artist portraits and concert reports, including in the programme »NDR Kultur - Das Journal« on NDR television. A comprehensive overview of the programme, concerts and stars, exclusive photos and background information is also available online at and at

One presale, two steps

The written advance sale begins on 23 February 2023. As of now, concert tickets can be purchased at It is also possible to order tickets by email to, by post (SHMF Ticket Office, Postfach 3840, 24037 Kiel) or by fax (0431-23 70 711). Advance ticket sales by telephone will start on 10 March 2023. From then on, SHMF tickets can be ordered via the ticket hotline (0431-23 70 70).