WORLDKINGS - Worldkings News - Europe Records Institute (EURI) – Donaueschingen Festival: World's oldest festival for contemporary classical music

13-01-2021

(Worldkings.org) In 1925, the festival's scope expanded from presenting only chamber music to include choral works; one year later, the offerings included music for wind orchestra.

The Donaueschingen Festival is a festival for new music that takes place every October in the small town of Donaueschingen in south-western Germany. Founded in 1921, it is considered the oldest festival for contemporary classical music in the world, and among the best-known and most prestigious.

In 1913, the Donaueschingen Society of Friends of Music was founded under the auspices of the House of Fürstenberg. The idea soon arose to establish a small festival for presenting young and promising artists. A committee of distinguished musicians, among them Ferruccio Busoni, Joseph Haas, Hans Pfitzner, Arthur Nikisch and Richard Strauss, met in 1921 to discuss possible formats for the event.

The first concert was presented just a few months later. On 31 July 1921 the Donaueschingen Chamber Music Performances for the advancement of contemporary music (Donaueschinger Kammermusikaufführungen zur Förderung zeitgenössischer Tonkunst) gave world premiere performances of music by Alois Hába, Ernst Krenek and Paul Hindemith. 

Three years later, guest composers included Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, and Josef Matthias Hauer, who were among the main representatives of the Viennese twelve-tone technique. In 1925, the festival's scope expanded from presenting only chamber music to include choral works; one year later, the offerings included music for wind orchestra. 

With experimental forms of music and art such as Oskar Schlemmer's 'Triadic Ballet', the festival encompassed an increasingly wide range of activities and became more and more attractive to avant-garde composers and performers alike.

According to en.wikipedia


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