Every year, international orchestras, famous soloists, acclaimed ensembles and well in excess of 100,000 visitors flock to the capital of Saxony for the Dresden Music Festival. Music – mostly but not exclusively classical – then reigns supreme throughout Dresden, with performances in the finest city-centre venues, on the banks of the Elbe and in the surroundings.
The Dresden Music Festival has a long and distinguished history as the successor to the museum and palace festivals held by the Saxon electors. A more recent chapter in its story began in 1978 when the East German government decided to organise an annual music festival of international stature. Although this was culture dictated from above, the decision gave rise to a festival whose quality placed it at the pinnacle of international music-making. World stars such as René Kollo, Barbara Hendricks and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau travelled to Dresden to perform in East Germany's music capital, whilst the performances by great visiting orchestras under Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado and Zubin Mehta became the stuff of legend. Today the festival's high standards remain undiminished though the programme now embraces early music, contemporary music, world music, jazz and dance as well as orchestral music, chamber music and solo concerts. The excellent tradition of presenting each year's festival under a new theme also continues as before, which means that new musical worlds are always moving into the spotlight and waiting to be discovered by enthusiastic audiences.
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