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As one of the largest and most highly acclaimed classical music festivals in Europe, the Dresdner Musikfestspiele presents a first-rate program of extraordinary density and variety every year between May and June. In a dialogue with the important and leading voices of the international classical music scene and the unique cultural and historical surroundings, the festival creates exciting bridges between tradition and innovation and appears as an ambassador for an open and cosmopolitan society.

The unique density of concerts with internationally acclaimed soloists and ensembles – ranging from the New York Philharmonic to the Berlin Philharmonic, from Anne-Sophie Mutter to Daniil Trifonov – provide exceptional and top-class encounters during the festival time. In addition to the great voices of the international classical music scene, stars from jazz, rock and pop like Eric Clapton, Sting, Gregory Porter and Jamie Cullum as well as from world music offer unforgettable artistic impressions.
From historical cultural Dresden landmarks such as the Semperoper, Frauenkirche, Residenzschloss or Kulturpalast up to modern industrial buildings and open air – the range of the more than twenty performance venues is impressive and offers the suitable ambience for every concert format.

Seit 2012 verfügen die Musikfestspiele mit dem Dresdner Festspielorchester über einen eigenen auf historische Aufführungspraxis spezialisierten Klangkörper mit dem Schwerpunkt auf dem Repertoire der Romantik.

How it all started ...

Although the Dresden Music Festival has its historic precursors in the »Muses' Games« and »Zwinger Parties« of the Saxon Electors, they owe their current existence to a government decree issued in the midst of the Cold War. From Berlin, capital of the GDR, the SED's Central Committee and Ministers' Council decreed: »Beginning in 1978, Dresden will have an annual music festival of international renown, the Dresden Music Festival!« This enacted musical event had to face considerable competition alone in the former GDR like the »Berlin Festival«, the »Musikbiennale«, the »Handel Festival« among others and had also started with high artistic requirements. Indeed, this decree »from above« proofed to be very productive, and despite a lack of foreign currency, the launched Festival became a cultural event.

World stars such as Marilyn Horne, René Kollo, Barbara Hendricks, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau came to Dresden, following its reputation as a center for music, or to perform with the »Kapelle«. During the the iron curtain era legendary guest performances of famous orchestras included Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic, Claudio Abbado and the Orchestra of the Scala in Milan, Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic.

After reunification the Dresdner Musikfestspiele had to meet new challenges and the Festival had to find its place in a more open Europe as it was growing together. During the more than 30 seasons not only grand operas, ballets and fireworks, following the tradition of the Saxon court, were offered but also orchestra, chamber and solo concerts, early and contemporary music, world music, jazz and dance – a variety that characterizes the program of the Dresdner Musikfestspiele until today. Every year, the Festival presents a new theme continuing a tradition that exists since its inception and thus annually puts the focus on a new musical world that the audience is invited to discover.

Artistic Director Jan Vogler

Since 2009 the internationally renowned cellist Jan Vogler has been Artistic Director of the Dresden Music Festival. Ever since, the festival has expanded its global reach and has broken new ground offering a wide range of programmatic concepts. The success of his artistic direction is visible in increasing visitor numbers as well as positive resonances by the international press.



since 2008Jan Vogler 
2002–2008Prof. Hartmut Haenchen 
2001–2002Torsten Mosgraber 
1993–2000Dr. Michael Hampe 
1991–1993Mattis Dänhardt 
1977–1991Dr. Winfried Höntsch