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Noël Goodwin

The first event described as a festival in this seaside resort on the English south coast was in 1870, when a series of oratorio concerts at the Dome was organized on a subscription basis by Wilhelm Kuhe, a pupil of Tomášek and Thalberg, who came to England in 1847 and settled in Brighton as conductor, pianist and teacher. He organized annual choral festivals from 1871 until 1882, when mounting financial deficits caused them to be abandoned. A similar festival idea was briefly resumed in 1911 by Joseph Stainton, who engaged Elgar, Edward German and Coleridge Taylor as guest conductors, but this failed to take root.

Festivals under the artistic direction of Ian Hunter began in 1967 with a concert by the City of Warsaw PO. In the following year the range was extended by the formation of the Brighton Festival Chorus of 150 voices under László Heltay. An association was established with Alexander Goehr; new orchestral works of his were given in ...

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Josef Häusler

Town in Germany. It was noted in the 20th century for its festival of contemporary music. It was the home of the Fürstenbergs from 1488; they maintained a court chapel and opera which achieved particularly high standards during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and employed musicians such as J.W. Kalliwoda, J.A. Sixt, Joseph Fiala and Conradin Kreutzer. The works of Mozart, Dittersdorf, Umlauf and J.A. Hiller were particularly popular there and Italian works by Cimarosa, Gazzaniga, Piccinni, Sarti, Salieri and Paisiello were frequently heard. It became an internationally known centre for contemporary music between 1921 and 1926, and since 1950 has re-established its reputation.

The Donaueschingen Festival was the first to devote itself exclusively to contemporary music; it is organized by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Donaueschingen, in collaboration from 1950 with the Südwestfunk (SWF), Baden-Baden (which was renamed Südwestrundfunk in 1998 following its merger with the Süddeutsche Rundfunk in Stuttgart). The programmes between ...

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Austrian festival, held each September in Eisenstadt, capital of the Burgenland, where Haydn spent much of his working life in the employment of the Esterházy family. Founded officially in 1987, the festival has developed around the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra under the direction of Adam Fischer. Each festival includes symphony concerts, lieder and chamber recitals, often featuring rare Haydn repertory such as the baryton trios, and the production of a Haydn opera. In addition to the concerts and opera performances, held in the Esterházy palace, one or more Haydn masses are given each year in their liturgical setting in the Bergkirche....

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Malcolm Boyd

A competitive festival of Welsh origin, devoted mainly to music and literature. The word ‘eisteddfod’ (literally ‘a session’) did not come into common use until the 18th century, but the festival to which it refers originated in the medieval gatherings held from time to time to determine the professional requirements and duties of the bards. The earliest of these for which we have reliable documentary evidence was that summoned by Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd at Cardigan in 1176, but it is likely that similar convocations were held even before this date. Lord Rhys's festival is of particular interest because of certain features it had in common with the modern eisteddfod, namely the inclusion of competitions, the awarding of chairs to the victors, and the fact that it was proclaimed one year in advance throughout the British Isles. Similar meetings are recorded in other parts of Wales during the 14th and 15th centuries, the most important being that held by Lord Gruffydd ap Nicolas at Carmarthen in about ...

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Noël Goodwin

An annual series of concerts, opera productions and other events, which has regularly exceeded the implications of its title. It was founded in 1963 by Lina Lalandi, the Greek-born harpsichordist and singer. She originally based the festival in Oxford, making use of several notable university and other buildings. In 1968 six additional concerts were held in London, where a majority of the festival events has since taken place.

From the outset the joint artistic directors were Lina Lalandi and Jack Westrup; in 1971 Lalandi became sole artistic director. The duration of the festival, held in spring or summer, has varied from nine days (Oxford, 1963) to three weeks (Oxford and London, 1971). From the 1970s it comprised between 30 and 40 events. Funds have been provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain, some foreign government sources and a limited amount of private support. A rare combination of musical integrity, resourceful imagination and personal flair on the part of Lalandi enabled the festival to maintain an uncommonly high standard....

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Dutch organization. It was founded in 1945 by Walter A.F. Maas, a Jewish émigré from Mainz, at Bilthoven in the Netherlands. It is based in the Huize Gaudeamus, a villa built in the shape of a grand piano by the composer Julius Röntgen (i), and its aim is the promotion of new music, particularly that of Dutch composers. From 1947 it held an annual music week of Dutch compositions and national and international weeks were held alternately until 1959, when they became fully international. From 1960 the foundation organized concerts of Dutch music abroad, including tours by the Gaudeamus Quartet, and in 1963 the International Gaudeamus Competition for Interpreters of Contemporary Music was inaugurated. More recently the foundation has held a biannual International Composers' Workshop, a workshop for young musicians from France, Germany and the Netherlands, and a number of festivals. The monthly bulletin Gaudeamus informatie was published from 1965...

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Romanian music festival. Held in Bucharest every other year in August and September, it lasts for over three weeks. It was established in 1958, three years after George Enescu’s death, and in his honour. The decision was also politically motivated, as the communist regime of the time was eager to prove its ability as a non-capitalist cultural power. Since then, it has changed on many levels and has become not only the grandest classical music festival in Romania and Eastern Europe, but has gained a growing renown within Europe’s important festival scene.

The festival was organized every three years (and occasionally every two or four years) until 2001, at which point it became a biannual event. Up to 2013 there have been 21 festivals, organized in 1958, 1961, 1964, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2003 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013. The George Enescu International Competition has accompanied the festival ever since its foundation, in the first decades comprising sections for violin, piano, and sometimes voice. But the competition has fewer iterations, being interrupted for a period due to financial reasons, that have affected the festival during ...

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Wilma Tichelaar

A series of international music, opera and dance events, with drama performances and art exhibitions, held annually in Amsterdam in June and July. Until the mid-1980s performances were also held in The Hague, Rotterdam and other Dutch cities.

The festival was initiated in 1948 as a means of revitalizing the nation’s cultural life after World War II. In the early years the Dutch government and local authorities of the participating cities, which funded 90% of the festival’s total costs, sought to attract foreign investment, promote tourism and foster international cultural exchange. By 1995 government funds were reduced to 46% of the total cost of about eight million guilders; approximately 21% came from sponsors. Revenue from ticket sales usually accounted for about 10 to 15%, as ticket prices for the Holland Festival remained quite low compared to festivals in other countries. The remaining revenue came from radio and television broadcasting companies, CD sales, publications, private funds and ...

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[Saptamâna Internaţională a Muzicii Noi; SIMN]

Romanian contemporary music festival. It has been held the last week of every May in Bucharest since 1991. The festival was founded at the initiative of the Union of Romanian Composers and Musicologists and of Ştefan Niculescu (1927–2008), one of the most important Romanian composers of the past generation. It was the first international festival organized in Romania that was entirely dedicated to contemporary music.

It constitutes an important meeting point between artists—composers, performers, and musicologists—from Romania and abroad, undertaking a multicultural dialogue, starting from the newest influences in the musical world. This diversity is also encouraged by the festival’s management, as the Union of Romanian Composers and Musicologists organizes a competition every year, after which they select the artistic director of the future festival, usually a composer. The festival has had the following artistic directors: Ştefan Niculescu (1991, also its founder), Liviu Dănceanu (1992, 1993...

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Bulgarian music festival. The festival began as an initiative of the Ruse Philharmonic Orchestra, the conductor Sasha Popov, and the conductor and composer Iliya Temkov, for the purpose of fostering friendship and cultural cooperation between Bulgaria and the German Democratic Republic. The first concert, given on 10 March 1961, opened with the première of the September 1923 Overture by V. Kazandzhiev. The partnership between the Ruse Philharmonic Orchestra and the musical ensembles of East Berlin Radio grew steadily over the next few years. In 1964–5 the festival was dedicated to new Bulgarian symphonic works, and in 1965 it expanded to include chamber music and other instrumentation. After 1976 the festival has been held in the second half of March. At present the festival is funded by the Municipality of Ruse and other sponsors. Since 1992 the International Music Academy takes place during the festival; the teachers, in various disciplines, have included Vanya Milanova, Mincho Minchev, John Kenny, Robert Cohen, Yuri Bashmet, Patrick Gallois, Erwin Ortner, Markus Stockhausen, Anatol Vieru, Wolfgang Schultz, Sir Neville Marriner, the Arditi String Quartet, Andreas Hermann, Emmanuel Séjourné, and Paul Badura-Skoda....

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Claude Samuel

Annual festival held in Prades, a small mountain village in France, 40 km from Perpignan. In 1939 Pablo Casals exiled himself there as a protest against General Franco's regime in Spain. Ten years later Casals was visited by the violinist Alexander Schneider, who offered him substantial contracts for an American tour; Casals refused, but agreed to the idea of inviting musicians to Prades to perform with him in commemoration of the bicentenary of Bach’s death. The event's success led to its being repeated annually during July and August. The Prades Festival is run by an association whose president is also the town's mayor, and is funded by municipal, regional and national grants. In 1980 clarinettist Michel Lethiec was appointed director. Artists invited have included Rudolf Serkin, Isaac Stern, Clara Haskil, Alexander Schneider, William Primrose, Marcel Dupré, Pierre Fournier and Henryk Szeryng. The programmes, given in the small church of the Romanesque abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, have revolved around works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms and earlier composers. Contemporary music has, however, begun to appear: in ...