The route of the European Organ Festival organised for the first time in 2005 led along the historic Roman road “Via Claudia Augusta”, and in over 50 concerts top-ranking performers resounded in a region whose scenic and cultural appeal served numerous artists as an inexhaustible source of inspiration for hundreds of years. Starting from Landsberg and Augsburg, the festival ended after a period of ten weeks with a concert week in the lagoon city Venice. This European Organ Festival notched up an overwhelming success with an audience of over 10,000.
In 2008 the Euro-Via-Festival “Ways to Rome” coordinated and organised organ and “organ-plus” concerts in ten European nations. The festival started in the beginning of June in Bavaria, and then passed through the European metropolises. Participating cities – all characteristic in a different way for European history – were, amongst others, San Sebastián, Porto, Paris, Toulouse, Munich, London, Copenhagen, Gdansk, St. Florian/Linz, Venice and Palermo.
The Euro-Via-Festival 2008 culminated in an organ festival week in Rome, where organisers, artists and the general public gathered in November for a lively intellectual and musical exchange.
In addition to appearances by long-established stars of the international organ scene as well as high-calibre international instrumental ensembles, the festival also enables meetings with promising young talents. The 2nd Organ Interpretation Competition “Organ City Landsberg”, whose 1st prize winner was involved with “Ways to Rome”, has already been the prelude and forerunner in 2007.
One concern of the Euro-Via-Festival is to offer the mutual exchange of European elite students from various music academies a podium in order to become more familiar with the stylistic characteristics of the various organ cultures of European regions. Moreover, it enables up-and-coming talents to have intensive meetings with the world elite amongst organists.
Music has always unfurled its effect across linguistic and national boundaries, reached the hearts of people, and contributed towards peace and understanding. The church is one of the institutions which have developed a high-calibre musical culture over the course of centuries. The organ has been the genuine instrument of churches for over thousands of years. Furthermore there were started initiatives within the Euro Via Festival, to promote the organ also as a solistic instrument in concert halls.
The linkage of ancient pilgrimage routes – along which art-historically significant churches with high-quality instruments are located – with the experience potential of a “wandering” music festival brings about a lively intercultural exchange of artists, organisers and listeners — a further mosaic stone in the overcoming of European frontiers!
With its great success in 2008 the Euro Via Festival is continuing now in “season” 2009/2010 !
My sincere thanks go to all organisers and artists who have shown an open-minded attitude to the idea of a large European festival and have first enabled this in an intensive two-year preparatory phase.
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