The festival has been taking place from mid-June to mid-July since 1986 . Since Bad Kissingen was close to the border with the GDR at the time, the festival focused in the early years on strengthening the cultural connections between Eastern and Western Europe. Each year, an Eastern European country was a partner of the festival, starting with Hungary in 1986. Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union followed. The festival thus became a meeting place for artists from West and East, especially from the respective partner countries and East Germany. Among the artists of the first years were Ludwig Güttler , Dmitri Sitkowetski , Boris Pergamenschikow and Svjatoslav Richter . After the fall of the iron curtain, the spectrum of the festival expanded. The partner countries now came from all over Europe, plus North America and China.
The program includes baroque music , classical , romantic and modern , chamber music and vocal music . On the one hand there are performances by internationally known artists. The performers who have already performed include the singer Cecilia Bartoli , the countertenor Philippe Jaroussky , the pianists Lang Lang , Evgeni Kissin , Arcadi Volodos , Grigori Sokolow , Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Lars Vogt . On the other hand, young artists also appear, for whom the Kissinger Sommer was often a springboard at the beginning of their careers. So far, these have included David Garrett , Igor Levit and Diana Damrau .
Since its early years, the festival has also provided a platform for contemporary composers such as Alfred Schnittke , Sofia Gubaidulina , Edison Denissow or Aribert Reimann , Wolfgang Rihm , Peter Ruzicka and Udo Zimmermann . Works by Jean Françaix (Dixtuor in 1987), Krzysztof Penderecki (Sinfonietta No. 2 in 1994) and Fazil Say (Sonata for clarinet and piano, op. 42, in 2012) have also premiered. Since 2006 there have been concerts in the “Bad Kissinger Liederwerkstatt” with world premieres, which are developed by contemporary composers with the respective interpreters especially for the Kissinger summer. By 2018, around 80 premieres had already come together as part of the song workshop. There are still world premieres outside of the Liederwerkstatt, for example Concerto No. 1 for violin and orchestra by Gediminas Gelgotas in 2018 and a new version of the opera "Orfeo ed Euridice" by Damian Scholl in 2019 .
Since its inception, the festival has been headed by director Kari Kahl-Wolfsjäger for over 30 years . It ended its activity with the Kissinger summer 2016. In April 2015, the city council of Bad Kissingen appointed Tilman Schlömp , previously head of the artistic operations at the Beethovenfest Bonn , as her successor from the event year 2017. He replaced the concept of the partner countries with focus topics, starting in 2017 with a focus on "1830 - Romantic Revolution". The Kissinger summer 2018 was under the motto "1918 - Departure into the modern age".
The concerts take place in the halls of the Regentenbau and in the Kurtheater Bad Kissingen as well as at venues in the area, such as B. the parish church in Hammelburg , in the Kursaal of Bad Brückenau or in the Maria Bildhausen monastery . In 2015 more than 25,000 visitors came to around 50 concerts. For 2016, the number of visitors is given as just under 30,000.
Every year, the Friends of Kissinger Sommer , founded on January 24, 1992 - after 20 years of existence with over 1,100 members, the largest sponsor of the music festival - awards the Luitpold Prize endowed with 5,000 euros . This sponsorship award is named after the Prince Regent Luitpold von Bayern , the builder of the Bad Kissinger Festspielhaus Regentenbau , and has been awarded since 1999 by a jury made up of experts and laypeople to those young artists who made a particularly positive impression at the respective summer festival.
So far, these award winners have included:
Kissinger Piano Olympics
Connected to the Kissinger Sommer is the Kissinger Piano Olympics , a competition for young pianists in autumn. The prize for the winner is an appearance at the Kissinger Sommer.
- authors, various (1989) "Travel and Exchange", GDR Bulletin, Vol. 15: Iss. 2. http://newprairiepress.org/gdr/vol15/iss2/3/
- Françaix Dixtuor ( Memento of February 11, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
- Jesper Klein: Miss Else is looking for music , Frankfurter Allgemeine , July 4, 2018, p. 11
- Elke Tober-Vogt: As if the composer had overheard nature , Main Post , July 9, 2018
- Thomas Ahnert: How a New Opera Can Do Mourning Work , Saale-Zeitung , July 8, 2019
- Ralf Ruppert: New Intendant from Bonn . Saale-Zeitung , April 24, 2015, page 1
- http://www.t-online.de/nachrichten/id_82627250/klassikfestival-kissinger-sommer-handelt-vom-jahr-1918.html ; http://www.musik-heute.de/16847/kissinger-sommer-2018-mit-aufbruch-in-die-moderne/ ; https://www.welt.de/regionales/bayern/article170290275/Klassikfestival-Kissinger-Sommer-handelt-vom-jahr-1918.html ; http://www.focus.de/regional/hessen/bad-kissingen-1918-aufbruch-in-die-moderne-programm-fuer-kissinger-sommer-2018-estand_id_7801301.html
- Thomas Ahnert: The festival defied the heat ; Saale-Zeitung , July 21, 2015, page 3
- Thomas Ahnert: Art is only available for money. The Friends of Kissinger Sommer was founded 20 years ago . In: Saale-Zeitung of January 12, 2012
- Thomas Ahnert: Popular regulations ; Saale-Zeitung , July 20, 2015, page 6
- Farewell Medals , Saale-Zeitung , July 25, 2016
- The winner is Julian Trevelyan , Saale-Zeitung , July 16, 2017
- Appreciation for Sheva Tehoval at Kissinger Sommer , Saale-Zeitung , July 16, 2018
- Luitpold Prize for Julian Habermann , Main Post , July 15, 2019