The Usedom Music Festival has turned its geographic location into its program: every year, the music of the Baltic Sea region is the focal point of the classical music festival. As a common cultural space shared by various people and nations, the Baltic Sea offers a rich variety of fascinating and influential musicians and major composers. That is why the Festival dedicates each season to one country bordering the Baltic Sea, presenting its musicians and music. So far, the stations of this journey have been Russia, Poland, the Baltic States, Finland, Sweden, and Norway, with Denmark to come in 2008. Apart from classical concerts, the Festival also presents Jazz, folk, avantgarde music and fine arts. After all, the overarching idea of music transcends geographic borders and builds bridges between ancient and new music, traditional folklore and modern acoustic art. The Island of Usedom connects Germany and Poland. A sixth of its area and 45,000 inhabitants of the island are located in our Eastern border country. Therefore, international cultural exchange and understanding are among the central tenets the Usedom Music Festival has been dedicated to from its inception. With symphony concerts in the city of Swinoujscie as well as Workshops for young Polish music students, we are building a lasting cultural connection between the two countries. Beyond this, Poland has been the Festival's focal country twice already. In the anniversary year 2018, the focus will be on all countries connected by the sea from 22 September to 13 October.
The Usedom Music Festival does not limit itself to one genre: from solo recitals to evenings of Chamber music with famous ensembles like the Borodin Quartet (Russia), the Danish String Quartet (Denmark), the Artemis Quartet (Germany) or the Kungsbacka Piano Trio (Sweden), to ballet Performances by the Norwegian National Ballet, all the way to grand symphonic concerts with renowned orchestras like the NDR Elbphilharmonic Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Nordic Chamber Orchestra and even concert-performances of operatic arias with Anne Sofie von Otter (2018, anniversary), Anja Silja (Norway 2009, Russia 2012), Ann Hallenberg together with il pomo d’oro orchestra (Sweden 2016), Violetta Urmana (Lithuania 2011) and many more. Each year, the program content and combinations are as varied as the music scene of the country featured. Thus, audiences are taken on a musical journey of discovery. Since 2005, the Festival has been engaging artists in residence who perform in more than one concert as soloists and Chamber musicians. So far, pianists Olli Mustonen (Finland), the Academic Orchestra of Novosibirsk (Russia) and Peter Jablonski (Sweden) as well as pianist Sigurd Slättebrekk , trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth and Violinist Henning Kraggerud from Norway have been artists in residence. Jazz fans also find their interests catered to: for example, the Esbjörn Svensson Trio from Sweden performed in 2006 and jazz legend Jan Garbarek in 2007. About the Usedom Music Festival Anatolijus Šenderovas, Bent Sørensen, Daniel Börtz, Pasi Lyytikäinen, Lise-Lotte Norelius, Peteris Vasks, Gediminas Gelgotas and Esa-Pekka Salonen are composers who have reached beyond the narrow new music scene and whose names have become familiar to the Usedom Music Festival audiences. The wide spectrum of new music is represented by commissions and world premieres, especially of composers, in whose home countries modern music is not just for experts.
Well-known performers from all over the world led the Usedom Music Festival on Germany's easternmost island, but the top artists of the host countries dominate: The conductor dynasty Järvi with Neeme, Paavo and Kristjan for Estonia, Thomas Sanderling and the Philharmonic Orchestra Novosibirsk for Russia, the singers of Lumen Valo and Oli Mustonen for Finland, Bo Skovhus for Denmark, Baiba Skride as artists in residence for Latvia, David Geringas for Lithuania, Krzysztof Penderecki for Poland and many more. Conductor legend Kurt Masur (†) was the first patron of the festival and from 2012 to 2014 he was a regular guest conductor, visitor and teacher at the Usedom Music Festival and on the island of Usedom. On the occasion of its 25th anniversary - a celebration of unity and solidarity in the Baltic Sea region - the Usedom Music Festival presents for the first time the diversity of the music of all nine Baltic Sea countries and Norway in one season.
...one of the most exciting music festivals in Germany and certainly worth a trip to the far north not far from the Polish border due to its original and high quality programme.
Bavarian Broadcasting, September 2016