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Date: 15.07.2019



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2017 | 500 Years of Reformation

Reformation in Leipzig © Dirk Brzoska
The Reformation was a formative event of Leipzig. In 2017, its 500th anniversary will be celebrated with the “Kirchentag on the Way” according to the motto “Music.Debate.Life”. 

Half a millennium ago, Leipzig played a decisive role to the unfolding of the Reformation. In 1519, the city was the scene of a heated and eloquent public debate between Luther and his opponent Johannes Eck, who was loyal to Rome. This clash of theologies over indulgences and the papacy eventually led to Luther’s break with Rome.

Later, it was Bach who set Luther’s words and ideas to music like no other. More than 30 hymns by Luther have been preserved to this day. Many of them were used by Johann Sebastian Bach as a basis for multi-part music for choir and organ adaptations, which have never lost their captivating appeal.

And so, almost 500 years later, visitors will be able to hear Protestant music-making from University Music, the St. Thomas Boys Choir and trombone bands. Besides the musical legacy, thematic guided tours, such as “In the Footsteps of Luther through Leipzig” or “Luther and Bach”, numerous exhibitions and authentic Luther places including Luther’s favourite restaurant, “Auerbachs Keller”, bring history to life.
Luther in Leipzig

Retrospective 2016 | Max Reger Anniversary

Commemoration of the famous composer

Max Reger Logo
2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Max Reger. Paul Hindemith once said about the composer: “Max Reger was the last giant in music.” Reger was famous for his organ compositions; he also composed chamber music and worked as a conductor and pianist. He spent several years in Leipzig, amongst others as university music director, and died here on 11 May 1916.

The City of Leipzig dedicates an anniversary year to the great master.  Under the patronage of Herbert Blomstedt, a Max Reger Festival was held from 8-20 May 2016 which offered a long “Reger Organ Night” in Leipzig’s churches, festive concerts with the Gewandhausorchester and St. Thomas Boys Choir, a musicological conference and many more events.
Leipzig’s biggest classical music festival Bachfest Leipzig (10-19 June 2016) commemorates the composer, too, by exploring the harmonious connection between Max Reger and Bach under the banner “Secrets of Harmony”.
The Max Reger Festival

Retrospective 2016 | 25 Years "Wave Gotik Treffen"

Wave-Gotik-Treffen © Mira Held
In 2016, the diverse music and culture festival celebrated its 25th anniversary. The WGT – short for "Wave-Gotik-Treffen" – had emerged in the years following the Peaceful Revolution and has been held in Leipzig since then. It had turned into the largest gathering of dark subculture fans in the world. During the four days of the festival, some 20,000 visitors join concerts, parties, opera performances, exhibitions, medieval markets and readings. All of Leipzig turns into a black colourful catwalk– to the delight of both residents and tourists. For this year's WGT (13-16 May), a special anniversary programme with some of the scene’s biggest names as well as promising newcomers was organized.

The importance of the festival for the city is emphasized by the exhibition “Leipzig in Black. 25 Years of Wave-Gotik-Treffen” which can be found in the "Stadtgeschichtliche Museum Leipzig". Beside a chronology and personal anecdotes, video and audio recordings as well as authentic exhibits regarding fashion, music and body aesthetics bring the artistic variety of the Wave-Gotik-Treffen alive and impressively reflect the world view of the dark alternative scene.

Retrospective 2015 | 1,000 years of Leipzig

An important anniversary for the city in 2015

Leipzig, once a Slavic settlement called Lipsk, was first documented in 1015 in the chronicles of Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg, who gave "Urbs Libzi" as the place of death of Eido I, Bishop of Meissen. Thus began the eventful and fascinating history of the city of Leipzig.

Every year in November, the City History Day takes place, featuring a series of events which provides a forum both for academics and students of the popular history of Leipzig, and links contemporary and historical themes. Since 2009 the Day has been an integral part of academic preparations for the city's anniversary celebrations in 2015. This anniversary year is all set to go into the history books and will feature a large number of academic and cultural highlights.
History of Leipzig
Program 1000 Years of Leipzig

Retrospective 2014 | 25 years since the Peaceful Revolution

Autumn 89 - The Awakening of Democracy

On 9 October 1989 over 70,000 citizens of Leipzig gathered on the inner ring road to protest against the communist regime, and the dam was finally broken: the security apparatus could no longer pretend that they were simply dealing with "ringleaders" who were being manipulated by "imperialist influences".

These demonstrators clearly represented wide sectors of the population, and the regime's plan to break up the Monday demonstration by force had become impossible to implement.

Each year on 9 October the people of Leipzig and large numbers of visitors to the city gather to celebrate a Festival of Light to commemorate this important day in the journey to German unity.

In 2009, the 20th anniversary of the demonstration, almost 150,000 people took part in a vast procession around the ring road, turning Leipzig into a sea of lights. In 2014 there will be another big celebration in the city and a host of other events to mark the 25th anniversary of the mass protest.
Tracing the Peaceful Revolution
Program Leipzig Festival of Lights 2014

Retrospective 2013 | The Year of Wagner

The 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner; Photo: Stadtgeschichtlichen Museum
Richard Wagner is Leipzig's most famous son, and known all over the world. His musical talent was recognised at an early age. He was a pupil of the Dresden choir school of the Church of the Holy Cross (Dresdner Kreuzschule) and the St. Thomas and St. Nicholas schools in Leipzig before matriculating at Leipzig University. His first composition was performed in 1830 at the Hoftheater in Leipzig, and in 1832 he had his first major popular success with the performance of his Overture in D Minor at the Leipzig Gewandhaus.

The celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner's birth culminateed in the Leipzig 2013 Richard Wagner Festival in the city of his birth.

Musical performances and other events were presented by the Leipzig Opera, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the MDR radio orchestras, the University of Leipzig and the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy University of Music and Theatre. A congress organised by The International Association of the Wagner Societies was part of the Festival, and the Wave Gotik Treffen held a major event at the Monument to the Battle of the Nations to fit in with the Festival. The Leipzig Museum of City History and the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts both prepared special Wagner exhibitions.

Please note: To read a PDF-file you need the Acrobat Reader.
More information: www.richard-wagner-leipzig.de
Richard Wagner - Anniverary Year 2013 (pdf 563.9 kB)

Retrospective 2013 | 200th Anniversary of the Battle of the Nations

In October 1813 over half a million soldiers from almost every country in Europe met on the battlefields surrounding Leipzig, and over one hundred thousand of them lost their lives. The 1813 Battle of the Nations at Leipzig marked the end of French domination of Europe, but it also marked a break from the ideas of freedom, equality and fraternity. To commemorate the fallen soldiers, the Monument to the Battle of the Nations and the Russian Memorial Church were both dedicated in 1913.

The anniversary year was launched in May with a big city festival. Events, exhibitions and festivities took place in Leipzig and the surrounding region right up till the end of November. The climax was the official Festival Week in October 2013. Celebrations took place over four days, each with a different focus, including religion and political history along with battle re-enactments.

Please note: To read a PDF-file you need the Acrobat Reader.
More information: www.voelkerschlacht-jubilaeum.de
Flyer Battle of the Nation Anniverary, deutsch/ english (pdf 436.5 kB)

Retrospective 2012 | 800 years of Thomana

2012 was the year for the St. Thomas triad of the St. Thomas Church, St. Thomas Boys Choir and St. Thomas School to reflect upon its 800-year history.

The three Leipzig institutions have always been a triple pillar of the city's cultural life, and continue today to fulfil their three-fold mission of upholding the faith, creating music and culture, and educating the young.

The THOMANA 2012 anniversary year offered many exceptional musical and cultural highlights during the festival weeks for celebrating the St. Thomas Boys Choir, St. Thomas School and St.Thomas Church.
More information: www.thomana2012.com

The St. Thomas Church

The St. Thomas Church is one of the two major large churches located in the centre of Leipzig; it is the home of the world famous St. Thomas Boys Choir and the final resting place of the great composer and Cantor of the St. Thomas Church, Johann Sebastian Bach. The St. Thomas Church attracts visitors from all around the world who come to attend a service, listen to a motet performed by the St. Thomas Boys Choir and Gewandhaus orchestra, or to enjoy other concerts and organ recitals.


The St. Thomas Boys' Choir

Leipzig's world-famous boys choir can also look back over a remarkable 800-year history. For 27 years it was directed by Johann Sebastian Bach himself. The man who is currently responsible for maintaining and perpetuating the tradition is Georg Christoph Biller, who has been the Cantor of St. Thomas Church since 1992, and is currently involved in producing performances of the entire surviving collection of Bach cantatas in chronological order. The choir is frequently engaged on world tours, but still performs several times a week in St. Thomas Church.

The St. Thomas School

The St. Thomas School was founded in 1212 as a seminary of the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine at St. Thomas, but is now a state school. However it remains firmly rooted in its tradition of Christian-humanist and musical education. Latin and Greek are taught at the school. With its religious roots, St. Thomas attaches special importance to learning about the Christian faith. Richard Wagner himself was a graduate of St. Thomas School.