Thursday, July 24, 2014

Leipzig, the city of heroes and music

Leipzig, with a population of approximately 519,000, is the largest city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. Since the 17th century, Leipzig has reigned as a major European center of learning and culture, thriving especially in the fields of music, astronomy, and optics.
It later played a crucial role in the fall of communism in Eastern Germany. Following the Reunification of Germany, Leipzig underwent significant change with the restoration of historical buildings and the development of a modern transportation infrastructure.

First documented in the 1015, Leipzig has fundamentally shaped by the history of Saxony and the nation of Germany. The city has always held a reputation as a place of great commerce. The Leipzig Trade Fair remains the oldest, and most internationally important, trade fair in the world since its beginning in the Middle Ages.

Leipzig probably receives most of its international recognition, however, for its rich and diverse musical history. Johann Sebastian Bachfamously worked in Leipzig from 1723 to 1750. 1813 marked the birth of composer Richard Wagner in Leipzig.Felix Mendelssohn established Germany’s first conservatory of music in Leipzig in 1843, and personally invited Robert Schumann to study there. Gustav Mahler served as conductor at the Leipzig Theater from 1886 to 1888 where he received great acclamation for completing and presenting Carl Maria von Weber’s opera “Die Drei Pintos.”
The conservatory is now theUniversity of Music and Theater, offering students a broad variety of both performance and education studies in all orchestral instruments, voice, interpretation, coaching, piano chamber music, orchestral and choral conducting, and composition. Musical styles studied at the University include jazz, popular, musical theater, classical, and sacred.
The city’s musical tradition is also reflected in the worldwide fame of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the choir of the St. Thomas Church. Leipzig has offered for the past sixty years the country’s oldest “School Concert” program, presenting more than 140 concerts annually, educating and inspiring over 40,000 children through music.

Leipzig hosts a multitude of annual cultural events throughout the year, including an a capella vocal music festival, Bachfest in honor of Johann Sebastian Bach, the city’s famous holiday Christmas Market, Jazztage Contemporary Jazz Festival, Stadtfest City Festival, and the Pop-Up Independent Music Trade Fair and Festival.

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