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Music from Central Europe

Central Europe is a hotbed of classical music and contemporary musical. Your choice of seasons and venues to hear live performances of your favorite kind of music in cities such as Prague, Budapest, Salzburg or Berlin or in smaller towns that are no less ardent in their love of music for being a little quieter than the urban hubs.

Mozart, Mahler, and Maria, as in “What do you do with a problem like”: Austria and music go together like snow and skis. Who can't hum at least a few bars of 'Edelweiss' or 'The Hills Are Alive'? The story of the Von Trapp family continues to resonate with fans all over the world as the popular 1965 musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer remains a beloved favourite, inspiring plenty of visits to the 'The Sound of Music' city. Mozart and Mahler join Haydn, Bruckner, Schubert, Strauss , and the Vienna Boys’ Choir at the top of a long list of the musically memorable. In Austria you can visit the hometowns and concert halls these masters knew in their lifetimes and choose from an untold number of concerts and festivals to hear the music itself. Maybe even try a few 1-2-3 waltz steps while you’re at it!

Germany's classical music heritage is second to none: Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner are just a handful of the many great German composers whose music is performed throughout the world.
But Germany's musical life is thriving in other respects as well: a wide range of dynamic modern music can be heard at hundreds of jazz clubs, musical theatres and pop/rock events. Germany has events to suit everyone: from techno kids to ageing rockers, goth and punk enthusiasts to boy band fans. Germany is a real Mecca for jazz fans. From blues to big-band, mainstream to avant-garde - local and international stars perform high-quality repertoire, not only in Frankfurt am Main - the "jazz capital" - but also in Germany's smaller towns and regions.

The Czech Republic glitters with musical jewels throughout the year at special holiday times and at a host of festivals throughout the country. Throughout Advent, concerts of Christmas music take place at a number of concert halls and festively decorated churches and the entire country comes alive with the sound of yuletide music. Music festivals throughout the year mean music is yours whenever you visit the Czech Republic. Listen to jazz at the International Jazz Festival Prague or at Jazz Goes to Town in Hradec Králové . After the Prague Spring, Smetana’s Litomyšl is the most widely known Czech festival of classical music. Moreover, the picturesque town of Litomyšl where it is held is now a UNESCO heritage site. Kutná Hora Music Festival, a series of classical concerts held in September is in the unusual and absolutely unique setting of another UNESCO-listed monument, St. Barbara’s Cathedral in Kutná Hora.

The world musical landscape would be very different without Hungary's contribution. Between them, Béla Bartok, Ferenc Erkel, Zoltán Kodály, György Ligeti, and Ferenc (Franz) Liszt revolutionized the performance, composition and teaching of classical music worldwide. Hungarian opera singers are among the best in the world, and Hungarian folk music and dance are still be enjoyed at festivals, concerts or in táncház (dance houses). Devotees of lighter music know that there are many Hungarians among the operetta greats. Performances of Gypsy music by the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra or the Rajkó Orchestra are assured continual full houses - and some Hungarian restaurants feature Gypsy music, so search one out for the ultimate evening of Hungarian entertainment!

Music lovers coming to Poland can choose from among almost 180 orchestras, ensembles and choirs. The National Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw, The Polish Radio National Symphonic Orchestra in Katowice, Sinfonia Varsovia and Simfonietta Cracovia are those in the first league. The Poznan Arte dei Suonatori Orchestra is considered to be one of Europe’s most interesting ensembles playing ancient music. The Lodz Ladies First Symphony Orchestra is a unique phenomenon as consists entirely of women. Polish operas stage works from the classical repertoire, in bold, modern productions at the National Opera in Warsaw. Excellent performances can also be seen in the Dolnośląska Opera in Wrocław, which specializes in spectacular Wagnerian stage settings..

In Slovakia the best-known classical music performing groups are the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, the Slovak Chamber Orchestra, the State Philharmonic Orchestra Košice and the Symphonic Orchestra of the Slovak Radio. How can you not find a program you like? Hear great classical music at a range of summer festivals as well, held in fantastic historical sites and open-air. Organ festivals, vocal competitions, local festivals and theatre shows all keep classical music alive.. Various festivals let young musicians show their stuff on the contemporary side; the best known and most important summer festival is Pohoda in Trenčín, Among other popular festivals are Rock Fest in Rimavská Sobota and the folk and country music festival in Piešťany – but you can also hear real Slovak music quite simply, in a café.

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