Donaueschingen Festival

The Donaueschingen Music Days are organizing a yearly from Southwest Broadcasting in the Danube halls and other places in Donaueschingen Festival of Contemporary Music, which takes place on the third weekend of October. There is usually only of world premieres and is internationally regarded as one of the most important festivals for contemporary music. It is currently sponsored by the state of Baden -Württemberg, the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. For several years, all concerts will be broadcast live on the cultural program of the Southwest SWR2 broadcasting and the Internet.



The Music Festival was founded in 1921 as " Donaueschingen Chamber Music Performances for the promotion of contemporary art of music " by the Fürstenberg music director Heinrich Burkard under patronage of Max Egon II of Fürstenberg and are the oldest and most traditional festival of new music worldwide. In the first concert of the Donaueschingen Chamber Music Performances for the promotion of contemporary musical art on July 31, 1921, the Quartet for two violins, viola and cello was listed Op 16 by Paul Hindemith. In the following years, inter alia premieres of works by Alban Berg, Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern were held in the ballroom of the castle Donaueschingen.


Under the artistic direction of Hugo Herrmann was the establishment of a music festival, the " Nazi beliefs " corresponded. Title of the festival will lure inter alia: " Donaueschingen Music Celebration ", " Old and new chamber music from the Swabian- Alemannic region " and " Oberrheinisches Music Festival ".


Already in 1946 organized the " Society of Friends of Music ", approved by the French occupation government, as "New Music Donaueschingen " a first Festival, still under the leadership of Hugo Herrmann.


In 1949 the " Society of Friends of Music " contact with Heinrich Strobel, the head of the music department of the Southwest Radio Baden -Baden. A collaboration has been agreed. Since then transmits the Südwestfunk the artistic responsibility for the festival. ( Only ) with the entry of the SWF was the programmatic shift in emphasis on orchestral music. Under Strobel line found in October 1950, the " Donaueschingen Festival of Contemporary art of music " instead. For the first time the SWF Symphony Orchestra occurred under the direction of his Chefdirigentens Hans Rosbaud.


After the death of Heinrich Strobel Otto Tomek took over the artistic direction of the festival, which in 1971 received his audience for the first time under the name " Donaueschingen Music Days". First time in 1972 the Charles Sczuka price of Südwestfunk was presented during the music festival.


In 1975, Josef Häusler, the artistic director, from 1981, supported by Christof bitter. Armin Köhler took over the position in 1992 by Josef Häusler.

Since 1993

Starting this year, Armin Köhler holds the artistic director of the festival. In recent years, the Donaueschingen Music Days are open to a wider audience, also made ​​possible by the to 2008 guaranteed funding by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Sound art and alternative presentation and reception take forms under the direction Köhler's a special room.


  • The end of the music? 75 years Donaueschingen Music Days. Documentary (60 minutes) by Harold Woetzel, SWF 1996 ( Online)