As I write the introduction for the festival’s programme booklet, we are in one of the hottest periods of the year. With our hands full of work and with ever-increasing anticipation, we are counting the days to the new festival. And this festival really is not an everyday event. Passionate music performance is also becoming less and less everyday. Unfortunately, the worthy habit of regularly attending concerts, too, is on the wane.
It would come as no surprise to me if you admitted that you attend live performances of classical music above all when the performances are part of a festival. A festival is, after all, a celebration. And it is worth coming to a real celebration, especially if it promises good company. At the Maribor Festival, we are well aware of this – our good company is of a musical kind, and it is always our top priority.
We know that a good celebration must be unforgettable. We are, after all, celebrating something special. Something that brings us enormous joy, that fills us up, that gives us meaning and keeps us going. We normally celebrate moments of concentrated completeness and deepest purity: joining a loved one, the birth of a child, a special achievement. Celebration can also be intimate, that inner celebration: when we read a book that touches us in the most sensitive places, or when we listen to music that we are convinced conveys feelings such as those that arise in us during decisive life events. These are moments when we are overcome by the power of life and when our hearts beat faster.
Let me confide in you: music is one of the most loyal and attentive companions in my life. It conquered me with its intimation of the infinite dimensions of human imagination and depth, with the promise that it would reveal the world to me in its beautiful reality and give me a taste of all of the emotions, including those that still awaited me. Music then fulfilled these promises, it followed me everywhere, with the loyalty and dedication of a best friend. And, at least in one way, it still remains unsurpassable: nothing and nobody has been able to communicate the feeling of passion as well as music; it is so good in this respect that – like many before me – I have begun to believe that music is passion itself.
At the Maribor Festival, we are deeply convinced of the vital power of music. This certainly holds true for one of the most vivacious musicians I know, Nicolas Altstaedt, who will determine the image and sound of the Maribor Festival for the next three years. Nicolas Altstaedt will be followed by the dedicated musicians of the Haydn Philharmonic, an orchestra that, under his artistic direction, creates a new vision of shared music making. Numerous Slovenian musicians will also take part, performing under the direction of Altstaedt, as well as with pianist and conductor Alexander Lonquich, a great connoisseur of art and a tireless researcher, but above all a spirited musician, with whom each concert is transformed into intense, selfless submission to music. We are glad to again have an opportunity to collaborate with the Slovenian Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra and the Slovene National Theatre Maribor Symphony Orchestra. With the latter, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of its first, dazzling performance in Maribor, top horn players Dávid Kutas, László Seeman, Mahir Kalmik and Boštjan Lipovšek will perform under the guidance of a rising star, the young Hungarian conductor Gergely Dubóczky. With our thoughts focused on children and everyone who is still inspired by children’s playfulness and curiosity, we have come up with the events of this year’s Maribor Festival Among Children. Throughout the festival, the Vetrinj Mansion will host the exhibition The Garden of Sounds
by Peter Kus, inviting visitors to view, explore and experiment. The festival Saturday will be especially lively, with a series of concerts to delight and engage children and their families. On Saturday 22 September, make sure you are near the Vetrinj Mansion and the Regional Museum Maribor! Even more secrets of the power of music will be revealed by the sound performance Bumm, krach, peng
, which, with its creator Peter Kus and a mixed international ensemble, has enjoyed outstanding success both in Slovenia and at high-profile venues abroad.
Again this year, we are proud of the harmonious cooperation with our coproducers, the Slovene National Theatre Maribor and the Maribor Conservatory of Music and Ballet. We are also grateful to the City Municipality of Maribor, one of the few bodies that does not close its eyes to the special significance of art, for its support, and to everyone else who has supported us again this year.
Let me conclude this introduction on a personal note, with the simple, all-embracing question: What does music mean to me? Wings, when you think you can fly. A journey, when no others suffice. Life, when it seems that you are not really living it. Consolation. Company, the soundtrack of life ... Thus, it is with the passion of the heart and the power of music that we outline this musical celebration, the new edition of the Maribor Festival. I am sure that we will see each other again!
Barbara Švrljuga Hergovich
Artistic Director of Concert Management and the Maribor Festival
Narodni dom Maribor Cultural Centre