The Maribor Festival has its origins in the Festival of Baroque Music, which was organised for the first time in 1964 by the Concert Management Maribor. Under artistic direction of the pianist and professor Janko Šetinc, the festival was held in 1994 with its concept and name changed to Musical September. It then expanded with more venues around Maribor (Ptuj, Slovenj Gradec, Dornava, etc.) and gradually became one of the major classical music festivals in Slovenia.

Festival Maribor
Collegium Musicum Maribor with Janko Šetinc (Festival of Baroque Music 1973)

Janko Šetinc, the conceptual project leader of Musical September, was succeeded as the Festival’s artistic director by the horn player Radovan Vlatković, one of the most renowned chamber musicians in the world. Musical September distinguished itself with a refined programme, high-level performances by internationally acclaimed chamber musicians and, above all, its unique approach to organisation. With only a few exceptions, the invitations to the Festival were not sent to chamber ensembles with a pre-defined concert repertoire but rather to top musicians – soloists, who then created ensembles in Maribor taking into account musical programme selected by the artistic director.

Radovan Vlatković (Musical September 2004)

In 2008, a new dimension and a new name was given to the Festival, i.e. the Festival Maribor, and a new artistic director was appointed – Richard Tognetti, an exceptional violinist, conductor and composer. Under his leadership the Festival retained its own production and festival-specific programmes and ensembles. The number of concerts increased and in addition to chamber music concerts, the programme also included orchestral programmes of the Maribor Festival Orchestra.

Richard Tognetti (Festival Maribor 2008)

The year 2016 marks the beginning of new artistic cooperation with the renowned cellist and conductor Nicolas Altstaedt. Inspired by his fierce musicianship, the Festival continues to develop unique chamber and orchestral concerts, with exquisite Slovenian musicians and prominent international guests.

Nicolas Altstaedt (Festival Maribor 2017)