Conjecture – study – reflect

“No-one is born a master.” That sounds familiar to every one of us, sometimes meant as encouragement, sometimes as comfort. Mozart did not always get it right first time, either, even though Goethe called him “a miracle”. Mozart was a person who lived and breathed music. “Everything has already been composed – but not yet written down” (Komponirt ist schon alles – aber geschrieben noch nicht), he reported to his father. Musicological researchers have long since abandoned the romantic cliché of Mozart’s pen being guided by a supernatural power. “You know that I am fully immersed in the musique – that it fills up my whole day – that I like to conjecture – study – reflect,” he informed his father on 31 July 1778.

The cover of this season’s brochure shows an enigmatic object that fires the imagination with its radiance, its colours and its forms. Something is pulsating with life here. Seeming chaos developing into well-ordered structures. Different patterns are visible from a distance than from close up. Anyone trying to figure out this three-dimensional flower-like object may perhaps discover corresponding traits in Mozart: His creative urge, his spirit of innovation and his willingness to expand his musical horizons are boundless, and yet they all merge to create a single entity. In his musical output, his in-depth study of his musical predecessors, his attentive observation of the contemporary European music scene and his outstanding composition skills are inseparably interwoven to form a consummate whole, which is exemplary and has captivated audiences to this very day. The motto of the 2023 season is “Conjecture – study – reflect”: Fascination Mozart.

By re-examining the fascination of Mozart and highlighting the nature and intensity, inspiration and trailblazing function of his musical output in this year’s programme, we are also posing the question: what does it mean to live entirely for music today?

The concerts and projects of the 2023 Mozartfest illuminate how different generations of music makers have learned from each other over the centuries. Where can traces of continuation be discerned? How is musical appropriation conveyed through adaptation, interpretation, transformation? The Mozartfest provides a playing field for musical experimentation. The “unexpected” series offers exciting programmes to those willing to expand their musical horizons, those looking to enjoy classical music away from the concert hall. These programmes are put together specifically for Würzburg by young concert designers and include the “Freispiel” (free play), a platform developed in last year’s MozartLabor, and the “MozartExotikum” presented by the young percussionist Leonie Klein in the newly inaugurated generator building on the Bürgerbräu premises. By offering such a wide range of different events, the Mozartfest invites you to “immerse yourself fully in the musique”, as the composer himself expressed it.

Ragna Schirmer explores the fascination of Mozart in a new way

The pianist Ragna Schirmer has been constantly immersed in music since her early childhood. There is no clear boundary between her work as a pianist and as a teacher. She promotes young talent with the same passion with which she also forges and fosters her artistic partnerships. Over recent years, Ragna Schirmer could be seen and heard at the Mozartfest as an inquisitive, socially committed and approachable person, as “politically one of the most intelligent, prudent and energetic artists of our country” (quote from the FAZ newspaper). This amazingly versatile artiste étoile will appear in a wide range of settings in the 2023 season: in the MozartLabor, with Oskar Schlemmer’s “Triadic Ballet” in the Museum im Kulturspeicher (museum in the culture warehouse) for school classes and adults, and on the road with the “Blauer Eumel”. She will tell us all about her closeness to Mozart on six evenings in the Residenz: in concerts with orchestras from Finland and the UK, as a chamber musician together with the Schumann Quartet, with scholarship winners from the MozartLabor and at a piano recital with commentary.

The Mozartfest 2023 presents itself with a top-class program

The concerts in the rooms of the Würzburg Residenz form the heart of our programme, presenting first-class artists who are keen to explore Mozart and his links to the present in their own particular way. One example is the pianist William Youn who, together with the Munich Chamber Orchestra, will perform not only Mozart’s piano concerto No. 9 in E-flat major KV 271 but also a new concerto inspired by Mozart written by the South-Korean composer Younghi Pagh-Paan – Mozart juxtaposed. Another exclusive project at this year’s Mozartfest is a concertante performance of an operatic rarity, which was created jointly by several composers around Mozart in Vienna one year before he wrote the “Magic Flute”. “The Magic Island or The Philosopher’s Stone”, featuring a team of top-flight soloists including Daniel Behle and Michael Schade.

The motto of “Conjecture – study – reflect” also plays an influential role in our established platforms like the MozartLabor or “M PopUp”. The latter is curated by Hanni Liang and her students at the University of Music and Theatre Munich and will run under the banner of “StadtBegegnungen” (city encounters) during the four weeks of June. With the “M PopUp”, just as with all the other evenings in the programme, the Mozartfest aims to offer meeting points where different generations can discuss and enjoy music. That is its contribution towards Würzburg’s “Year of the Senior Citizens”. Such initiatives, which intend to celebrate the contemporary and allow more people to get involved in classical music, are among the Mozartfest’s characteristic traits and point the way to the future. The German Federal Cultural Foundation will generously subsidise the Mozartfest in the upcoming four years, giving it the requisite latitude for further “contemplation” of new concert formats with inquisitive boldness together with artists and audiences. That is a token of recognition and appreciation we are proud of and yet another incentive for us to continue along our chosen path.

We invite you to delve into the multi-facetted programme of the Mozartfest 2023 and be captivated by Mozart’s music!

Evelyn Meining
Artistic Director of the Mozartfest Würzburg

As of 27.1.2023

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Program Facets

The Würzburg Residenz, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, churches, monasteries, wineries, palace gardens or industrial monuments are the stages for a multi-faceted cornucopia of events in which the focus is on shared appreciation and exploring aural sublimities.

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