Crystal clear waters shimmering from emerald green to turquoise blue, mostly undeveloped banks, in the middle of the landscape and nature reserve. Weißensee is primarily known as a natural gem – but as summer slowly ends here, a small glamorous music festival has been setting the tone for eight years now: the Weißensee Klassik Festival.
Artistic Director Christoph Semper and Artistic Director Christian Naller deliberately take the concept of classicism broadly when choosing the programme. “It’s so innovative that we have something so classic with us, but we always cover the fringes of classical music. It goes into jazz and pop, as well as in contemporary compositions, some of which are composed by the musicians who play here as well. We always make sure it’s a great and innovative festival. And we want to attract young people too. We don’t want to have any kind of climax, but to bring in four good concerts – each one should be a little different and attract a different audience. That’s our goal.”
Opening night on the party catamaran
This year’s opening will be performed by the Vision String Quartet from Berlin, which promises a program between tradition and modernity with a dose of madness. Audiences can expect a concert at a venue that Wolfgang Muthspiel declared after his 2021 performance to be perhaps the most beautiful concert ever: a concert on a raft in front of Ronacherfels. The audience sits on the beach while the sun sinks into the Emerald Lake. However, what looks like a commercial corresponds to the real situation when a natural gem like Weißensee becomes an open air concert hall and requires no more human performances.
The Little Prince comes to life again in Tin
Last year, a new concert format in particular emerged with the setting of the fairy tale “Soulskin” and became the highlight of the celebration. Additionally, sand art has been shown on overhead projections. In the setting of a centuries-old threshold floor that has been converted into a concert hall, The Little Prince will transition into a new musical life this year on September 1st. “It is certainly no coincidence that The Little Prince has been picked up a lot lately and is experiencing a renaissance. We are in the stage of discovery as a society and this story shows in a simple and straight way how absurd it is to conditioned ourselves and what has happened to us as a society.”
On the third day of the festival, troubadour and opera singer-trained Brian Benner translate songs about life and love, alternating with Christoph Semper and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s quintet clarinet in A Major.
Millennium Requiem offers social criticism
The four-day festival will conclude with a magnificent performance of “Millennium Requiem” by Christoph Semper at the Techendorf am Weißensee church. It is a multi-genre work of ten musicians in a Latin requiem corset. “It’s not a religious service, but it tells the story of today’s young people who are looking for spiritual support,” Zember says. Within the major religions, not many will be able to find this. The composer is himself a soloist and chamber musician, as well as a professor of clarinet at the University of Music and Dramatic Art in Vienna. He says writing the Millennium Mass was very important to him.
For the first time he brought his artwork and personal journey together. As an artist, this should be the most natural thing in the world, but as a classical musician, you’re often so preoccupied with know-how that you often forget to “know why” entirely, says Zember. As artistic director of the Weißnsee Klassic Festival, he is primarily responsible for the programme, although he did not want to give his own work the big stage at his festival: “I always thought there was something fishy about putting the artistic director himself at the center of things. The festival is Christian Naller, and his sister Daniela Knaller, who takes care of the journalistic work. The organization of the festival is – if you will – a family business. As of this year, it has been expanded to include project manager Christian Bergner.
Take advantage of the concert as the first spark
The Weißensee Klassik Festival was born eight years ago – as director Christian Naller puts it – “from a spontaneous idea in a joyful moment”: “It was as if my sister Alamut had tried to raise money for the restoration of the organ in the church. I asked my brother-in-law if he could play a game In church for a useful concert. After the party was over we sat together and said it would be great to have a four-day festival. We toasted it up and said next year we’d do it without realizing what it all meant.
Attractive for vacationers and locals
The organizing team describes itself as somewhat chaotic and spontaneous and is surprised that this idea has already turned into a festival chain. Perhaps this is exactly why the public has described the small festival in Weißensee as particularly charming and sincere and at the same time turned from a welcome holiday entertainment to a reason for many to take a trip to Weißensee – not only for tourists and tourists, but also for the people of Carinthia.
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