With a concert by the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, this year's Kissinger Sommer came to a glittering conclusion on the evening of 16 July in the Max Littmann Hall. The 37th edition of the festival offered a top-class and varied musical experience with 54 concerts under the motto "La Dolce Vita". For the second time, artistic director Alexander Steinbeis was responsible for the programme, which followed Italy's attitude to life, music and composers, as well as numerous admirers whose longing for the south has also left its mark on their work. With an average occupancy rate of 80 percent, a record result was achieved.
On 31 festival days, the Kissinger Sommer was once again able to offer a prominent, multi-faceted and varied programme. The core of the festival's brand includes guest performances by top-class orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the German Symphony Orchestra Berlin, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, the WDR Symphony Orchestra, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, the Venice Baroque Orchestra, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Munich Radio Orchestra and the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Together with world-class conductors and soloists, they have provided enthusiastically received concert experiences in the Max Littmann Hall. The programme has also included piano recitals, chamber concerts ranging from duos to larger ensembles, musical readings, promenade concerts, the traditional Kissinger LiederWerkstatt, jazzy open-air formats with the NDR Bigband, among others, summer matinees and classical-electronic encounters. This time, the Luitpold Prize of the Friends was awarded to violinist María Dueñas.
With its open, free and low-threshold events, the festival succeeded in anchoring its presence in the city even more strongly and in picking up and inspiring Kissingen residents and guests musically in their everyday lives: Among other things, with ten Prélude concerts, which were jointly performed by members of the guest symphony orchestras, local Kissingen ensembles and musicians from the Italian partner town of Montecatini Terme in public places, but also with the second Kissingen "Symphonic Mob", a large play-along orchestra in which more than 600 amateur musicians and members of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin made music together in the open air in the Kurgarten under the direction of Kent Nagano.
In addition to numerous radio broadcasts in the programmes of BR Klassik, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and Deutschlandfunk, five concerts of the Festival could also be experienced as live video streams on the internet; BR Klassik broadcast one concert, and the Kissinger Sommer itself broadcast four others as part of its music education project "Gesund mit Musik" (Healthy with Music), with which the Festival brings the analogue concert experience in a digital way to people who cannot or can no longer come to the concert themselves: With live streams in partner institutions from the health sector, which also offered a thematically appropriate supporting programme on site. In this context, the Kissinger Sommer would like to thank the Federal Ministry of Health for its generous support, and the Free State of Bavaria and the District of Lower Franconia for additional support.
With the sale of more than 20,000 concert tickets and a capacity utilisation of 80 percent, the Kissinger Sommer 2023 had a record year, far surpassing even the festivals before Corona. More than 5,000 people also took advantage of the free offers on site; the free streaming offers of the Kissinger Sommer on Youtube and Facebook had also been accessed over 8,000 times via the various platforms by the end of the festival.
This is a sign of the great need for low-threshold offers, and it proves how important and right it is to inspire new target groups for culture, to make the community-building experience of music accessible to all people – and to fulfil this social responsibility also and especially as a music festival. This broad and socially significant commitment was, is and will not be possible without numerous supporters. The Kissinger Sommer would therefore like to express its sincere thanks for the generous contributions of the town of Bad Kissingen as the sponsor of the festival and its equally generous partners and sponsors, first and foremost the Free State of Bavaria, the District of Lower Franconia, the County of Bad Kissingen, the Sparkasse Bad Kissingen, the Otto Ettari company, the Bad Kissingen public utility company, the Anton and Katharina Schick Foundation, the Laboklin and DT&Shop companies, the Schick Group and the Saale-Zeitung newspaper, the numerous other supporters from the business world and the media, and especially its sponsoring association and the many private donors.
In the aftermath of the festival, the Kissinger KlavierOlymp will offer the opportunity to meet the stars of tomorrow in pianistic competition from 5 to 8 October 2023. The winners can then be experienced at the following summer festival. The next Kissingen Summer will take place from 21 June to 21 July 2024.