Founded in the eleventh century and extended during the baroque period, Ossiach Abbey lies on the shores of Lake Ossiach, surrounded by the scenic mountains of Carinthia, Austria’s southernmost province. It was here that the Carinthian Summer Music Festival came into being in 1969, a festival now ranking among the most important in Austria. Since 1972, Villach, the Carinthian city most Mediterranean in character, has been the Festival’s home away from home.
The Carinthian Summer Music Festival has a special atmosphere with its many venues captivating the hearts both of artists and audiences from all over the world in July and August each year.
World famous artists linked to the Carinthian Summer include Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Gottfried von Einem, Jean Françaix, Ernst Krenek, Arvo Pärt; Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Sir Roger Norrington, Horst Stein; Wilhelm Backhaus, Paul Badura-Skoda, Rudolf Buchbinder, Sir James Galway, Hilary Hahn, Robert Holl, Gidon Kremer, Christa Ludwig, Oleg Maisenberg, Boris Pergamenschikow, as well as the most renowned international ensembles and orchestras.
The Festival’s hallmark, church opera, has over the years contributed to the Festival’s image. Indeed, continuous dialogue between composers, musicians and audiences is nurtured with various events focussing on music appreciation. After Helmut Wobisch, Gerda Fröhlich and Thomas Daniel Schlee the new director of the Carinthian Summer Music Festival from 1st January 2016 onwards is Holger Bleck.