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 Claudio Abbado, Aigul Akhmetshina, Benjamin Appl, Leonard Bernstein, Karl Böhm, Yefim Bronfman, Grace Bumbry, Montserrat Caballé, José Carreras, René Clemencic, Alma Deutscher, Christoph von Dohnányi, Wladimir Fedossejew, Bernarda Fink, Ádám Fischer, Sir James Galway, Bruno Ganz, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Nicolai Gedda, Valery Gergiev, Emil Gilels, Martin Grubinger, Hilary Hahn, Hans and Martin Haselböck, Michael Heltau, Cyprien Katsaris, Lukas Kranzelbinder, Gidon Kremer, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Marjana Lipovšek, Lorin Maazel, Oleg Maisenberg, Mischa Maisky, Sir Neville Marriner, Zubin Mehta, Tobias Moretti, Riccardo Muti, Sir Roger Norrington, David Oistrach, Seiji Ozawa, Boris Pergamenschikow, Markus Poschner, Will Quadflieg, Ruggero Raimondi, Carole Dawn Reinhart, Katia Ricciarelli, Mstislaw Rostropowitsch, Peter Schreier, Horst Stein, Henryk Szeryng, 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 Artistic & Managing Director of the Carinthian Summer Music Festival from 1st January 2016 onwards is Holger Bleck.