Dear members of the audience, dear friends of the Carinthian Summer Festival,

The programme of the Carinthian Summer Festival of 2018 is one in which young female artists of all genres get top billing – female jazz musicians, soloists, singers, saxophonists, a female conductor and many more – will be in the limelight in Carinthia between 14 July and 26 August. Moreover, we celebrate two birthdays and the introduction of a new format to this year’s festival, which will again open with its own original Water Music.

Like all art, music has always been a reflection of its day and age. This year, a look into the mirror will show us many familiar things, but the reflection will also contain a few yet unknown elements. After all, the motto of this year’s festival season comes from one of the best known Carinthian folk songs: Übarn See sing ih ume, volla Freud, wia ih bin; wia a Spiagl es Wåssa, is die Welt uma drin. [Hear my song across the lake, full of joy as I am; see the water like a mirror, enclosing the world within.]

The wonderful poetry of this song has not only been an inspiration to me as I planned the festival, but also to the members of my artistic team, who have come up with a Carinthian Water Music which is indeed a Gesamtkunstwerk on and around Lake Ossiacher See. The people from the surrounding region are invited to attend the opening concert with music composed by Manuela Kerer from South Tyrol. The audience will sing the folk song together with Carinthian choirs, brass bands and volunteer firefighters in the grand finale of the Water Music.

The Carinthian Summer Festival also has things in store for the whole family: A House Full of Music, for children aged five and above, performed by Wiener Taschenoper, winner of Austria’s STELLA09 performing arts prize for young audiences. And South Africa’s MIAGI Youth Orchestra, which is back a second time around after their first stint in Carinthia in 2012, again out to enthral the audience through their musicality and sheer joy of performing.

The organ will also play an important role on the festival programme again. The concept for three concerts was devised in cooperation with Klagenfurt’s cathedral organist Klaus Kuchling: organ and silent movie at a parish church of Villach, organ and baroque ensemble at the Abbey Church of Ossiach and a solo recital at the Cathedral of Klagenfurt featuring one of France’s most prominent organists, Olivier Latry.

Perspectives, a series of recitals, will bring the audience novelties or familiar works in a new guise: the renowned baroque ensemble La Venexiana with Monteverdi meets Jazz or Catch, the trio of young clarinet players, whose extraordinary musical education programme Ohrknacker has attracted people to music at the Elbphilharmonie and other European concert venues.

2018 is the year of rising stars, including Aigul Akhmetshina, the winner of the International Belvedere Singing Competition, Sebastian Bru, a young member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ebonit Saxophone Quartet or Emmanuel Tjeknavorian, the 22-year-old violinist from Vienna. It’s no secret anymore: Austrian jazz is not only young, it is also a domain of women. This year’s festival will present three concerts in three venues played by five women in jazz.

The festival is also welcoming back Ensemble Prisma, the Kärntner Sinfonieorchester (Carinthian Symphonic Orchestra) as well as the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, which will celebrate the birthdays of two all-time greats of the Carinthian Summer Festival: Leonard Bernstein and Gottfried von Einem. It almost goes without saying that star pianist Rudolf Buchbinder will also perform at the festival. This, and much more, is what the 2018 festival will bring to you!

Let me extend my heartfelt thanks to the Board, the members of the association, my team and all our partners, the sponsors and patrons of the Carinthian Summer Festival as well as those in the Land of Carinthia and Austria supporting the festival through subsidies.

In pleasant anticipation, I would like to wish you an inspiring, thrilling and enthralling festival year 2018.

Yours sincerely,


Holger Bleck

Artistic & Managing Director