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Spring and summer is when a concert lover's fancy turns to outdoor venues, and to anticipating the festival season. Arts and pop/rock festivals may spring readily to most people's minds, but classical music concerts and festivals are still a big draw and attract many fans--and sterling performers--throughout the world. Below is a list that mixes the best known ones with some that don't gather as much attention, but all are worth attending, and may even make converts out of some classical music haters!
While it is considered the "summer home" of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood's annual summer festival attracts performers and artists from all over the world.
The birthplace of Mozart has much to recommend it, but the town's renowned summer festival has been celebrating the music of Mozart--and other composers--since 1877 (with an interruption here and there, mainly of the war variety).
Eveyr year since its inception in 1946, Prague's Spring Festival has been a preeminent showcase for classical musicians in a city with a notable classical music heritage. It always kicks off with a performance of native Czech Smetana's Ma Vlast (My Country) and ends with Beethoven's Ninth.
The official website proudly declares the Proms to be "The World's Greatest Classical Music Festival." With its prestigious 110-year history (rivalling the Salzburg Festival) and over 70 concerts happening this year, it's hard to argue!
Istanbul does not come readily to mind as place to find a great classical music festival, but this year marks the 34th anniversary of this event, which has attracted many famous and well-known performers in the field, including Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli. The festival also features performances of traditional Turkish music as well as opera and ballet.
The town and the region that so capitvated Cezanne is also home to a thriving, well-regarded opera festival.
Unlike many festivals, which only last a week or two and are usually conducted in the same city or venue, this German Music festival normally lasts a good seven weeks or so, from June to September, and takes places in a wide variety of locations throughout Germany's Baltic Coast region, including Hamburg.
The root of this Swiss festival go back to 1938, when it was founded by Arturo Toscanini. In recent times, the festival has expanded its focus from classical music to include contemporary music and art as well.
This is the 28th year for the Fringe's early music festival, which takes place at the CaixaForum in Barcelona. It is widely regarded as one of the best early music (i.e., Baroque, Renaissance) festivals in the world.
Not just another early music festival! The Musica Antiqua festival was first held in 1964, and has been instrumental in the revival, reinterpretation, and growing popularity of Baroque and Renaissance music in the past forty years.