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Under the sign of peace

The 14th International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch ended with a concert by the Ukrainian Mriya Quartet. Concert barn occupancy increased by more than 10 percent

Applause for the Quatuor Danel (c) Oliver Killig

The 14th International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch ended on Sunday, 25 June 2023 with a concert by the Ukrainian Mriya Quartet with the participation of the pianist Kateryna Titova, also from Ukraine. In addition to the Piano Quintet by Robert Schumann, the programme of the emotional final concert included three works by Ukrainian composers: string quartets by Vasyl Barvinsky and Vitaliy Hubarenko as well as the Melody for String Quartet by Myroslav Skoryk. By inviting the Mriya Quartet, the Shostakovich Festival also wanted to send a signal for the preservation of the threatened Ukrainian culture.

Tobias Niederschlag, Artistic Director of the International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch: "The past four days fill me with great gratitude. On the one hand, there are the unforgettable concerts that the participating artists have given us in the truest sense of the word. And on the other hand, there is our unique audience in the Gohrisch Concert Barn, who every year again and again get involved with impressive curiosity and enthusiasm in demanding, sometimes even difficult programmes that can only be experienced in this form in Gohrisch. This is an exclusive caracteristic of our festival. We are already looking forward with great anticipation to the 15th International Shostakovich Days next year, which will once again - let us reveal this in advance - present unknown works of Shostakovich."

Six concerts and one film screening were on the festival programme during the past four days. With 3,000 tickets sold, the occupancy rate of the Concert barn was over 80 % and registered an increase of more than 10 % compared to last year.

Other festival protagonists included the Quatuor Danel, violinist Vadim Gluzman, cellist Isang Enders, pianists Angela Yoffe and Boris Giltburg - both first-time guests in Gohrisch - as well as Yulianna Avdeeva, who performed in three festival concerts. She was one of the artists at the opening concert in the Gohrisch Concert barn, performed a piano recital and was also a soloist at the concert with the orchestra Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and with members of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra conducted by Oscar Jockel on the morning of 25 June. The Festival's Shostakovich Prize was awarded this year to the composer and Shostakovich biographer Krzysztof Meyer.

The 15th International Shostakovich Days Gohrisch will take place from 27 to 30 June 2024.

Schostakowitsch – Schnittke – Meyer

Works by Dmitri Shostakovich, Alfred Schnittke and Krzysztof Meyer set the programme of the 14th International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch, which will take place from 22 to 25 June in the spa town of Gohrisch in Saxon Switzerland. The cooperation partner is the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, which will give a special concert in the Dresden Palace of Kulture on the eve oft he festival.

Dmitri Shostakovich, Alfred Schnittke, Krzysztof Meyer: this triumvirate is the focus of the International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch for the first time. In addition to the eponym, who composed his eighth string quartet in Gohrisch in 1960, two composers are honoured who refer to Shostakovich in their work. With his polystylistic style of writing, Schnittke set the contradictions of the late Soviet era to music like no other. He died 25 years ago in Hamburg. Meyer has been closely associated with the Shostakovich Festival from the beginning. The former friend of Shostakovich and his later biographer celebrates his 80th birthday this year - a welcome occasion for the Shostakovich Festival to honour him with this year's International Shostakovich Prize Gohrisch.

Yulianna Avdeeva, the Quatuor Danel and the Sächsische Staatskapelle with Oscar Jockel

In the Festival's opening concert on 22 June, the Quatuor Danel, one of the world's leading Shostakovich quartets, will perform his String Quartets No. 4 and No. 13. The 13th Quartet will thus be heard for the first time at the Shostakovich Festival. The programme will be completed by the Piano Quintet by Alfred Schnittke, in which the Quatuor Danel will collaborate for the first time with the pianist Yulianna Avdeeva. The 1st prize winner of the Warsaw Chopin Competition 2010 is a guest at the Shostakovich Festival for the fourth time. On 23 June, she will also give a piano recital in the Gohrisch Concert Barn, where she will perform works by Meyer and Mieczysław Weinberg as well as the German premiere of the short piano piece "Murzilka" by Shostakovich and the monumental "Hammerklavier Sonata" by Beethoven. Avdeeva can be heard a third time in Gohrisch this year: as soloist in the performance evening of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden with members of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, which will take place as a matinee on 25 June. In addition to Schnittke's Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra, Meyer's "Metamorphoses" for chamber orchestra and Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony op. 83a are also on the programme - the latter is an orchestral arrangement of the Fourth String Quartet by Rudolf Barshai, which will be heard for the first time at the Shostakovich Festival. The conductor of the performance evening is the young Oscar Jockel, who was recently awarded the Herbert von Karajan Prize at the Salzburg Easter Festival and is at the beginning of a promising career.

Two Duo Recitals: Isang Enders/Boris Giltburg, Vadim Gluzman/Angela Yoffe

On 24 June, two duo recitals are on the programme: in the afternoon, Isang Enders, former concertmaster violoncello of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and once co-initiator of the Shostakovich Festival, and pianist Boris Giltburg will perform Alfred Schnittke's first cello sonata. Giltburg will also present his own piano arrangement of Shostakovich's Third String Quartet in this concert. On the occasion of the awarding of the Shostakovich Prize to Krzysztof Meyer, the latter's second sonata for solo violoncello from 2007 will be performed. In the evening, violinist Vadim Gluzman and pianist Angela Yoffe will perform, among others, the "Suite in the Old Style" and the "Prelude in memoriam Dmitri Shostakovich" by Schnittke as well as an arrangement of Shostakovich's Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 1, which Michael Gluzman, the violinist's father, arranged for violin and piano. The finale will be the large cycle of 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano op. 46 by Lera Auerbach, who took part in the Shostakovich Festival in 2011 as the "Capell-Compositrice" of the Sächsische Staatskapelle.

Hope for a more peaceful future

Last year, the Shostakovich Festival - in view of Russia's terrible war of aggression on Ukraine - already paid tribute to the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, who attended the entire festival as guest of honour. To conclude this year's Shostakovich Festival, the Ukrainian Mriya Quartet will perform works by other composers from their threatened homeland. The Ukrainian word "Mriya" means "dream" and in this context stands for music-making beyond war and the misery associated with it. The last work of the concert is the Piano Quintet by Robert Schumann with pianist Kateryna Titova - this work, which ends both dramatically and euphorically, can be understood as a hopeful signal for a more peaceful future.

Film screening and exhibition

The festival programme will be complemented by a screening of the Soviet documentary "Dmitri Shostakovich - Altovaya sonata" from 1981, in which the directors Semyon Aranovich and Alexander Sokurov look back on Shostakovich's eventful biography through the viola sonata, his last work. In addition, the exhibition "DSCH - Digital Collages" with graphics and Shostakovich portraits by the Dresden artist Anders Winter can be viewed in the foyer of the Gohrisch Concert barn during all four days of the festival.

"Every year, world-class artists respond to our call to the Gohrisch Concert barn, perform programmes that they rehearse exclusively for our festival - and do it without any fee. That always borders on a miracle! This idealism, this enthusiasm for the cause is ultimately due to the artist and person of Dmitri Shostakovich, to whom all the musicians participating in the Festival feel closely connected. We feel that as festival organisers, and that creates an atmosphere in Gohrisch that can only be described as unique." Tobias Niederschlag, Artistic Director of the International Shostakovich Days Gohrisch.

Special concert by the Staatskapelle Dresden

As in previous years, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden will give a special concert on the eve of the International Shostakovich Festival (21 June) at the Dresden Palace of Culture. The orchestra, which has supported and helped to shape the Shostakovich Festival from the very beginning, will perform Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony under the direction of Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Also on the programme is the Trumpet Concerto by Shostakovich‘s close friend, Mieczysław Weinberg, with the exceptional trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger as soloist.

Advance ticket sales

Individual tickets for the International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch go on sale on 19 April 2023. Tickets can be booked at Tickets for the special concert of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden on 21 June 2023 are available at

Another Shostakovich premiere

At this year's International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch, a choral piece composed by Shostakovich by with reference to Ukraine will be premiered.

This year's International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch, which will take place from 30 June to 3 July 2022 in the spa town of Gohrisch (Saxon Switzerland), will once again feature a world premiere by Dmitri Shostakovich: The choral piece "Glory to the Shipbuilders" was added to the programme at short notice and will be heard for the first time in a public concert performance. The a cappella work will be presented at the beginning of the opening concert on 30 June by members of the Saxon Vocal Ensemble under the direction of Matthias Jung in the Concert barn of Gohrisch.

The so far unknown work was discovered by the Russian musicologist Dr Olga Digonskaya, head archivist of the Moscow Shostakovich Archive. Over the past decades, she has brought countless Shostakovich manuscripts to light and was awarded the International Shostakovich Prize Gohrisch in 2021 for her services. The musicologist writes about her latest discovery: "Shostakovich's song 'Glory to the Shipbuilders' is virtually unknown, although its title occasionally appears in musical publications." After extensive archival research, she discovered that Shostakovich gave the song in 1964 as a gift to the workers of the important shipyard "Nosenko" in the Ukrainian city of Nikolayev for its 175th anniversary. Digonskaya discovered the complete text of the song by the Ukrainian poet Aleksander Uvarov and finally also sketches for the choral composition in Shostakovich's legacy: this clearly proves the authorship.

"We are extremely grateful that we can continue the history of Shostakovich premieres in Gohrisch with this new rarity," says Tobias Niederschlag, Artistic Director of the International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch. In recent years, works by Shostakovich have already been regularly premiered in Gohrisch, including posthumous fragments from the opera "The Nose", an impromptu for viola and piano as well as numerous early piano works by the composer. "Olga Digonskaya already told me last year about an unknown choral piece, but there were still many unanswered questions. At the time, no one could have guessed that it was a work with a concrete reference to Ukraine, which has taken on a frighteningly topical relevance in the present time. In the opening concert of this year's festival we put it as a sort of 'motto'."

In addition to works by Dmitri Shostakovich, the programme of the Shostakovich Festival 2022 also includes a number of works by Ukrainian composers - above all by Valentin Silvestrov, who is personally expected in Gohrisch and will be awarded this year's Shostakovich Prize.


 Further information and tickets at

Shostakovich – Silvestrov – Gubaidulina

The programme of the 13th International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch

In its 13th year, the International Shostakovich Festival is dedicated not only to works by Shostakovich, but also to the music of Ukrainian composers. The festival organisers are thus reacting to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, against the background of which the music of Dmitri Shostakovich regains a frightening topicality. The programme includes numerous works by Valentin Silvestrov, probably the most important living composer from Ukraine, who is also expected in Gohrisch in person: The now 84-year-old, who fled from Kiev to Berlin a few weeks ago, is to receive this year's Shostakovich Prize on 2 July 2022. On this occasion, he will also perform his own works on the piano.

Premieres and first performances
In addition, Silvestrov's 3rd String Quartet and his 2 Elegies for String Orchestra will be performed in Germany for the first time at the Shostakovich Festival. The Documentary "V. Silvestrov", made in Ukraine in 2020, will also be shown in Germany for the first time at the festival. In the final concert, pianist Alexei Lubimov and soprano Viktoriia Vitrenko will perform works by Silvestrov and Franz Schubert from the concert programme that was prematurely interrupted by the Moscow police a few weeks ago. The programme will now be performed in its entirety in Gohrisch.

In addition to the music of Valentin Silvestrov, the opening concert on 30 June 2022 will also feature works by the Ukrainian composer Yuri Povolotsky, including two world premieres. 

„New“ works by Dmitri Shostakovich
There will also be "new" works by Dmitri Shostakovich in Gohrisch: Dmitri Jurowski will premiere his own arrangement of the song cycle on poems by Marina Tsvetaeva op. 143a in a performance evening by the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden. For the first time, he will also present to the public an extended concert suite of the incidental music to "The Human Comedy" op. 37, arranged by his father Mikhail Jurowski. Mikhail Jurovsky, who had a decisive influence on the Shostakovich Festival in its early years, died in Berlin in March 2022. He was originally to conduct this performance evening, which is now dedicated to his memory.

In addition to works by Shostakovich and Silvestrov, the programme also includes some compositions by Sofia Gubaidulina. The great Russian composer and Shostakovich Prize winner 2017 celebrated her 90th birthday last autumn.

Re-encounters and numerous first-time appearances
The concerts will once again feature renowned artists: The pianists Yulianna Avdeeva and Elisaveta Blumina as well as the soprano Evelina Dobračeva will return to Gohrisch. For the first time, violinist Vadim Gluzman, pianist Alexei Lubimov, soprano Viktoriia Vitrenko and conductor Dmitri Jurowski will perform in the Gohrisch Concert Barn. In addition, several soloists, members of the Sächsische Staatskapelle, are involved in the chamber concerts. Also this year, all of the artists will perform in Gohrisch without a fee.

This year's cooperation is particularly close with the Sächsische Staatskapelle and the Semperoper Dresden. In addition to the non-subscription concert on the eve of the festival (conductor: Omer Meir Wellber), the premiere of a new production of Shostakovich's opera "The Nose" at the Semperoper (conductor: Petr Popelka) will also take place during the festival period, accompanied by a scientific symposium at the Dresden Academy of Music. The programme is thus more diverse than ever before and will span an arc from Shostakovich's piano and chamber music to the great symphonies and opera.

Photo exhibition by Matthias Creutziger
A retrospective of the first 12 years of the International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch is provided by a photo exhibition by Matthias Creutziger, who has accompanied the festival every year from the beginning.

"After two years in which, due to the pandemic, the Shostakovich Festival took place virtually or with an excursion to the Festspielhaus Dresden-Hellerau, we are extremely happy to return to Gohrisch. We felt a great need to focus the festival on the music by Ukrainian composers, especially by Valentin Silvestrov, in view of the terrible war in Ukraine. We are very much looking forward to this great composer who represents the contemporary musical culture of his country like no other." Tobias Niederschlag, Artistic Director of the International Shostakovich Festival Gohrisch

Individual tickets go on sale on 29 April 2022. 

Click here to have a look at the programme.