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Festival program 2021 announced

The Gohrisch International Shostakovich Festival 2021 takes place in Hellerau
The 12th year of the Festival will also feature prominent artists and numerous premieres at the alternative venue.

This year, the 12th Gohrisch International Shostakovich Festival will be guest at the Festspielhaus Hellerau: after thorough consideration of all imaginable scenarios to allow the festval to take place, moving to the European Centre for the Arts in Dresden-Hellerau proved to be a safe alternative. The renovation of the concert barn in Gohrisch entails considerable financial expenditure every year, to which - with limited seating capacity due to the corona crisis - a large financial deficit would have had to be added this year. In addition, the hotels in Saxon Switzerland are still not open to the public, which would not have given planning security to the visitors who mainly travel from outside.

"A unique excursion to Hellerau"
"We thought long and hard about how we could hold the Gohrisch Festival," says Tobias Niederschlag, artistic director of the Shostakovich Festival. „In the end, we came to the conclusion that there was no alternative to relocating to Hellerau under the current conditions. As much as we regret the relocation, we are now looking forward to working together with the great team in Hellerau and to the ideal infrastructure of the Festspielhaus on the outskirts of the beautiful and historic garden city. But this is going to be a one-time 'excursion' to Hellerau: next year the Festival shall be held in Gohrisch again - the place that provides the legitimacy for our Festival through its authenticity and unique atmosphere!"

International stars gather again at the Festival
The list of soloists and ensembles that have been won for the 2021 Festival is again a prominent one. Violinists Gidon Kremer and Dmitry Sitkovetsky are expected to participate as well as pianists Yulianna Avdeeva and Dmitry Masleev, the quartet formation Quatuor Danel and the Borodin Quartet as well as kapelle21 under the direction of Petr Popelka.

Several world premieres and German premieres
"When compiling the programme for the Shostakovich Festival, it was important for us to focus in a special way on its eponym," says Tobias Niederschlag. "Therefore the programme includes several works by Dmitri Shostakovich that have never been performed at the Shostakovich Festival before. We are pleased and happy that we can again present several world premieres and German premieres of Shostakovich works in our programme. In addition, those nine piano compositions by Shostakovich that for pandemic reasons were presented last year in a transcontinental stream project, can now be performed live for the first time in front of a real audience."

Eight events in three days
The opening concert (24 June 2021, 7.30 p.m.) will again be performed by the Quatuor Danel. With Shostakovich's String Quartets No. 2 and No. 5, the ensemble will perform two works that will be heard for the first time at the Shostakovich Festival. // During a book presentation on the the following day (25 June 2021, 11 a.m.), author Danuta Gwizdalanka will present a new biography of Mieczysław Weinberg, composer and a friend of Shostakovich. This will be accompanied by Weinberg's Piano Quintet op. 18 with the Quatuor Danel and Dmitry Masleev - this work, too, is part of the Festival programme for the first time. // Pianists Dmitry Masleev and Yulianna Avdeeva will share a piano recital (25 June 2021, 7.30 p.m.) in which they will then present to a live audience in the hall Shostakovich's piano pieces that premiered in last year's stream (Three Fugues o. op., Six Piano Pieces from 1918-1920, Scherzo op. 1a, Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp Minor o. op., completed by Krzysztof Meyer) During this event, the International Shostakovich Prize Gohrisch will be awarded to Dr. Olga Digonskaya, the head archivist of the Moscow Shostakovich Archive, who has discovered over 300 unknown Shostakovich manuscripts in recent years.

Songs and Romances once arranged for the War Front
In a „Wandelkonzert“ (26 June 2021, 11 a.m.) in the surroundings of the Festspielhaus Hellerau, violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky, his daughter, soprano singer Julia Sitkovetsky, and cellist Friedrich Thiele will present a selection of songs and romances by various composers that Shostakovich arranged for concerts on the Leningrad war front in 1941. These arrangements will be heard for the first time in Germany. The programme will be livened up by some of Shostakovich's Piano Preludes op. 34, which Dmitry Sitkovetsky arranged especially for this "Wandelkonzert" for violin and violoncello (world premieres). The Serenade by Gaetano Braga, which Shostakovich arranged for his unfinished opera project "The Black Monk", will also be heard for the first time in Germany. The pianist Yulianna Avdeeva will also participate in the performance of this work as well as of the Romances on Poems by Alexander Blok op. 127. // A film screening (26 June 2021, 4 p.m.) will present the documentary film "A Journey of Dmitry Shostakovich" by Oksana Dvornichenko and Helga Landauer for   the first time in the original English Language to a German audience. It deals with Shostakovich's last great journey from Moscow to New York in 1973. // Another chamber music night featuring the legendary Borodin Quartet (26 June 2021, 7.30 p.m.) will include three more of Shostakovich's string quartets (Nos. 1, 11 and 12) that have not yet been heard at the Festival.

A Beethoven arrangement by Shostakovich will also be heard for the first time
In a performance evening (27 June 2021, 11 a.m.), kapelle21 will again perform with conductor Petr Popelka. The programme includes the Chamber Symphony based on the String Quartet No. 10 arranged by Rudolf Barshai (for the first time at the Festival) as well as an early arrangement by Shostakovich for string orchestra of the Adagio cantabile from Beethoven's piano sonata "Pathétique", which will also be premiered at the Festival. Also on the programme is the Second Symphony by Mieczysław Weinberg, dedicated to Kurt Sanderling and commemorating the 10th anniversary of his death - the first patron of the Shostakovich Festival died in September 2011 during the second Festival. For the last concert (27 June 2021, 4 p.m.), international star Gidon Kremer returns to the Shostakovich Festival for his third appearance. Together with violinist Madara Pētersone, concertmaster of the Kremerata Baltica, and pianist Georgijs Osokins, he will perform works by Arvo Pärt, Mieczysław Weinberg and Dmitri Shostakovich.

All concerts last between 60 and 90 minutes and take place without an intermission. Due to the current pandemic situation, there will be no concert introductions this year.

Special Concert oft he Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden
On you can check the current status of the special concert planned for the eve of the Gohrisch International Shostakovich Festival (23 June 2021, 8 p.m.) featuring the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Vladimir Jurowski (soloist: Leonidas Kavakos) at the Dresden Kulturpalast. As this is an event of the Sächsische Staatskapelle, tickets can be purchased on the website of the orchestra or the Semperoper.

Advance ticket sales and corona requirements
Due to the large number of advance bookings for festival passes and the corona related limited capacity of the Festspielhaus Hellerau (maximum 120 seats), only a few remaining tickets are expected to go on sale. Advance sales for these tickets will begin on 10 June 2021. Latest information and booking options are also available on Here you will also find specific Corona regulations for attending the concerts (valid proof of testing or vaccination etc.).

Venue 2021
HELLERAU – Europäisches Zentrum der Künste I European Centre for the Arts
Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 56 I 01109 Dresden I