Hardly any other German city boasts a music tradition as great and vivacious as that of Leipzig. It has been home to many musical personalities, including Johann Sebastian Bach, Robert Schumann, Clara Wieck, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Albert Lortzing.
The earliest traces of musical life in Leipzig can be found in the year 1212. Margrave Dietrich constructed a church which he donated to the Canons Regular of St. Augustine. Boys attended singing lessons at the appendant school, bringing forth the St. Thomas Choir.
Since then, Leipzig has evolved to become Germany’s most significant centre for musical culture. In 1743, citizens of Leipzig founded the “Grosses Concert”, which consisted of 16 musicians and marked the starting point of the Gewandhaus. Today, the Gewandhaus Orchestra is amongst the world’s most renowned.
Leipzig Opera was founded in 1693, making it the third-oldest in Europe, after Milan and Hamburg.
In 1843, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Robert Schumann founded the first German conservatory for the education of professional musicians; the second-oldest in Europe, after Paris. The University of Music and Theatre is still active today.
Leipzig boasts many authentic work-places of famous composers with corresponding tourist attractions: the Bach Museum, the Mendelssohn House, the Church of St. Thomas, the Church of St. Nicholas, the appending Schola Nikolaitana with its Wagner exhibition, the Schumann House, the Edvard Grieg meeting place and the Museum of Musical Instruments.
2012 saw the introduction of the “Leipziger Notenspur” (lit: “Trace of Notes”), a five-kilometre musical promenade. 155 metal inlays are embedded in the ground, giving useful information about famous locations such as the Gewandhaus, the Church of St. Thomas and the Mendelssohn House.
Today, Leipzig hosts a number of international festivals, including Bachfest Leipzig, the Mendelssohn Festival, MDR-Musiksommer and Wagner-Festtage, as well as the Wave-Gothic-Treffen and Jazztage.