10 Top Classical Music Festivals Around the World

December 4, 2018

The origin of music festivals dates back to ancient Greece: in the late sixth century BCE, at the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, the Pythian Games included musical performances. It may very well be the earliest music festival known.

Today, we can enjoy classical music festivals around the world, ranging from small local gatherings to multi-day international events. These music festivals, which celebrate the rich heritage of classical compositions, draw music lovers from across the globe.

At these gatherings, you can witness renowned musicians and composers perform beloved classics like Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach, as well as contemporary and Neo-Classical compositions.

Some of our favorite music festivals include: 

Salzburg Festival (Salzburg, Austria)

Salzburg

Nestled in the picturesque Austrian Alps, the Salzburg Festival is a pilgrimage for classical music lovers, as it is the birthplace of Mozart. The music festival transforms Salzburg into a haven for opera and classical performances. Held annually in July and August, if you can make the trip, it’s a must-see music festival.

BBC Proms (London, United Kingdom)

BBC Proms

The world’s largest classical music festival, the BBC Proms, takes over London every summer. With performances at the Royal Albert Hall, this eight-week extravaganza boasts everything from traditional symphonies to contemporary compositions. It often concludes with the iconic Last Night of the Proms. Only a handful of other music festivals offer as diverse a musical experience as this.

Tanglewood Music Festival (Lenox, Massachusetts, USA)

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The Tanglewood Music Festival serves as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer residence, renowned for its tranquil surroundings. If you appreciate a spectrum of performances, from classical masterpieces to contemporary works, and a a comfortable, casual setting, add Tanglewood to your list.

Beethovenfest (Bonn, Germany)

Beethoven statue

True to its name, Beethovenfest pays homage to the brilliance of Beethoven, forging a profound connection between the artist and those who admire him. The festival showcases orchestras and soloists from across the globe.

Prague Spring International Music Festival (Prague, Czech Republic)

Classical music festival in Prague

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The Prague Spring International Music Festival is an annual event that typically falls in May and June.

One of the distinctive features of this musical festival is its diversity. Performances span a wide range of genres, from Baroque to contemporary compositions. And Prague itself, with its timeless charm and architecture, provides an ideal backdrop for this music festival.

Verbier Festival (Verbier, Switzerland)

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Held annually in the charming village of Verbier, this music festival has become a rendezvous for both seasoned maestros and budding talents. It offers a blend of classical music, chamber music, and recitals.

Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada (Granada, Spain)

Granada Spain, home of a fantastic classical music festival

This classical music festival is a harmonious blend of music and architectural splendor. Against the backdrop of the iconic Alhambra, world-renowned performers converge to create an immersive experience.

With an intertwining of classical music and the passionate rhythms of flamenco, Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada is one Europe’s highly regarded summer music festivals. It typically takes place during June and July.

Edinburgh International Festival (Edinburgh, United Kingdom)

Music festival in Edinburgh

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The Edinburgh International Festival is another fantastic classical music festival from across the pond. The festival typically takes place in August and lasts for several weeks, bringing artists and performers from various disciplines together, including classical music, opera, theater, and dance. The festival features both established and emerging artists.

Budapest Festival Orchestra Concerts (Budapest, Hungary)

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Founded in 1983 by conductor and composer Iván Fischer and pianist Zoltán Kocsis, this orchestra has quickly gained international fame. Today, it has become one of Hungary’s leading classical music ensembles.

The music festival is known for its commitment to artistic excellence. The Budapest Festival Orchestra Concerts have a dynamic and engaging approach to performances. As a result, it appeals to a broad audience.

Colorado Music Festival (Boulder, Colorado, USA)

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Last, but certainly not least, is our very own Colorado Music Festival. Our festival, held at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder, Colorado showcases myriad styles of classical music.

The festival consistently attracts talented national and international artists and is an excellent way to start or continue your journey as a classical music enthusiast.

What Sets the Colorado Music Festival Apart?

While Colorado is known for its popular indie music events, the Colorado Music Festival stands out by wholeheartedly embracing the classical genre. What distinguishes it is the remarkable talent it attracts and its focus on building a sense of community.

In contrast to others, this classical music festival cultivates an intimate atmosphere, allowing attendees to experience every aspect of the concert up close. Moreover, the breathtaking Chautauqua Auditorium provides a picturesque backdrop for the performances.

A noteworthy aspect is our dedication to education. The inclusion of both seasoned professionals and emerging talent highlights our commitment to nurturing the next generation of classical musicians.

Beyond traditional symphonies, music enthusiasts can delve into compositions that push the boundaries of classical music. This fusion of tradition and experimentation gives the Colorado Music Festival a distinctive charm.

See You at Our Classical Music Festival this Summer

When choosing which classical music events to attend, include the Colorado Music Festival in your itinerary. It is an experience that resonates with the true spirit of classical music. Plan your visit today!

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Plan Your Festival Visit

 

Visiting Boulder

The Festival performs in beautiful Boulder, Colorado — a breathtaking location full of nature, culture, cuisine, art, and more.

Learn About Our Educational Programs

 

Festival Fellows

Meet the Festival Fellows: eight aspiring professional musicians who receive coaching and performance opportunities through the Festival and its guest artists.

Center for Musical Arts

This excellent community music school is also the educational arm of our organization.