This year’s Kunstfest Weimar was celebrating the 200th anniversary of the great European musician Franz Liszt with a festival based on the motto “Vision”. 

Liszt had a vision of a New Weimar, of New Music and an Olympics of the Arts. Inspired by these visions, the Kunstfest Weimar 2011 has commissioned seven European composers to create Lisztian visions, tributes to this pioneering musician and commemorative hommages. In performances of works by Liszt and his son-in-law Richard Wagner, the orchestra Anima Eterna recreated the sound of the period.

One cannot think of Liszt without thinking of the piano. Lous Lortie played all three Années de pèlerinage on one evening, musical years of wandering through the intellectual, erotic and religious world of the “musicien voyageur”. Two young pianists took the Liszt-piano challenge, along with one of the most brilliant pianists of our times, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, the festival’s artist-in-residence in 2011. He performed a series of concerts featuring works by Beethoven, Schubert, Bartók, Ravel, Messiaen and Ligeti.

Zoltán Kocsis and his Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra gave a performance of La Damnation de Faust, and Roger Norrington conducted the performance of the Symphonie fantastique by the Staatskapelle Weimar. In one – the terrifying vision of the ride to hell – and in the other – the desperation of the imminent execution. Visions of fear were also present in Othmar Schoeck’s Lebendig begraben [Buried alive]. In the spirit of Liszt’s Olympics of the Arts, the Kunstfest featured a playful, but thought-provoking “re-vision” of religion for the 21st century; the successful music theatre group Nico and the Navigators presented a newly adapted version of Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle.

The fine arts forged ahead down visionary paths into the fields of science and New Media. The ZKM Karlsruhe and Peter Weibel came to Weimar to present their major exhibition titled Vision. Das Sehen [Vision. Seeing]. Young choreographers and media artists in the DanceMediaAcademy set the “Room in Motion.” Discussions and a film programme supplemented the events of the Kunstfest. One of the highlights was Pina Bausch’s dance piece Palermo Palermo, with which the Kunstfest payed tribute to the recently deceased choreographer.

Artistic director: Dr. Nike Wagner
Artists: Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Orchester Anima Eterna, Zoltan Kocsis, Lous Lortie, Nico and the Navigators, Roger Norrington, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatskapelle Weimar, and others


Kunstfest Weimar GmbH

Am Palais 3

99423 Weimar

Tel.: +49 (0)3643 811 40