Some of the world’s greatest musicians and composers have lived, worked and left their traces in Saxony and Thuringia. Travelling in the footsteps of Bach, Wagner, Mendelssohn or Liszt takes visitors from A for Arnstadt to Z for Zwickau. With a multitude of inspirational moments on the way.
Bach country & boys‘ choirs
He might have died more than 250 years ago but in Saxony and Thuringia, Baroque giant Johann Sebastian Bach is still very much alive. Visit the Bach House in Eisenach where he was born, see original manuscripts and be surrounded by his music. Then tour some nearby Bach churches, such as New Church in Arnstadt where at 18, Bach was employed as organist, or Mühlhausen’s Divi Blasii Church where Bach became town and church music director. Further east in Leipzig, the city’s world-renowned St. Thomas Boys’ Choir is living legacy of Bach’s last decades as a composer and musical director of the choir from 1723 to 1750.
Leipzig is, of course, also closely related to another musical stalwart: Richard Wagner was born Leipzig where the foundations for his monumental oeuvre were laid. Tip: Tour the city on the “Leipzig Music Trail” that takes visitors on self-guided tours through this extremely musical destination, including, among others, the renowned Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Mendelssohn House, Schumann House or Bach Museum. Neighbouring Dresden is more than worthwhile another musical stop, too: The Holy Cross Boys Choir, visitor favourite Dresden Music Festival, the Semper Opera or Staatskapelle Dresden, one of the world’s oldest orchestras, all offer outstanding musical moments. Fans of the romantic composer Robert Schumann should put his birthplace Zwickau on their agenda where the Robert Schumann House is home to the world’s largest Schumann collection with more than 4,000 original handwritings by the composer and his wife Clara. In Weimar, the former summer residence of Franz Liszt is now a museum, featuring original furniture and the composer’s piano.
A tradition of instrument making
Apart from musicians and composers, the Cultural Heart of Germany is also home to a century-old tradition of musical instrument making: In Saxony’s Vogtland region, first-class wood and brass instruments have been produced for more than 350 years and visitors can peek into workshops in Markneukirchen und other towns in this “Musicon Valley” to see how it’s done.