Bach to the future Leipzig makes some noise about past and present musical excellence

Celebrated city son Johann Sebastian Bach (photo: Jean-Marc Warszawski)Celebrated city son Johann Sebastian Bach (photo: Jean-Marc Warszawski)
Celebrated city son Johann Sebastian Bach (photo: Jean-Marc Warszawski)
Bach is undoubtedly front and centre of Germany's undisputed "City of Music".

But there is way much more to Leipzig than celebrated composer Johann Sebastian, the 65-year-old virtuoso bowing out here in 1750.

Maestro Mendelssohn Bartholdy is another adopted Saxony son, Felix to his friends lauded as conservatory co-founder gewandhauskapellmeister. Easy for me to say!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

August opera company, seamlessly Augustusplatz-based, is also among noteworthy attractions aplenty, more than late great local hero Kurt Masur could shake baton at.

Opera house commands centre stage in City of Music Leipzig (photo: Jean-Marc Warszawski)Opera house commands centre stage in City of Music Leipzig (photo: Jean-Marc Warszawski)
Opera house commands centre stage in City of Music Leipzig (photo: Jean-Marc Warszawski)

In-tune visitors also know the score with revered Gewandhaus Orchestra, similarly singing praises of esteemed Thomanerchor, melodious and mellifluous in equally impressive measure.

Where to visit:

Leipzig Music Trail guided tour not only celebrates a community united in harmony but also, this year, 30th anniversary of City of Heroes' Peaceful Revolution that started at St Nicholas Church and ended by changing course of Germanic history forever.

JSB buffs should go for Baroque by visiting Bach Museum, recently marking 300th anniversary with updated exhibition, historic Bosehaus home to instruments, documents and artworks amplifying 27-year city service witnessing creation of celebrated St Matthew and St John Passions - latter set to be showcased on TV at Easter following current BBC filming - also accommodating "Bach to the future" installation, confirming the genius's influence on modern popular artists from The Beatles to The Beach Boys. Thankfully, no Spice Girls connection, preventing tenuous Leipzig-a-zig-ah angle!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Oper Leipzig pays attention to sustainable costumes during production (photo: Tom Schulze)Oper Leipzig pays attention to sustainable costumes during production (photo: Tom Schulze)
Oper Leipzig pays attention to sustainable costumes during production (photo: Tom Schulze)

Mendelssohn House is another must for music lovers, composer's only remaining residence offering captivating concert matinees as well as interactive Effektorium, allowing attendees to conduct their own orchestra, with differing degrees of success ... we know who we are!

Gewandhaus Concert Hall has since 1740 showcased works by such luminaries as Robert Schumann to Johannes Brahms, Franz Liszt to Peter Tchaikovsky, hub of three-fold presentation of the venerated venue's own concerts, opera supervision and St Thomas Boys Choir accompaniment, we treated to Alain Gilbert conducting Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No 10 in E minor Op 93 after Lera Auerbach's Vessels of Light 6th Symphony, Great Concert in name and nature.

Leipzig Opera, Europe's third oldest such venue, enjoys globally renowned reputation shaped by supreme soloists, award-winning choir, prominent ballet company and Gewandhaus Orchestra, soundest of supports to our party's prestigious Mary, Queen of Scots climate-friendly three act opera visit, Thea Musgrave's German Federal Cultural Foundation-funded production setting new standards in sustainability, courtesy resource-saving set dovetailing green credentials with black storyline.

Music and craftsmanship combine with Grassi Museum for Musical Instruments' remarkable collection of 5,000 pieces dating from 16th century, some available to play within sound laboratory, rich educational resource, also showing accessibility vision by catering for partially sighted guests.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Barthel’s Hof hospitality beckons (photo: Leipzig Tourism and Marketing)Barthel’s Hof hospitality beckons (photo: Leipzig Tourism and Marketing)
Barthel’s Hof hospitality beckons (photo: Leipzig Tourism and Marketing)

Where to dine (and wine!):

Bordering Market Square and Old Town Hall, Restaurant Weinstock couldn't be more central, or more accommodating, the eatery's ongoing popularity testament to seasonal Saxon and international dishes, complemented by world-wide wines cellar, subtle classical soundtrack completing cosy atmosphere attracting chorus of approval.

Three tasty courses within three tasteful storeys has since 1977 proved popular recipe for success at Bachstübl, whose illustrious history reportedly dates back century before 1650 copper engraving depiction, two townhouses combined during Bach's Thomaskantor tenure.

High society doesn't come any loftier than sky-scraping Panorama Tower Restaurant, tallest such establishment In central Germany, serving at heady 120 metres breath-taking sunset vistas alongside artfully arranged "cheeky" cuisine, bold as brass crafted by nearby Vogt instruments.

Restaurant Barthel’s Hof, steeped in unique heritage, stands aloft among coolest of establishments, contrasting with warming trademark potato soup, among signature specialties also including lark-influenced sweet treat Leipziger Lerche pastry, confectionary cacophony of crushed cherries and almonds.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Or take a break from modern life, far from the madding crowd, at one of city's oldest coffee house, Café Riquet revelling in serving revitalising refreshments since 1745.

Where to stay:

Centrally located, Marriott Hotel features elegant accommodation and free WiFi throughout the prime positioned property. Boasting spa with indoor pool as well as well-equipped health club, this superior site also offers Creme Brühlé buffet breakfast, The Local restaurant seasonal day-time dishes then The Champions American Sports Bar Stateside specialties in informal surrounds. Renowned "cozy" beds with designer covers and soft pillows, complemented by individually adjustable air conditioning, ensure restful slumbers after abundance of adventures across most musical of cultural centres.

Way to go:

London Stansted to Leipzig direct flights are available three times each week.

Leipzig 2024 music events at a glance

Gewandhausorchester Great Concerts (all year)

Thomanerchor's Motets and Cantatas (all year)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bach’s Leipzig arrival 300th anniversary events (until June)

BurgenLandKlänge regional concerts (until November 9)

KLASSIK Underground meets Oper Leipzig at Moritzbastei (February 21)

Johann Sebastian Bach's St John Passion BWV 245 (March 28-29)

a cappella International Festival for Vocal Music Leipzig (May 3-11)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Beethoven's 9th Symphony 200th anniversary premiere (May 7-8 )

31st Wave Gothic Festival (May 17-20)

Oper Leipzig Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk premiere (May 25)

Leipzig Bachfest Choral concerts (June 7-16)

Klassik airleben Rosental Park open-air concerts (June 22-23)

International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition (July 16-27)

Lake Störmthal Highfield Festival (August 16-18)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Leipzig Chamber Music Festival Con Spirito (September 14-22)

Leipzig Jazz Days (October 19-26)

Mendelssohn Festival (October 28-November 4).

Fact box

EXTRA, EXTRA: Holiday Extras is the market leader in UK airport parking, hotels, lounges, and transfers – and last year its customers saved an average of £191 per trip by booking their airport parking in advance. Booking meet and greet parking means you can enjoy more holiday with less hassle. Plus with Flextras, if you need to cancel or amend you can without charge. Four days’ parking at Park2Travel Indoor at Leeds Bradford Airport is available for £38.25 based on arrival on 12th June 2024. For more information and to book, or call 0800 316 5678.

Related topics: