music festivals


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music festivals,

series of performances separate from the normal concert season and often, but not always, organized around an idea or theme. Music festivals usually are held annually in the summer, sometimes in the open air. The concept has been traced as far back as the sixth-century B.C. Pythian Games at Delphi, which included musical competitions. In the Middle Ages competitive festivals were sponsored by guilds. The eisteddfodeisteddfod
[Welsh,=session], Welsh competitive festival. Contests traditionally are held in all the arts and crafts, with special emphasis on music and poetry. The National Eisteddfod is held annually for one week in August, alternately in the north and the south, but local
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 in Wales is a direct descendant of medieval competitive festivals. Among the best-known music festivals with a specific theme held today are the Bayreuth FestivalBayreuth Festival,
also called the Richard Wagner Festival, annual season of performances of Wagner's works, held in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth. Around 1851, Wagner began to visualize a festival theater that would be devoted to the performance of great German works for the
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, which features the operas of Wagner; the Munich and Glyndebourne FestivalsGlyndebourne Festival
, opera festival given each summer since 1934 on the estate of John Christie at Glyndebourne, near Lewes, Sussex, England. The festival is known for its elegant setting and the formal dress of its listeners, who picnic on surrounding lawns.
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, which feature opera; the Darmstadt modern music festival; the Warsaw Autumn Days; England's Aldeburgh Festival, which was instituted by Benjamin BrittenBritten, Benjamin, Baron Britten of Aldeburgh,
1913–76, English composer. Britten's most characteristic expression is found in his vocal music, much of which was written for his partner, the tenor Sir Peter Pears.
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 and concentrates on modern music; the Mostly Mozart festival in New York City; and the Newport Jazz FestivalNewport Jazz Festival,
annual summer music festival, probably the best known of all such festivals, held at Newport, R.I. Originally sponsored by Newport socialites Mr. and Mrs.
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 (now held in New York City and Newport). The Salzburg FestivalSalzburg Festival,
annual festival of music and drama held in Salzburg, Austria, for five weeks starting in late July. The festival may be considered a descendant of the Salzburg Music Festival Weeks that the Vienna Philharmonic gave irregularly between 1877 and 1910.
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 began (musically) as a Mozart festival; today, however, other composers are also featured; it is perhaps the outstanding example of a general classical music festival. Similar events are held in New York City (notably Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival), Aspen, Colo. (see Aspen Music FestivalAspen Music Festival,
classical music festival held annuallly each summer in Aspen, Colo. Chicagoans Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke established the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies (now the Aspen Institute) in the former silver-mining boomtown, and the Aspen Music Festival
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), Edinburgh, Spoleto (see Spoleto FestivalSpoleto Festival,
also called Festival of the Two Worlds, annual summer arts festival held in Spoleto, Italy. Founded by the composer Gian-Carlo Menotti and the conductor Thomas Schippers, the festival has been held annually since 1958.
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), and Bergen (Norway). The Tanglewood Music FestivalTanglewood Music Festival,
formerly the Berkshire Festival (until 1984), summer music festival held since 1937 at "Tanglewood," a former estate in the adjoining towns of Stockbridge and Lenox, Mass. The Berkshire Festival was begun in 1934 at a farm in Stockbridge.
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 in Lenox and Stockbridge, Mass., features the Boston Symphony. The festival idea has spread all over the world; Osaka began a festival of music and drama in 1958. Festivals of rock music have frequently been held on a one-time basis. Two of the most famous were the Monterey Pop Festival (1967) and Woodstock (1969).
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