International Festival Echternach
A brilliant idea and a good portion of idealism led to international fame
Since 1975, Echternach, which is situated in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, has been hosting the internationally renowned festival. Famous names like Benny Goodman, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Montserrat Caballé, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Gidon Kremer, Alfred Brendel or, in 2009, Arcadi Volodos, Christian Zacharias, George Benson have performed at the festival as well as young talents and award winners from the country and abroad. Many pieces were performed for the first time in Echternach, ordered by the festival with the aim to promote young talented composers. Every year during the months of May and June, the locality of Echternach, which counts a little bit over 5000 inhabitants, is focusing on music. The historic and cultural atmosphere of Echternach with its more than 1200-year-old history ad its many architectural jewels is the perfect scenery for the concerts which take place in the Basilica and the Peter and Paul Church. In April 2008, a modern concert hall in the new culture and conference center called “Trifolion” was added to the scene. Musically speaking the Festival ranges from medieval and classic music to jazz and world music.
The idea to organize concerts in the Basilica in Echternach came into the minds of two Luxembourgish music lovers, Georges Calteux and Dr. Jean Kraft, after they had attended a concert in an abbatial church in Spain. In the year 1975, this idea came to life and amazed friends and promoters among which the famous pianist Cyprien Katsaris, who became the artistic director of the festival and stayed in his function for over 30 years. Along with Adrien Meisch and many other idealists, the circle of friends was enlarged and the festival made its place in the cultural scene in and of Luxembourg. From 1985 to 2007, Adrien Meisch, a former Ambassador of Luxembourg, was the chairman of the Festival and is thus part of the success story of the festival. On 20th November 2007, Georges Santer who is, for the time being, Luxembourg’s Ambassador in Paris, was elected chairman.