Germany has an exceptionally rich musical heritage. German composers are widely recognised as the most brilliant and accomplished in the world. Their contributions in the area of classical music is a matter of great pride for Germans. Imagine a world without Wagner, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Strauss and Händel! Their brilliant compositions are celebrated in concert halls even today. One of the most well-known German composers in recent times is from the film business, Hans Zimmer. He has written the scores to more than 150 films, including The Lion King, for which he won an Oscar. His most recent soundtrack was for Dunkirk.
The music scene in Germany continues to flourish on every level, from local choirs to world-class operas and philharmonics. You can go for a concert nearly every day and not run out of options! More than 130 professional orchestras—the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra and Gewandhaus Leipzig—vie for attention. Concert tickets are often subsidised by the government, ensuring everyone gets to enjoy! Even Germany’s renowned opera houses like Semperoper Dresden, Bayreuth Festspielhaus, Alte Oper Fankfurt, Bavarian State Opera and Komische Oper Berlin are supported by the government. Whether you understand opera or not, you must visit one of these opera houses and experience the best of musical drama once in your life. They are a sight to behold!
The contemporary music industry is equally vibrant. Germany is the largest music market in Europe today. Modern German musicians and bands have made their mark worldwide across a broad spectrum of genres. As with classical musicians, this list, too, is impressive: Scorpions,
Udo Lindenberg, Boney M, Modern Talking, Rammstein, Tangerine Dream, Die Ärzte, Die Toten Hosen, Kraftwerk, Helene Fischer, Herbert Grönemeyer, Tokio Hotel, Scooter and Beatsteaks. The list goes on! Fans get to hear their favourite bands play during music festivals like Rock am Ring (which has over 1,60,000 visitors every year!), Wacken Open Air and Lollapalooza Berlin. The annual Long Night of Music in Munich is very special; you can listen to hundreds of bands for just 15 euros in one night! The next Long Night of Music will take place on 28th April 2018. And there’s also the Fête de la Musique, which takes place in 50 German cities on 21st June every year.
Time to Tanz!
Dance—another integral part of German culture—ranges from the folksy Schuhplattler, the dainty ballet to Ausdruckstanz (expressionist dance). Stuttgart Ballet, Germany’s leading dance company, evolved from the court ballet of the Duke of Württemberg, dating back to 1609. German modern dance, pioneered by Rudolf Laban, Kurt Jooss, Mary Wigman and Pina Bausch, found expression as Ausdruckstanz. Later, Ausdruckstanz morphed into Tanztheater (dance theatre), perhaps the most revered dance form in Germany. Expressionist dance is again very popular, as it uses movements to express emotions, ideas and stories.
Germans love their theatre. They have more than 140 public theatres and 220 private theatres, where passion plays, cabarets and musicals form an essential part of the repertoire. The oldest existing theatre performance in Germany, Oberammergau Passion Play, dates back to 1634 and attracts lakhs of theatre-goers when it is performed every ten years. The Berliner Theatertreffen is by far the most important theatre festival.