“Reborn from ruins“ — Today Castle Hundisburg shines in all of its former splendor. Only 20 years ago its current renovated state would have been impossible to imagine. First mentioned in 1140, it existed for 300 years in the form we see today. But in WWII it was nearly destroyed in a fire and remained in ruins for 40 years in the GDR. It was only after the Reunification that it was brought back to life to serve as a cultural site. Today you can take a walk and enjoy this magnificent estate with its splendid park and gardens. And once every year the magic of the SummerMusicAcademy makes the castle resonate with the sound of Music.
For Rolf-Dieter Arens, founder of the SummerMusicAcademy, this building was love at first sight — and so the Castle Barn became the first venue of the festival. Even today it plays a central role in the SMA. The Barn is closely linked to the Academy’s orchestra: this is where the intense rehearsals take place, where the musicians first meet their audience in the Open Rehearsal, and where the Final Concert is performed to enthusiastic applause. The spacious hall with its stone walls and high ceilings has a very special atmosphere, which is further enhanced by the proximity the audience feels to the orchestra that performs right in their midst on a centrally placed stage.
Promptly, for the 20th anniversary of the SummerMusicAcademy the Main Hall unveiled a very special highlight: the inauguration of the baroque stucco ceiling with its wonderful frescos. The painter Christoph Wetzel was able to recreate them based on photographs and slides from the 1930s. The sequence of main rooms though, which at the turn of the 18th Century was ranked as having one of the best interior designs in northern Germany, has not been fully restored. Currently the stairway is being reconstructed. It was the first of the kind of monumental imperial stairway that later became famous in the German cultural area.
The Opening Concert is held at the Academy building, which was completed in 2008. In addition, this building plays another important role for the orchestra. Not only do the musicians share their common meals here, they also use the various rooms for individual practice as well as for Chamber Music rehearsals in preparation for the Walking Concert.
The baroque garden was created parallel to the baroque castle around 1700. Its reconstruction was initiated together with the castle’s rebuilding during the prolific period that followed the German Reunification. Its rambling grounds with its fountains, the grotto and the cast-iron gate “Pariser Tor” provide just the right setting for the Walking Concert.