About us

Who we are...

The SummerMusicAcademy Hundisburg Castle offers musical diversity at the highest level: It is here that groovy jazz, extraordinary chamber music and rousing classical-romantic orchestral repertoire meet. The special locations at and around Hundisburg Castle give the SummerMusicAcademy its unique atmosphere.

Every year for about ten days, the region around the baroque castle becomes the meeting place for young musicians from many different nations. In the Academy Orchestra of the SMA, they rapidly grow together to form a homogeneous body of sound. The audience joins them in innovative concert formats: In the Lecture Concert, the Walking Concert and the Final Concert in the castle barn, the orchestra and conductor share their musical joy and passion with the audience.

... and what makes us special:

I. Uniqueness of the location The castle barn, the main hall, the old brick factory, the church... Unique venues create unique concert experiences. As if that were not enough, we also "invent" new venues every year in the Walking Concert and thereby also aim at reducing reservations of people who otherwise only rarely attend concerts.

II. The musicians - young and excellent The performing musicians are young and play at the highest musical level. The orchestra consists of students from all over Europe, soloists are on the verge of breakthrough, singers are gaining their first opera experience... and all of this is of highest excellence.

III. Internationality A rural region in the middle of Germany becomes a cultural melting pot for young international musicians. It becomes the scene of international understanding between North and South, East and West.

IV. Closeness between audience and musicians Whether in the Walking Concert or the Lecture Concert - unconventional concert formats have created a closeness between the musicians and the audience that is unparalleled. The audience feels that here, a festival is being made for them, here they can experience "their SMA".
Event Series

"Master concert"

In 2017, the SMA successfully resumed the masterclass-format. Ever since, a young master teaches upcoming musicians once a year at Castle Hundisburg. The »Meisterkonzert« gives the audience the opportunity to hear a program presented by the teacher of the masterclasses in the academy hall.

Masterclass Podium

In celebration of the 25th jubilee of the SummerMusicAcademy, the masterclass series was reintroduced. The masterclasses culminate in a final performance at the Masterclass Podium, where the participants present the fruits of their labour.

Serenade in the Gardens

All of the Academy’s musicians come together at the Serenade in the Gardens – it is chamber music at its best. This concert is a great indicator of what is yet to come, and the fantastic level of quality audiences can expect of that year’s academy. Come join us to get into the SMA mood at Hundisburg Castle.

Candlelight Concert

In honour of the 25th SummerMusicAcademy, a new musical format was introduced in 2017. In the Candlelight Concert series, audiences can experience music more intensely in the candle-lit main hall of the castle, late in the evening. This breathtaking atmosphere contributes to the performances of several artists blending seamlessly into one musical collage. Everyone is invited to enjoy the beautiful illuminations in the baroque garden after the concert.

Promenade Concert

Travels through space and time – through music history and the venue’s history: Members of the International Academy Orchestra can be found performing in chamber music ensembles across the castle grounds. The audience walks from one performance spot to the next, at each stop receiving an introduction about the history of the place as well as the music. This format allows for the audience, artists, and art to be in close proximity in a beautiful and unique setting. It embodies all of the ideas behind the academy, continuously helping not only the musicians to grow, but also the audiences as well as the region.

The Exceptional Concert

Unparalleled performances, paired with the impressive atmosphere of the venue, combine for one-of-a-kind musical experiences at the Exceptional Concert series.

Lecture Concert

The Lecture Concert series is an opportunity for the audience to meet the newly formed Academy Orchestra and listen to samples of their final performance program. Through the skillful explanations of conductor Johannes Klumpp, the audience is given a greater understanding and appreciation of the music. Join the orchestra on its musical journey to the core of their performance pieces!

Jazz Night Open Air

The Jazz Night Open Air in the yard of the old brick factory adds an unusual and colourful facet to an otherwise classical program of the SommerMusicAcademy. Where bricks are made by hand on a daily basis according to tradition, the sound of jazz reverberates once a year, delighting audiences.

Final Concerts

The Final Concert of the International Academy Orchestra is the undisputed highlight of the SMA. After a week of intense rehearsing, the orchestra presents a musically impressive feat: In a matter of only a few days complete strangers from different backgrounds and cultures all over the world have become friends, have formed a homogenous body of sound, have grown so close that they breathe, feel, and easily perform music together. Witness how bridges are built through music in the uniquely beautiful atmosphere of the castle barn.
Artistic Direction
Rolf-Dieter Arens

Born in 1945 in Zinnwald, Rolf-Dieter Arens began playing the piano at the age of five. From 1963 to 1968 he studied piano with Professor Volger and Chamber Music with Professor Schuster at the Academy of Music in Leipzig. He also attended master classes with Paul Badura-Skoda in Vienna.

After teaching at the Music academies of Leipzig and Weimar from 1970 to 1986, he was appointed professor of piano at the Liszt School of Music Weimar in 1986. From 1986 until 1991, he was a regular soloist with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and toured Europe with them. He has performed all over the world both as a soloist, as well as with chamber music ensembles. Arens has worked with renowned conductors such as Kurt Masur, Herbert Blomstedt, Marek Janowski, and Sir Neville Marriner. In addition to holding master classes in Japan and South Korea, he is a regular jury member at international music competitions in Bolzano, Budapest, Dublin, Santander, Utrecht, Weimar, and Wien. His work is documented in numerous radio broadcasts and recordings for television and CD productions.

From 1993 to 1999, and again from 2007 to 2015, he was appointed the Artistic Director of the SummerMusicAcademy at Hundisburg Castle. In 1995, he founded the Chamber Music Ensemble “Weimarer Solisten”. Since 2000, he has been the Artistic Director of the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition of Weimar-Bayreuth. Since 2006, he has been contributing to the New Liszt Foundation Weimar as a founding member. From 2001 to 2010 Rolf-Dieter Arens was the director of the Liszt School of Music in Weimar. For his achievements in his work regarding the musician and visionary Franz Liszt, he was awarded the “Premio Liszt” in Grottamare (Italy) in 2011. As president of the “Culture Foundation Leipzig”, one of his latest projects is the creation of a permanent Wagner exhibition in the Nikolai Church in the birth town of the composer, which opened in spring 2013. In 2014, Arens was awarded the order of merit of Thuringia. From 2014 to 2015 he was a guest lecturer for piano at the Mahidol University in Bangkok (Thailand).
Friedrich Praetorius

Since 2022 Friedrich Praetorius is 2nd Kapellmeister at the German National Theatre Weimar and will become “Kapellmeister and Musical Assistant to the GMD” at the Deutsche Oper Berlin from the season 2024/2025. He is 1st Prize winner of the 10th Opera Conducting Competition Orvieto (Italy), of the 11th Conducting Competition of Central-German Universities of Music 2021, 1st Prize winner and recipient of the orchestra award at the Conducting Competition 2021 of the University Almeria (Spain), as well as 2nd Prize winner of the CAMPUS DIRIGIEREN. Since 2021 he has been Conducting fellow with the Forum Dirigieren of the German Music Council.

Born in 1996, he began his education as a member of the “St. Thomas Boys Choir” and studies with Prof. Nicolás Pasquet and Prof. Ekhart Wycik at the Weimar Hochschule für Musik FRANZ LISZT. In order to enrich his studies, he attended masterclasses with many conductors, among them Christian Thielemann, Marc Albrecht, Johannes Schlaefli, Gunter Kahlert, Arthur Fagen and Ole Kristian Ruud. As a guest conductor, Praetorius has worked with orchestras such as the MDR Symphony Orchestra, the Beethoven Orchester Bonn, the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra and the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker.
KULTUR-Landschaft Haldensleben-Hundisburg e.V.
The sponsor of the Summer Music Academy is the KULTUR-Landschaft Haldensleben-Hundisburg e.V.

The purpose of the association is to research, repair, maintain and preserve Hundisburg Castle with its baroque garden, the Althaldensleben-Hundisburg Landscape Park as well as parts of the landscape and buildings that are connected to the aforementioned cultural monuments in terms of design and / or content, as well as to put them to primarily cultural use and to present them to the public and make them accessible in a suitable manner.

For this purpose, the association has been in the necessary contractual agreements with the owner, the city of Haldensleben, and the users of the aforementioned cultural monuments since 1995 and carries out the research, monument preservation measures, events and publications necessary to achieve the purpose, as well as all constantly occurring care, management and maintenance measures on the objects within the framework of the resources available to it.

The association strives for the content-related and financial support of its projects by third parties, as well as for the cooperation with suitable partners locally and beyond, as far as this is reasonable for the achievement of the association's purpose.
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