Dear Friends of the Hitzacker Summer Music Festival,

Every year since 1946 Hitzacker has hosted a summer rendezvous. Every year, performers and audiences have sensed the special festival atmosphere: surprising, unforgettable, incredible. Innovation and tradition, new experiments and old friends - they all get together here in a spirit of unbridled curiosity and candor. For a new artistic director, this can be paradise in full glory or a challenge full of sleepless night. Maybe I should re-invent this festival? Then again ... maybe not!

For my first year, I invite you - in the spirit of the festival's tradition - to experience Hitzacker as an exceptional rendezvous. With artists that are special to me, people I have worked with in unusual projects, who inspire me in a variety of ways that have shown and continue to show me the variety of paths music can travel.

We'll be forging links between innovation and tradition, between youngsters and their paragons, between centuries gone by and our fleeting present. Newly crowned quartets join in concert, soloists form new ensembles. Slam poetry meets chamber music, Aribert Reimann meets Schubert. The festival opens and closes with dazzling musical jewels from the crown of the 90-year-old György Kurtág. We'll enjoy the audience's favorites (surveyed last year), the Kneipp Garden awaits Schubert fans and will itself be transformed into a Dolby Surround concert hall.

I look forward to welcoming our terrific artists and to getting together with our audiences, the legendary guests of the Summer Festival, at our rendezvous in Hitzacker!

Oliver Wille, Artistic Director