As a result of the situation arising from the current pandemic, the
international Mahler Festival, which was to take place at the Gewandhaus in
mid-May 2021, is to be postponed until 2023. The programme for the Festival
in 2023 will be announced in the coming months.
In February 2019, we announced the Mahler Festival 2021. The international
resonance was so considerable that all fourteen orchestral concerts sold out almost
The unpredictability of the perpetually developing Covid pandemic accounts for
infinite imponderables in the realms of event and travel planning. In order to
ensure sufficient planning reliability for our audiences, our guest orchestras,
conductors, choruses and soloists, and for the Gewandhaus itself as host, it is,
regrettably, necessary to postpone the Festival until 2023.
“We are incredibly sad that we cannot hold the Festival in May 2021 as planned,
but we are optimistic that we will host it in 2023. Maybe then, after all that we have
now experienced, we will understand Mahler in his acute complexity, with all his
pain and all his joy, all the more profoundly.” said Gewandhauskapellmeister,
Andris Nelsons.
“The travel restrictions which would, in all probability, apply to our guest
orchestras, choruses, soloists, conductors and the large proportion of our audience
travelling to Leipzig from abroad in May, as well as the reduced auditorium
capacity as a result of the Covid preventative measures, with which we must
reckon in the coming months, prohibit the responsible realisation of this
momentous festival.” explains Gewandhaus General Director, Andreas Schulz.
“The Mahler Festival is one of the world’s most illustrious music festivals and is a
cornerstone of the furtherance of Mahler’s legacy, with which Leipzig reinforces its
position at the forefront of the musical world. In the critical phase of the Covid
pandemic, in which we currently find ourselves, it would, however, be a dereliction
of the responsibility we hold to stage a festival of this magnitude. The safeguarding
of the health of all participants and of our audiences must remain our highest
priority. The measures we would, as a consequence, be required to undertake
would subject the Festival to intolerable artistic constraints. In addition, the
resulting reduction in revenue, upon which a festival of this scale is, in no small
measure, dependent, is prohibitive. I am, therefore, delighted that the Gewandhaus
and the participating orchestras have decided not to simply cancel this unique
festival, but are, rather, resolved to move heaven and earth in order to bring this
vision to fruition two years later, in 2023.” says Dr. Skadi Jennicke, Mayor of
Culture of the City of Leipzig.

The essence of the Festival – the opportunity to experience Gustav Mahler’s complete symphonic
canon in the space of two short weeks – has been rendered unrealisable by the hygiene regulations to
which orchestras and choruses are currently required to adhere; the stage of the Great Hall of the
Gewandhaus is not of sufficient dimensions to perform many of Mahler’s works – particularly the
immense choral symphonies – to the artistic quality we are all entitled to expect while under the
restrictions to which we can expect to remain subject over the coming months.
“The soul of the Festival is the concentrated presentation of all Mahler’s symphonies. Thus, we have,
for artistic reasons, decided against omitting certain symphonies or relocating to a larger, yet
acoustically inferior, space.” reinforced Andreas Schulz.
Purchased tickets will not retain their validity for the Festival in 2023 and are subject to refund. They
can be submitted for reimbursement to the ticket agency from which they were purchased.
The programme of the International Mahler Festival 2023 is scheduled to be published before the
culmination of the current season.
With the Mahler Festival 2023, the Gewandhausorchester will make its first contribution to the
festival series Musikstadt:Leipzig, to be followed by a Shostakovich festival in 2025.