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They [festivals] evolve around artists, their art and their vision of society, which offer food for thought and feed dialogue.

Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Culture

News & Media

This news section is the place to find the latest news and press releases both from EFA and its members. Remember to come back frequently to find the updates here!

EU Delegation to Uruguay looks for EU cultural organisation to collaborate in 'Escena' Theatre Award

23 July 2014

As part of the new Head of Delegation's cultural visibility strategy, in 2013 the EU Delegation to Uruguay made its first incursion into theatre. Since it is not easy to back 'European' theatre without favouring one Member State or another, the Delegation decided to launch a European theatre award. It was decided to name this award the 'Escena' (in Spanish both 'stage' and 'scene') and to bestow it annually to the best play of European authorship to be staged in Uruguay throughout the year. In its second edition, the Delegation is looking for a partner organisation in an EU member state to offer a theatre-related scholarship to the Award winner. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: Your artists are our artists

15 July 2014

“You have a flight tomorrow morning? Close your eyes and try to sleep now.” He looked at me surprised. Then he smiled and slowly closed his eyes. A Polish musician, a member of Sinfonia Varsovia that had just performed at the International Izmir Festival, was sitting next to me. The bus was going down on a dark, silent road. We had just left Ephesus to go back to Izmir city. Before falling asleep I was wondering: “Why do I always have this feeling of attachment to the artists?” After all, these artists were the professionals who came to do their job. They were paid and they performed for the festival audience, and then they were again on their way to another festival. Read the full blog by Hasan Isikli on Festival Bytes. - more...

Malta Arts Festival 2014 ready to go

14 July 2014

Whether you want to be charmed by contemporary duets in an open-air theatre, weep at Lear’s agony or be moved by a circus which blends poetry and humour, this year’s Malta Arts Festival promises to bring all that and more. Running from 14 July to 2 August, most of the events will be held in some of the island’s most prestigious historical venues, such as the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Pjazza Teatru Rjal and the newly-restored Fort St Elmo, bringing a layer of history to the festival’s already rich narrative. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: Glocal Festival Communities

10 July 2014

Every festival today faces the need to justify its existence. Festivals exist in a larger societal framework and have responsibilities, just like individual citizens or large corporations, for the development, openness and well-being of that society. As I travel across Europe, visiting a diverse array of festivals, I see they are all working on connecting the arts and the artists with people. They are bridging various agendas representing a ‘glocal’ struggle that most arts organisations experience nowadays: addressing global issues, engaging local communities, surprising citizens with new artistic discoveries and celebrating cultural heritage – all the while fighting for economic survival. Read the full blog by Kathrin Deventer on Festival Bytes - more...

Beiteddine Art Festival as an act of faith

04 July 2014

The Beiteddine Art Festival is one of the leading festivals in the Middle East. It takes place in a large and magnificent 200-year old Palace in the Chouf Mountains, in Lebanon. Throughout its history the festival has hosted some of the biggest names in the industry placing Lebanon on the cultural map of the Arab world. The 2014 edition takes place 26 June to 9 August. - more...

EFA newsletter FestFlash 2/2014: While waiting for one’s festival

02 July 2014

Many festivals around Europe have already kicked off their 2014 editions; even more festivals are still to open their doors to their audiences. For those of you who are curiously waiting for their favourite festival to start, like our blogger Hasan Isikli from Izmir, we invite you to explore some festival issues together with EFA’s bloggers on Festival Bytes. Albert Edelman shares with us his vision of an ideal festival. Kathrin Deventer allows some insights into what happens when you invite composers for a real co-creation process during which their compositions are open for discussion and criticism. Ceyda Berk embarks on a journey from the 'Temple of Artemis' to 'A Rose for Lilly', looking at festival venues, from ancient buildings to a modern concert hall. Eva Nunes discusses the role of arts and culture in times of conflict. Jelle Dierickx dives into the cultural scene of a remarkable city, the city of Sarajevo. And Steve Austen talks about trends in the Dutch festival landscape. - more...

62nd Ljubljana Festival opens with Carmina Burana

01 July 2014

The 62nd edition of the Ljubljana Festival, featuring a highly diverse and exciting programme, will run between 1 July and 1 September this summer. Five concerts in Ljubljana’s Congress Square together with one at the Piazza Unità in neighbouring Trieste will make for an even more varied summer beat across two cities. At the opening of the Festival today, 1 July, over 300 musicians will perform one of the most brilliant scores of the 20th century, Carmina Burana, the cantata by German composer Carl Orff. - more...

Dubrovnik Summer Festival created rich programme for its anniversary season

30 June 2014

The Dubrovnik Summer Festival in its 65th edition is to be opened on 10 July at 9.00 pm in front of the St Blaise’s Church. The Festival, traditionally taking place from 10 July to 25 August, will play host to some 2000 artists from all over the world. During 47 festival days, more than 70 theatrical, musical, ballet, folklore and other events will take place in nearly twenty open-air venues and settings in Baroque - Renaissance city of Dubrovnik. - more...

Emilia Romagna Festival: with music around the world

25 June 2014

The Emilia Romagna Festival (ERF) takes place from 20 July to 16 September. The 2014 programme is a musical journey that goes around the world covering it with a clear choice and moving on solid tracks: the past, with the Bach project entrusted to Ramin Bahrami (artist in residence) and the contemporary, with an important presence, the world première of "Warum? Wozu? Wodurch?" from the legendary composer Sofija Gubajdulina, fresh Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale, a piece of music history that will be in Romagna for this première, and then with the EU project MUSMA which sends us over the radio waves of Europe. - more...

Last Israel Festival under Yossi Tal-Gan’s direction closed its 53rd edition

24 June 2014

For 53 years the Israel Festival has been one of the cultural events most identified with the city of Jerusalem, both locally and internationally. Over the years the Festival has carried on an ongoing artistic dialogue with the historical sites and institutions of the city. The festival hosted leading artists and wisely harnessed the city’s uniqueness and magical sites as a magnet for artists from East and West. It has broken out of theatre venues to set its stage amid the ancient stones and ramparts of city's historical locations. - more...

National Arts Festival Rises to the Occasion on its 40th Anniversary

23 June 2014

The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year (3-13 July 2014), has announced a landmark Main programme which will feature the work of 65 former Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners; artists from 26 countries; over 550 performances in Theatre, Dance, Performance Art and Music; nine specially commissioned music works; musicians with more than 40 South African Music Awards and three Grammy Awards under their belt, and an ambitious, sprawling ‘Creation of a Nation’ project across Grahamstown. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: That old festival feeling

19 June 2014

The early music movement – that is: a way of looking at repertoire with an open and informed eye to the context of the work’s creation and reception, taking into account instruments, performance practice, among other things – really got going thanks to festivals. Bruges, Utrecht, Antwerp and Boston, to name but a few, have long operated as showcases for the latest research, the wildest experiments and, over time, the biggest names they themselves had helped grow. And this was long before music from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and often even the Baroque became fashionable on ‘regular’ stages as it is now. Read the full blog by Albert Edelman on Festival Bytes. - more...

Mersin Festival closes with a message of peace

19 June 2014

The beautiful and musical hot summer nights at Mersin International Music Festival include a wide variety of artists: from famous opera soprano Angel Joy Blue to Spanish jazz/pop singer Buika, national orchestras with Italian and Turkish conductors, young and talented violinists from Turkey and abroad, world music and traditional dance. The event closing the Mersin Festival on 11 June brought together Turkish violinist Cihat Askin and two great artists from Israel for “In a Free Spirit”. Together with Yair Dalal (oud & violin) and Erez Mounk (percussion), they presented the audience with a spiritual wealth of ‘Maqam’, Jewish and Turkish music in the wonderful setting of the St. Paul’s church of Tarsus. - more...

88th Varna Summer International Music Festival promises to be feast for music lovers

18 June 2014

The Varna Summer International Music Festival opened its 88th edition on 14 June 2014 with a symphony concert featuring Varna Philharmonic with principal conductor Svetoslav Borissov and young violin virtuoso Alehandra Soumm. Special guest at the opening ceremony and concert was Kathrin Deventer, Secretary General of the European Festivals Association (EFA). The festival runs until 8 August. - more...

Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Beirut, 21-27 March 2015: apply now!

18 June 2014

Are you part of the next generation of artistic festival directors? Do you want to broaden your programming skills and be inspired by colleagues and experienced leaders in the field? Do you want to join a new network of future festival leaders worldwide? The Festival Academy’s 2015 Atelier for Young Festival Managers, initiated by the European Festivals Association (EFA), will take place from 21 to 27 March 2015 in Beirut, Lebanon, in collaboration with the Beiteddine Art Festival. Young festival managers from all over the world are invited to apply until 12 September 2014. In the vibrant Lebanese cultural city, some 10 renowned festival directors will guide 45 participants through the 7-day training programme. - more...

“Eternal Rhythms and Timeless Masters of Music”: Izmir Festival kicked off with Krzysztof Penderecki

17 June 2014

The Izmir Foundation for Culture Arts and Education (IKSEV) organises the 28th International Izmir Festival between 14 June and 3 September 2014. The 600th anniversary of diplomatic relationships between Turkey and Poland will be celebrated with the participation of the best artists from both countries in the Great Theatre of Ephesus. The opening concert was held on 14 June 2014 at 21.30 pm in the Great Theatre of Ephesus. After the opening ceremony, Krzysztof Penderecki who is one of the greatest artists, composers and conductors of our age, conducted the Sinfonia Varsovia, an established and internationally renowned art institute of Poland. - more...

Successful MusMA edition in Ankara adds to European music repertoire

16 June 2014

MusMA (Music Masters on Air), the European Broadcasting Festival, is an international initiative introduced in 2009-2010 by ten leading European festivals, all members of the European Festivals Association (EFA). The Turkish leg of MusMA is managed by Sevda-Cenap And Music Foundation (SCAMF), the organiser of the Ankara International Music Festival. The project is supported by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) and radio stations in nine countries that broadcast classical music. The MusMA V workshop was held in Ankara from 24-26 April 2014, organised by the Sevda-Cenap And Music Foundation. The theme “Water”, also proposed by SCA Music Foundation, is the topic of the coming MusMA project. - more...

EFFE – Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe launched, applications for EFFE Label open

11 June 2014

EFFE is a new international festival community in the making. Are you deeply committed to the arts? Do you interact with your local community? Do you feel that you are a European and a global actor? Do you want international recognition for what you do and would you like your peers and public to be better informed? EFFE – Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe – is a gateway into Europe’s festivals specialised in everything cultural. It intends to broaden awareness of what’s going on in the festival world and to promote excellence and innovation. The first of EFFE’s initiatives is a quality label. This label is given to festivals with an artistic commitment, involvement in their local communities and a European and global outlook. All festivals in European Union countries can apply. Applications for the first two-year edition are open until 15 November 2014. - more...

21st Usedom Music Festival discovers Poland’s Musical Heritage on the Two-Country-Island

10 June 2014

Poland and Germany - for centuries both countries have enjoyed a lively cultural exchange. On the Island of Usedom, they even share an island. From September 20 to October 11, 2014 the 21st Usedom Music Festival focuses on these connections. Under the motto "Poland's musical heritage before, after and including Chopin", 40 events explore the classical musical legacy of Poland through concerts, exhibitions and tours at 27 locations on the Polish and German Island of Usedom. - more...

Music Biennale Zagreb launches "5-Minute Opera" competition

10 June 2014

It is almost a year to go before the doors of the 28th Music Biennale Zagreb (MBZ) open on 18 April 2015. The festival is now in a position to start revealing bits and pieces, more accurately it would like to present a new project: Music Biennale Zagreb is launching a new composers' competition - 5-Minute Opera. Though the festival’s operas are short and sweet, this very specific competition will give courageous composers the opportunity to face the ultimate challenge: to create a so called "flash" opera. In other words: an entire opera to fit two singers, eight instruments, and that in only 5 minutes. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: Waiting for one’s festival

06 June 2014

Festivals are people’s desires. Everybody awaits their festival for a whole year while the daily life continues with its regular sorrows, worries, happiness, anger and frequently apathy. When the festival starts it’s the time of Dionysos: the pleasure, folly, surprise and new sensations. For the sake of being respected in society this part of humans is usually repressed due to one’s cultural codes. Hence, one’s festival is the duration when the subjects reconnect to their social and physical environment by new discoveries and by multiplying their perception. Some people await a wedding of a relative so that they can see other members of the family and friends. Some people wait for a carnival where they enjoy themselves and get involved in a city’s tradition that transfers its values from old generations to the new ones. And other people wait for their art festivals of which they expect new surprises and discoveries each time. I am one of those waiting for an art festival: the International Izmir Festival, called İzmir Festivali by the locals. Read the full blog by Hasan Isikli on Festival Bytes. - more...

Yerevan Perspectives festival celebrated 15th anniversary with Staatskapelle Berlin

05 June 2014

For its 15th jubilee edition, the Yerevan Perspectives International Music Festival presented a remarkable concert in Yerevan. On 13 May, Staatskapelle Berlin with maestro Daniel Barenboim performed a concert at the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall. Maestro Barenboim, amazing as always, and the orchestra of almost 450 years of tradition, a symbol of highest artistic level, will remain forever in the memory of 1500 wonderful audience members. Daniel Barenboim received the Gold Medal of the Yerevan Perspectives Festival from the festival‘s Founding President and composer Stepan Rostomyan. The medal was initiated by the artistic board of Yerevan Perspectives on the occasion of the festival’s 15th anniversary and is given to outstanding musicians of our time. - more...

2014 Festival Readings to take place during Sibiu International Theatre Festival

03 June 2014

The 2014 Festival Readings will take place from 12 to 14 June in Sibiu, Romania (11:00-14:00; Astra Cinema Hall, Small Scuare, no 11) during the Sibiu International Theatre Festival. Hosted by the Sibiu Arts Market, the unique 3-day programme will consist of public lectures and debates and introduce participants to artistic festival management. An initiative of The Festival Academy and the European Festivals Association (EFA), the Festival Readings in 2014 will include Jan Simko (International Theatre Festival Divadelna Nitra), Marie-Agnès Sevestre (Les Francophonies en Limousin); Ada Paukstyte (Vilnius Festivals); Maria Szilagyi (Contemporary Drama Festival); Nelson Fernandez (NFA International Arts and Culture); and Hugo De Greef (General Coordinator of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers). - more...

Water Tower Art Fest: artist-run initiative showcases contemporary art in Sofia

03 June 2014

NGO IME and Water Tower Art Fest are pleased to announce the 8th edition of the annual Water Tower Art Fest, taking place from 20-25 June 2014 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Water Tower Art Fest is an artist-run initiative that showcases contemporary art in alternative spaces. Since 2012 Water Tower Art Fest is a proud member of the Bulgarian Festivals Association (BFA), which is one of EFA’s collective and affiliate members. - more...

Urban Nomads//Mongol Citizens: the fruits of an Atelier encounter

02 June 2014

The Festival Academy and the European Festivals Association (EFA) are delighted to see fruitful collaborations emerging from the Atelier for Young Festival Managers. Two Alumna of the Atelier – Corinna Bethge (Atelier IZMIR 2011) and Enkhzaya Jamsran (Atelier SINGAPORE 2011) met in 2011 in Ulaanbaatar; Enkhzaya was then working at the Arts Council of Mongolia (ACM). Today, three years later, ACM director Ariunaa Tserenpil collaborates in the festival project Urban Nomads//Mongol Citizens that Corinna first developed at the Atelier in Izmir in 2011. The upcoming Berlin edition of the festival is entitled “Crossing Identities - Beginners, Experts, Hybrids”. - more...

Atelier for Young Festival Managers POZNAN (20-27 October 2014): Deadline approaching!

27 May 2014

The next Atelier for Young Festival Managers will take place from 20-27 October 2014 in Poznan, Poland. To take part in the Atelier POZNAN 2014, The Festival Academy (initiative by the European Festivals Association) and the Malta Festival Poznan invite young festival managers from all over the world to apply until 30 May 2014! Festivals, cultural organisations, networks, foundations, universities etc. are invited to delegate a young festival manager to participate in the Atelier POZNAN 2014, and to spread the information broadly to their members, partners, contacts and interested people. - more...

“The Song of Nature”: 42nd Istanbul Music Festival to kick off on 31 May

26 May 2014

The 42nd Istanbul Music Festival organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) under the sponsorship of Borusan Holding welcomes music lovers with an impressive programme this year. The Istanbul Music Festival will be held from 31 May to 27 June, centring on the theme "Song of Nature". The opening ceremony and concert will take place on 31 May at Zorlu Center Performing Arts Center: the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gürer Aykal will accompany the young cellist Dorukhan Doruk. - more...

New on Festival Bytes: Culture and conflict: hope and optimism in times of darkness

23 May 2014

On 13 May 2014, the European Festivals Association (EFA) was delighted to welcome the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), and Sir Jonathan Mills, to what has become a tradition: to present the year’s festival programme in Belgium. As EFA Secretary General Kathrin Deventer stated, “it is a great opportunity for us to share the relevance of an artistic programme with the audience, artists, festival directors and policy makers." Read the full blog by Eva Nunes on Festival Bytes. - more...

Applications for International Enescu Competition 2014 open until 1 July

22 May 2014

Young musicians can apply to the 2014 edition of the Enescu International Competition (6-27 September, Bucharest, Romania) until 1 July 2014. The Enescu Competition is organised according to international standards for musical contests, within the George Enescu Festival, a top 5 Festival in Europe, and offers prizes over 100.000 Euros. The Enescu Competition’s first edition was in 1958, when the Enescu Festival was first launched, in the memory of the famous Romanian composer, George Enescu. It reaches this year its 14th edition. The competition has been a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions since 2002. - more...

EFA newsletter FestFlash 1/2014: Inside the Atelier for Young Festival Managers

20 May 2014

In this FestFlash, the European Festivals Association (EFA) gives you not only insights into the Atelier for Young Festival Managers and its incredible new network of festival managers from all over the world; what’s more, it provides some first-hand insights into festival making, as well as a series of questions festival makers ask themselves. - more...

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