Summer in Salzburg: Synonymous with Music & Culture

The baroque buildings and spacious squares of Salzburg's Old Town provide the unique setting for the distinctive cultural programme offered by the town in the summer season.

The Salzburg Festival's Jedermann [Everyman] is staged in the Cathedral Square, and the mediaeval premises in Hohensalzburg Fortress serve as workshops for artists from all over the world attending the International Summer Academy, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

Salzburg in summer is synonymous with music and culture. The world-famous Salzburg Festival presents an extensive and modern programme, featuring major performers from the international classical music world as well as young theatre producers. Apart from the town's major venues, the Sommerszene and the Siemens Fest>Spiel>Nights offer more informal music events, and the recent 5020 festival provides a platform for DJs and live acts in the Old Town's parks and squares. 



In summer, Salzburg opens up a broad spectrum in both music and art. The Sommerszene in June has developed into an avant-garde complement to the Festival. A contemporary, interdisciplinary artistic concept includes dance, drama and performance together with installations, films and concerts, some of which are presented in public space. Salzburg also makes its mark in the visual arts. In 2023 the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts – founded in Hohensalzburg Fortress in 1953 as the "School of Vision" by the distinguished Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka – celebrates its 70th anniversary. As the first summer academy of its kind in Europe, it has always been a meeting-place for people of all ages and from diverse backgrounds and social classes. Director since summer 2020 has been Sophie Goltz, curator and art educator, a native of Dresden. The 2023 focus is on expanded painting, which includes performance, scenography, film and installation. Open Days invite the public to view students' work and to experience the special potential of the two locations: Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Untersberg quarry in Fürstenbrunn. To mark the anniversary, a special exhibition will be held in the Traklhaus.

The 5020 festival, founded in 2022, shows the attractive range of the summer programme for the younger generation. This unconventional series of events is held in public spaces, galleries and club-rooms. The programme will be presented in May 2023. 



The Salzburg Festival is undisputedly one of the beacons of European culture. For over a century, the Festival has combined opera, drama and concerts, transforming the town for six weeks into its own small cosmos. The programme planners have no qualms about staging contemporary works and productions.  The new Jedermann [Everyman] production with Michael Maertens as Everyman and Valerie Pachner in the roles of both Paramour and Death is eagerly awaited – the most recent rendering of the play at the heart of the Festival having been marked by gender fluidity. Classics such as the operas Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart and Macbeth by Verdi are offset by the stage adaptation of Michael Haneke's Liebe (Amour) and Mareike Fallwickl's Die Wut die bleibt. The easily accessible jung & jeder events for the younger generation, and the popular Siemens Fest>Spiel>Nights on the Kapitelplatz are designed to appeal to new and future Festival audiences.

In 2023, besides the 50th anniversary of the Whitsun Festival, the Salzburg Festival celebrates one of its founders: Max Reinhardt (1873 – 1943). To mark these memorial years, the Festival is devoting symposia and exhibitions to the genius of this "magician of the theatre". The Festival archive – one of the most comprehensive theatre archives in Austria – will be opened in autumn 2023 as a permanent public exhibition in former Weizner Villa in the Riedenburg. 



With the Rupertinum in the heart of the Old Town and the Museum on the Mönchsberg, the Salzburg Museum of Modern Art exhibits in two locations. The foundation was laid in 1983, with the opening of the Rupertinum Museum of Modern Art and Graphic Collection in the Festival precinct. The early baroque building, which had long been used as a student hostel, had to be adapted for its new function, and Friedensreich Hundertwasser added striking contemporary accents on the façade with his Zungenbärte [tongue-beards]. In 2022, Werner Reiterer's Mind Traffic installation was erected in the courtyard. The summer 2023 exhibitions are devoted both to this anniversary and to challenging theatre photography by Ruth Walz, who works regularly for the Salzburg Festival. The Mönchsberg location will show works by Czech artist Maria Baruzszová for the first time in Austria.

A further founding will be remembered this year: it is exactly 100 years since the former residence of the Salzburg prince-archbishops was converted into an art gallery – curiously enough, without owning a single art-work. Today, the Residenzgalerie Salzburg enjoys an outstanding reputation. The highlights of the collection are paintings from the former Vienna collection of Count Czernin, which are under federal monument protection and constitute some of the most valuable cultural possessions of the Province of Salzburg. To mark the centenary, all 70 paintings of this collection will be exhibited.

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