The concerns of a Festival whose only option is excellence

Exacting artistic demands
Based on a well-defined, coherent idea, the Colmar Festival adheres to demanding standards to attain veritable international renown - attracting musicians and ensembles of the highest level and organizing a well thought-out and well-planned schedule of events.

An original concept for a festival unlike any other
The choice of a central theme is a particularly original concept that has ensured the perpetuity of the Festival of Colmar; the annual tribute to a great musician has become its main theme.

This concept enables the festival to approach all repertoires and opens new horizons: tribute to an instrument, a country, a culture, etc.

This unusual approach gives unity and special coherence to the festival's entire musical program.

Thus, since 1989 Colmar has focused on several artists.

The artists who have been honoured by the International Festival of Colmar have not only been exceptional performers, for their absolute devotion to classical music and art, in addition to their humanism and feeling of duty to others, has often led them to a more global commitment.

The Artistic Director
Russia is the land of his heart, but this does not stop Vladimir Spivakov from constantly dreaming of a great ecumenist surge bringing peoples and artists together. This dream has been the driving force behind his artistic direction of the International Festival of Colmar over the past ten years (since 1989).

An extremely talented virtuoso, a conductor invited by major orchestra formations and the charismatic conductor of his own orchestra The Moscow Virtuosos, Vladimir Spivakov is also the musical director and main conductor of the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia.

An artist of renown
After winning numerous prizes in international violin competitions (Montreal, Long-Thibaud in Paris, Tchaikovsky in Moscow, Paganini in Gênes…), Vladimir Spivakov began a brilliant international career. His career took off in the West after a triumphant tour of the United States in 1975 and numerous concerts in Europe. The most renowned orchestras welcomed him as a soloist: Chicago, New York, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Berlin, etc and he played under the direction of the greatest conductors: Bernstein, Solti, Ozawa, Maasel, Abbado, Giulini...

In 1979, after his debut as a conductor at the Ravinia Festival of Chicago, Vladimir Spivakov formed his own orchestra, the Moscow Virtuosi, in Russia. In this remarkable chamber orchestra he brought together solo musicians belonging to the best ensembles in his country.

Very rapidly the Moscow Virtuosi gained a sound international reputation, giving more than 120 concerts a year throughout the world.

After acclaiming his exceptional gifts as a violinist, his recordings (more than 30 discs in 5 years) and his magnificent work as the artistic director for the Festival of Colmar, the public applauded Vladimir Spivakov as a complete artist.

A festival looking towards the future
Since the beginning, the International Festival of Colmar, spurred on by its artistic director, has most particularly endeavoured to assist and promote young musicians.

Thus, each year Vladimir Spivakov gives a chance to young artists from the four corners of the world.

Alongside acclaimed artists, these highly talented young people, destined to become the great names of tomorrow, perform in Colmar with an orchestra or in a recital. Acting as a springboard, these concerts often give a tremendous boost to their careers.

Indeed, the Colmar Festival prides itself on the success of its program for young talents.

The Masterclasses
From 1990 to 1994, the Colmar Festival organized a music academy which offered a fine opportunity for both professors and students. Renowned professors and soloists from such illustrious conservatories and music schools as the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia, the Menuhin School of Great Britain, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, the Gnessine Academy of Moscow, and the Hanover, Frankfurt and New York Conservatories gathered in Colmar.

All the participants received a daily one-hour individual lesson adapted to their musical level. Some students had the privilege to work with well-known artists including Graffman, Heisser, Kraïnev, Pludermacher and Bashkirov.

Many of the Colmar music academy participants went on to perform brilliantly, gaining admission to some of the most prestigious European schools, winning various international competitions and embarking on careers as soloists.

Throughout the Festival, more than 30 professors and assistants, 300 participants and 20 soloists shared this unforgettable experience.

Music school
In order to revive the teaching vocation of Colmar festival, the National Music School, with the partnership of the Festival team and the support of the cities of Colmar and Guebwiller, has been organizing since 2002 a Music Academy. For four consecutive years the lessons took place in the High Alsace Dominican Abbey.

This Music Academy will take place from the summer 2006 on the premises of the Colmar National Music School. It proposes as part of the festival animations 10 days of lessons in the following disciplines : violin, cello, piano and flute. French, Russian and German teachers will give lessons to small groups of students (7 people maximum) with a personalized and adapted follow-up. Moreover, the best students will be given the opportunity to play during the concerts of the municipal library's cloister, which attract larger audiences each year.