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Romantic castle and world-class festival at the Wolkenturm
The Grafenegg Festival location is one of the largest and most beautiful European historicist castle complexes, built on an aristocratic estate acquired by Ulrich von Grafeneck in the 15th century. After an eventful history, Count August Ferdinand Breuner constructed the castle in its present form in the English Tudor Gothic style around 1840, and it was acquired in the late 19th century by the Metternich-Sándor family. The castle is surrounded by an expansive landscape garden with rare century-old trees.
It was renovated after damage during the Second World War and has been a summer concert venue since 1971. With the construction of the Grafenegg Wolkenturm, a unique open-air stage, in 2006, the Festival joined the ranks of the elite European open-air festivals. Since then, the world’s finest orchestras have been making appearances at the Wolkenturm, which was designed by The nextENTERprise – the Romantic castle is complemented by a splendid example of contemporary monumental architecture. 1700 seats and 300 lawn spaces are available for the summer concerts and three-week-long festival starting in mid-August; in case of inclement weather, the concerts are held in the newly-built auditorium on the castle grounds.

© Gustav Danzinger, ORF - Radio Österreich 1

Facts


  • Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder has been the Festival’s Artistic Director since its inception.

  • The Grafenegg summer season begins in mid-June with the star-studded Summer Night Gala, which is also regularly broadcast internationally on television.

  • The orchestra-in-residence is the Tonkünstler Orchestra with its current principal conductor Yutaka Sado.

  • Each year Grafenegg invites a composer-in-residence for performances, conducting appearances, and workshops – from Krzysztof Penderecki and Heinz Holliger to Jörg Widmann.

  • Ink still wet is a unique project that provides young composers with the opportunity to optimize an orchestral work with the composer-in-residence and then conduct it themselves.

  • The acoustic shell of the Wolkenturm, built by the Munich firm Müller-BBM, makes it one of the world’s best open-air stages from an acoustic point of view.

  • The auditorium, with its 1300 seats, is used year-round.

  • Chamber music concerts also take place in the historic Alte Reitschule (old riding school), where receptions and banquets are also held.

  • The Grafenegger Advent is one of the country’s most atmospheric Christmas markets, with an extensive cultural program held on the castle premises.

  • The furnishings of the castle premises incorporate all the fine arts, with works by prominent sculptors and painters from the mid-19th century.

  • The 17th century Baroque garden was converted into an English landscape garden when the Romantic castle was built.


Did you know?


  • Since 2007, each composer-in-residence plants a new tree of his or her choice in the castle park.

  • In a list from the year 1910, 193 different conifers were catalogued at the Grafenegg castle park.

  • The park grounds are open daily to visitors and can be used for picnics and receptions.

  • In the stables of the Alte Reitschule (old riding school), visitors can admire the marble troughs that were used to water the horses.

  • Today Grafenegg Castle is owned by Tassilo Metternich-Sándor, born in 1965.

  • Singer Robert Holl presided over the “Romantic Music Week” in Grafenegg for many years.

  • In 1984 and 1987, the Castle served as the venue for the two-part Lower Austrian exhibition “The Age of Franz Joseph.”

  • The Romantic castle was designed by Vienna’s cathedral architect Leopold Ernst, who modeled it on Strawberry Hill Castle in Twickenham, England.

  • The Castle’s music archive, which included many Schubert autographs, was almost completely lost in 1945.

  • The nearby surroundings of Grafenegg include such places of interest as the Wachau Region World Cultural Heritage site, the old cultural city of Krems, and a number of magnificent monasteries.


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Associated Collections