Music lies at the heart of German culture, and no other country today can offer lovers of orchestral and vocal music an experience of such consistently high quality. Academy Travel’s annual musical pilgrimage to Germany is based, as always, on an outstanding line-up of 10 performances by some of the world’s leading orchestras at first-class opera houses, and uncovers the history of musical patronage in Germany. Gain a deep appreciation of the country’s musical genius as well as its modern revival, with long stays in major centres of musical excellence, background talks and musically-themed sightseeing.
Masterpieces of the Austro-German repertoire: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Bruckner, Wagner, Richard Strauss and Mahler
Leading artists: Soloists Julia Fischer, Leonidas Kavakos, Yefin Bronfman and Martin Fröst; Conductors Daniel Barenboim, Andris Nelsons, Osmo Vänskä, Vladimir Jurowski, Herbert Blomstadt, Daniel Harding and singers Klaus Florian Vogt, Ludovic Tézier, Lise Davidsen and Anita Rachvelishvili
Leading orchestras: All four of Berlin’s major orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
The Bavarian State Opera and Berlin’s Komische Oper
Australian artists in Germany: Conductor Simone Young and director Barry Kosky
10 performances are included in the tour:
The Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields with violinists Julia Fischer and Augustin Hadelich, playing Bach, Schnittke and Dvořák
Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser at the Bavarian State Opera, conducted by Simone Young
Mahler’s Symphony No 1, ‘Titan’, and Alban Berg’s violin concerto with violinist Leonidas Kavakos and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Robert Schumann’s violin concerto and Brahms’s Symphony No 4, with the Central German Symphony Orchestra
Andris Nelsons conducting the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Buckner’s Symphony No 5
Daniel Barenboim conducting the Staatskapelle Berlin and playing piano in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 27 and star mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili in Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky cantata
Barry Kosky’s production of Puccini’s La bohème for the Komische Oper
Vladimir Jurowski conducting the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra in Richard Strauss’s violin concerto and Beethoven’s Symphony No 6, ‘Pastoral’
The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert Blomstedt and with pianist Yefim Bronfman, playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 2 and Swedish composer William Stenhammar’s masterpiece of 1915, Symphony No 2
Osmo Vänskä conducting the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin in Barber, Copeland and Sibelius’s Symphony No 4
Days 1–5: In Munich, attend three performances. Enjoy the Alte Pinakothek and Lenbachhaus art museum, and an excursion to Nymphenburg.
Days 6–8: Explore Wagner’s Bayreuth. Continue to Leipzig, home to Bach and Mendelssohn. Attend a concert and matinee at the Gewandhaus. Explore the Frauenkirche and Old Master’s Gallery on a day trip to Dresden.
Days 9–16: Enjoy five excellent performances over seven nights in Berlin. Visit the array of galleries on Museum Island and explore European Masters at the Gemäldegalerie. Excursions to Potsdam’s Sanssouci and Charlottenburg.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Qatar Airlines have daily flights into Munich and out of Berlin. Contact us for fares and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Monday 6 May: Arrive Munich
The tour commences at the hotel in Munich at 6pm. Meet your tour leader and fellow travellers in the lobby of the hotel for introductions and drinks followed by dinner in the hotel. Overnight Munich (D)
Tuesday 7 May: Nymphenburg Palace
This morning we explore Munich with a guided walking tour through the city centre. In the afternoon we travel a short distance to Nymphenburg, summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs and visit the commanding baroque palace and expansive landscaped gardens. This evening we gather for a welcome dinner at a well-known Munich restaurant. Overnight Munich (B, D)
Wednesday 8 May: Fine art in Munich – Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields
We start today with a visit to the Alte Pinakothek which holds one of the most significant art collections in the world. Among the European masterpieces on view are paintings by Dürer, Titian, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens and Murillo. After free time for lunch we continue to the Pinakothek der Moderne, home to four outstanding museums under one cupola-topped roof: art, graphic art, architecture, and design. Our opening concert is with the renowned Academy of St Martin-in-the-fields, founded by Sir Neville Marriner in 1959. The program includes Bach’s concerto for two violins, a masterpiece of the German baroque repertoire. Overnight Munich (B)
Performance details Venue: Gasteig, Munich Program: JS Bach, Concerto for two violins, strings and basso continuo BWV1043; Alfred Schnittke Concerto grosson No 1 for two violins, harpsichord, piano and string orchestra; Antonin Dvorak Serenade for String Orchestra in E major, op.22 Performers: Academy of St Martin-in-the-fields, Julia Fischer and Augustin Hadelich (violins)
Thursday 9 May: Lenbachhaus – Tannhauser
In the middle of the 19th century, Munich was one of the most important art centres in Europe, and in the 1880s, Lenbach was one of the most famous artists in Germany. Today Lenbachhaus is home to the stunning collection of art from the early 20th-century Der Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group: Kandinsky, Klee, Jawlensky, Macke, Marc, and Münter. Tonight, we head to the National Theatre in Munich, arguably Germany’s leading opera house, to hear a key work of the German romantic repertoire. Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser premiered in Dresden in 1845, with a plot based on medieval German legends, but presented in a radical, sexually exploratory way through Wagner’s music and lyrics. Australian conductor Simone Young leads the ensemble. Overnight Munich (B)
Performance details Venue: National Theatre Munich – Bavarian State Opera Program: Wagner’s Tannhäuser Performers: Bavarian State Opera, Simone Young (conductor), Klaus Florian Vogt (Tannhäuser), Ludovic Tezier (Wolfram), Lise Davidsen (Elisabeth)
Friday 10 May: At Leisure – Bavarian Radio Symphony
Today is at leisure in Munich. Your tour leader will recommend possible sightseeing options. Tonight’s concert with Munich’s leading orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, features Gustav Mahler’s ground-breaking Symphony No 1, a harbinger of so many of this symphonist’s later works. Overnight Munich (B)
Performance details Venue: Gasteig, Munich Program: Alban Berg Concerto for Violin and Orchestra; Mahler Symphony No 1 in D major ‘Titan’ Performers: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding (conductor), Leonidas Kavakos (violin)
Saturday 11 May: To Leipzig – Leipzig MDR Symphony Orchestra
This morning we depart for Bayreuth, an elegant provincial city where Wagner chose to build his Festspielhaus, a theatre specifically designed to house his great music dramas. We visit Wahnfried, the villa built for him by King Ludwig, also known as the Richard Wagner Museum. After a break for lunch, we continue to Leipzig. In the first of two concerts at the Gewandhaus concert hall, the Leipzig-based MDR Symphony Orchestra plays two cornerstones of 19th-century German orchestral music, Schumann’s Violin Concerto and Brahms’s Symphony No 4. Overnight Leipzig (B, L)
Performance details Venue: Gewandhaus, Leipzig Program: Charles Ives Three places in New England; Robert Schumann Concerto for violin and orchestra in D Major; Johannes Brahms Symphony No 4 in E major, op.98 Performers: Leipzig MDR Symphony Orchestra, Markus Poschner (conductor), Carolin Widmann (violin)
Sunday 12 May: Bach & Mendelssohn Museums – Gewandhaus concert
A leisurely stroll takes us to the Gewandhaus for a morning concert conducted by Andris Nelsons in the great hall, noted for its fine acoustics. Following the performance, we visit the house where Felix Mendelssohn lived from 1845 until his death in 1847. Now a museum, we visit the carefully restored apartment furnished in late Biedermeier style and see his music salon which is still in use for concerts today. This afternoon we visit the Thomaskirche where J.S Bach worked and the adjoining Bach Museum, celebrating the composer’s life and legacy and housing a display of his original manuscripts. In today’s matinee concert, celebrated Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons, currently music director of both the Boston Symphony and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, leads a performance of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No 5, a monumental and complex work written in 1876 but first heard in 1894. Dinner this evening is at Auerbachs Kellar, frequented by Goethe and immortalised in Faust. Overnight Leipzig (B, D)
Performance details Venue: Gewandhaus, Leipzig Program: Bruckner’s Symphony No 5 Performers: Gewandhaus Orchestra, Andris Nelsons (conductor)
Monday 13 May: Day trip to Dresden
We drive to Dresden today where our touring begins with the Old Masters Gallery, located in the Zwinger Palace and containing European works from the Renaissance to the 18th century. We continue to the Frauenkirche, the monumental 18th-century church destroyed in the devastating air raids of World War II, restored and re-opened in 2005. Overnight Leipzig (B)
Tuesday 14 May: To Berlin – Berlin Staatskapelle
Today we travel to Berlin, one of the most interesting and diverse of all the great capitals of Europe, with a rich and complex history where we spend the next seven nights. On arrival we take a brief orientation walk of the central Mitte district. Our concert program in Berlin kicks off with an outstanding event at the Philharmonie concert hall. Renowned musician Daniel Barenboim plays and conducts Mozart’s moving final piano concerto, No 27 in B-flat major. After interval mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili, one of today’s leading singers, joins Barenboim and the orchestra for Prokofiev’s wonderful Alexander Nevsky cantata. Overnight Berlin (B)
Performance details Venue: Philharmonie, Berlin Program: Nikos Skalkottas, Small suite for string orchestra; Mozart Piano concerto No 27 in B flat major K595; Prokofiev Alexander Nevsky, cantata for mezzo-soprano, chorus and orchestra Performers: Staatskapelle Berlin, chorus of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, Daniel Barenboim (conductor & piano) Anita Rachvelishvili (mezzo soprano)
Wednesday 15 May: Gemäldegalerie – La Boheme
This morning we visit the stunning Gemäldegalerie. Assembled in the early 19th century, the gallery’s collection represents all the major schools of European painting and includes masterpieces by Botticelli, Raphael, Caravaggio, Breughel, Vermeer and Rembrandt. Berlin’s Komische Oper, currently under the artistic direction of Australian Barry Kosky, enjoys a fine reputation for verve and originality. In a break from the German repertoire, tonight we enjoy Kosky’s well-regarded production of an operatic staple, Puccini’s La Bohème. Overnight Berlin (B)
Performance details Venue: Komische Oper Berlin Program: Puccini’s La bohème (Barry Kosky production) Performers: Komische Oper, Jordan de Souza (conductor), Heather Engbretson (Mimi), Vera-Lotte Bocker (Musetta), Jonathan Tetelman (Rodolfo) Gunther Papedell (Marcello)
Thursday 16 May: Museum Island – Berlin Radio Symphony
On the site of one of Berlin’s two original settlements, this unique complex of five state museums is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit in Berlin. Today we visit the Alte Museum, which houses an impressive collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, and the Bode Museum’s large collection of sculpture. Tonight, at the charming Konzerthaus, Russian maestro Vladimir Jurowski (for many years artistic director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra) leads a performance of key German works – Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss and Beethoven. Overnight Berlin (B)
Performance details Venue: Konzerthaus, Berlin Program: Mendelssohn ‘The Hebrides’ overture op.26; Richard Strauss, Concerto for violin and orchestra in D major op.8; Beethoven Symphony No 6 in F major ‘Pastorale’ Performers: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski (conductor), Alina Ibragimova (violin)
Friday 17 May: At Leisure – Berlin Philharmonic
Today is at leisure in Berlin. You may wish to return to Museum Island and perhaps visit the Pergamon Museum or one of Berlin’s many other attractions. In what is sure to be a musical highlight of the tour, tonight we hear the Berlin Philharmonic and pianist Yefim Bronfman playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 2. After interval Swedish-American conductor Herbert Blomstedt introduces us to William Stenhammer’s Symphony No 2. Written in 1915 this remarkable work is considered the composer’s masterpiece. Overnight Berlin (B)
Performance details Venue: Philharmonie, Berlin Program: Beethoven, Piano Concerto No 2 in B Flat major op.19; William Stenhammar, Symphony No 2 in G minor, op.34 (1915) Performers: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert Blomstedt (conductor), Yefim Bronfman (piano)
Saturday 18 May: Potsdam
Today we travel to nearby Potsdam, to investigate court life at the time of Frederick the Great. Potsdam was the capital of the state of Brandenburg and a former royal city. We visit the splendid rococo palace of Sanssouci, which Frederick made his main residence. Overnight Berlin (B)
We depart by coach to Charlottenburg, where we visit the Berggruen Museum with its exceptional collection of modern art including works by Matisse, Klee and Giacometti. After lunch we take a guided tour of the richly decorated interiors of the Palace of Charlottenburg, constructed between 1695 and 1713 as a summer home for Sophie Charlotte, wife of Elector Friedrich III of Prussia. Our final performance sees the excellent Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin under the exceptional Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä in a program culminating with Sibelius’s Symphony No 4. Overnight Berlin (B)
Performance details Venue: Philharmonie, Berlin Program: Samuel Barber, First Symphony, op.9; Aaron Copeland, Clarinet Concerto; Jean Sibelius, Symphony No 4 in A minor, op.63 Performers: Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Osmo Vanska (conductor), Martin Fröst (clarinet)
Monday 20 May: Farewell to Berlin
This morning we begin with a visit to the German History Museum, a magnificent baroque structure extensively refurbished by I.M. Pei. The permanent exhibition showcases 1500 years if German History form the Middle Ages to the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Our time in Berlin culminates with a farewell lunch atop the Reichstag, seat of the German parliament. This building symbolises the struggles and eventual triumph of the city. First opened in 1894, destroyed by fire in 1933, the Reichstag became the first meeting place of a reunified Germany. The reconstruction of the building was completed in 1999 to a plan by British architect Sir Norman Foster. His plan included an extraordinary glass dome at the top of the building, offering 360° views of the surrounding city. Overnight Berlin (B, L)
Tuesday 21 May: Departure
The tour ends after breakfast. Departing group members transfer to Berlin airport for outgoing flights. (B)
Dr Rosamund Bartlett
Is a cultural historian who has lectured and written widely on music. Her books include Wagner and Russia and Shostakovich in Context.
Rosamund Bartlett is a cultural historian with a particular interest in European Modernism, and in opera. She completed her doctorate at Oxford, and pursued an academic career for fifteen years before becoming a full-time writer and translator. During this time she served on the Council of the Royal Musical Association and organised several international music conferences which included collaborations with the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Borodin String Quartet, and Oxford Contemporary Music. She maintains an active scholarly profile and is currently an Honorary Associate in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sydney. Her opera research has been supported by the British Academy and a Fernand Braudel Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence.
She is the author and editor of several books, including Wagner and Russia, and Shostakovich in Context. As well as contributing to publications such as the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, she has written articles for the Royal Opera House, La Monnaie and Opera Australia. She has taken part in broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, and been asked to give pre-concert talks including for the Proms, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Oxford Lieder Festival. In 2017 she was commissioned to translate the original libretto of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth for the Salzburg Festival. She speaks several languages, and has been travelling to Germany since she was a teenager, when she was an exchange student in Munich. She has extensive experience leading tours throughout Europe.
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.