Destination-Worthy Music Festivals to Visit on Carnegie Hall+

A Viewing Guide

It’s often called the “off season,” but summer is full of classical music—if you know where to look. From the Swiss Alps to Salzburg, Bonn to the Berkshires, open-air festivals let the world’s top artists explore their crafts against splendid scenery. But if boarding a plane, slathering on the sunscreen, and heading into the great outdoors isn’t your preferred mode of concertgoing, you’re still in luck: Carnegie Hall+ now offers subscribers access to a wealth of classic festival programs for premium, on-demand viewing. Here are eight venues worthy of a virtual visit.

Arena di Verona Festival (Verona, Italy)


Located less than 150 km from neighboring Milan, the picturesque city of Verona sits on the Adige River. It’s home to so many Roman edifices and landmarks of Medieval architecture that it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. At its heart is an ancient Roman amphitheater built in 30 CE that seats 22,000 and has already been earmarked for the closing ceremonies of the 2026 Winter Olympics. Since 1913, the space also houses the summer Arena di Verona Festival, an annual showcase of the world’s brightest opera stars. On Carnegie Hall+, offerings include a recent concert performance of Mozart’s Requiem, led by Marco Armiliato with a dazzling quartet of soloists and the Orchestra e Coro dell’Arena di Verona.

BBC Proms (London, United Kingdom)

The Proms—popular shorthand for the more formal Henry Wood Promenade Concerts Presented by the British Broadcasting Company—is an annual, eight-week series of daily orchestral and chamber music concerts held in central London’s Royal Albert Hall, with various other music styles and venues mixed in. Some of it is broadcast beyond the auditorium by—you guessed it—the BBC. While a “promenade concert” once described the outdoor events held in London’s pleasure gardens, today “promming” refers instead to the use of the standing areas inside the hall, where “prommers” or “promenaders” are free to come and go as they please. Adding to the series’ democratic feel, programs often include popular artists as well as well-known classical works. Subscribers to Carnegie Hall+ can experience the lineup for themselves with unforgettable performances from the likes of Martha Argerich, the Kanneh-Mason family, and John Wilson.

BBC Proms on Carnegie Hall+

BBC Proms: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Sheku Kanneh-Mason on stage with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  Sheku Kanneh-Mason on stage with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
BBC Proms: The Eight Seasons
Joshua Bell and a string ensemble performing on stage Joshua Bell and a string ensemble performing on stage
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla at the BBC Proms
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla conducting Barbara Hannigan on stage Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla conducting Barbara Hannigan on stage
BBC Proms: First Night of the Proms (2019)
An orchestra on stage An orchestra on stage

Beethovenfest (Bonn, Germany)

Launched in 1845 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, the annual Beethovenfest also serves as tribute to the historic city of Bonn, the composer’s birthplace. Approximately 70 concerts bring leading orchestras, ensembles, and soloists to this stunning town on the Rhine, with performances taking place in more than 20 venues in the region. Despite the festival’s 117-year history, its pathbreaking performances demonstrate that this is no staid affair. A 2007 performance of Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony will be available on Carnegie Hall+ beginning September 2022, in which conductor Gustavo Dudamel leads the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela through a stirring reading of Beethoven’s revolutionary warhorse, then lets loose with a medley of energetic pieces by Latin American composers Revueltas, Arturo Márquez, and Ginastera.

Bregenz Festival (Bregenz, Austria)

A unique Seebühne, or floating stage, greets the large international crowd that flocks each year to Lake Constance in the Vorarlberg region of Western Austria. At the Bregenz Festival—where the Vienna Symphony Orchestra comes to roost every July and August—art is surprising, eccentric, and intended to be presented in all manner of creative milieux. Works including symphonies, operas, and plays are spread out across classic opera houses, workshops, and sheds; the orchestra also makes a point of collaborating with a different conductor each season. In 2019, German filmmaker Philipp Stölz (previously known to audiences as the director of music videos by Mick Jagger, Garbage, and Madonna) unveiled a witty and sardonic new staging of Verdi’s Rigoletto at Bregenz. Backed by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and starring baritone Vladimir Stoyanov, the performance is now available on Carnegie Hall+.

Gstaad Menuhin Festival (Gstaad, Switzerland)

At the Menuhin Festival in the alpine town of Gstaad, Switzerland, violin is king. Founded in 1957 by violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin, the annual series now comprises more than 50 performances over a period of seven weeks and spotlights a vast array of renowned soloists and ensembles. Gstaad’s mountainous landscape, long cherished by skiers and jet setters, provides an undeniably glamourous backdrop for the established players—among them violinist Julia Fischer, pianist Sir András Schiff, and soprano Cecilia Bartoli—who make their way to this alpine paradise, as well as for the rising virtuosos at the International Menuhin Music Academy. On Carnegie Hall+, virtual concertgoers can experience violinist Hilary Hahn’s exquisite rendition of J. S. Bach’s violin concertos alongside conductor Omer Meir Wellber and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Lucerne Festival (Lucerne, Switzerland)

Truly one of the leading international festivals in classical music, the Lucerne Festival has grown from an elite Swiss showcase for conductor Arturo Toscanini to its present incarnation: a sprawling, three-part playground for orchestra aficionados. Its summer season alone presents more than 100 events, drawing top-shelf musicians, maestros, and students to the shores of Lake Lucerne. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra is now itself ranked among the world’s preeminent ensembles, ready to stand alongside the other legendary orchestras that roll into town throughout the festival. In 2011, conductor Andris Nelsons and the Concertgebouw Orchestra joined forces with pianist Yefim Bronfman for a concert that included Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. You can catch all of it on Carnegie Hall+.

Salzburg Festival (Salzburg, Austria)

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site bedecked with Roman ruins, a Medieval fortress, and numerous Baroque churches, the Austrian city of Salzburg plays host to a summer music festival largely dedicated to the works of Mozart, who was born there. Since its post-war revival by the likes of Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss, the festival has inspired legions of conductors—Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, and Riccardo Muti, among others—to expand their horizons with new works by up-and-coming composers. The Salzburg Festival has also given world-famous opera singers a laboratory for experimentation: picture mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli as Maria in West Side Story, a role she tried in Salzburg in 2016. Carnegie Hall+ features many past marvels from the festival, including Mitsuko Uchida’s radiant take on Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20; Gustavo Dudamel’s blazing rendition of Stravinsky’s The Firebird, and Igor Levit’s intimate rendering of Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas.

Salzburg Festival on Carnegie Hall+

Salzburg Festival: Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová
Corrine Winters performing on stage Corrine Winters performing on stage
Yefim Bronfman and Andris Nelsons
Andris Nelsons and Yefim Bronfman bowing on stage Andris Nelsons and Yefim Bronfman bowing on stage
Yuja Wang at the Salzburg Festival
Yuja Wang standing in front of an orchestra Yuja Wang standing in front of an orchestra
Salzburg Festival: Dudamel and Kissin
Gustavo Dudamel conducting Evgeny Kissin on stage Gustavo Dudamel conducting Evgeny Kissin on stage
Mozart’s Così fan tutte
Three performers sitting on a flight of stairs Three performers sitting on a flight of stairs
Bernard Haitink: The Final Concert
Bernard Haitink standing in front of an orchestra Bernard Haitink standing in front of an orchestra

Tanglewood (Lenox, Massachusetts)

Nestled among the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, Tanglewood has long served as a dreamy respite for nearby urbanites wishing to escape the city heat. Its outdoor venue, the Koussevitzky Music Shed in Lenox, is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops. For an entire summer, the lawn outside is a verdant vision of picnickers and bons vivants, all enjoying an evening of music under the stars. Noted Tanglewood music directors have included the likes of Erich Leinsdorf and Seiji Ozawa, but the festival has also won the hearts of numerous national treasures: Composer Aaron Copland was so smitten, his ashes were scattered over the Tanglewood Music Center. And Leonard Bernstein was another frequent visitor, dispatching a poignant rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony that can now be found on Carnegie Hall+.

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