It was back on 19 September 1973 that the first concert took place in the great hall of the palace in memory of the 400th birthday of Count Caspar of Hohenems. Back then, the idea of a festival hosting the works of Franz Schubert in Hohenems started to form, followed by further musical performances featuring globally renowned chamber orchestras and singers such as Hermann Prey and Edith Mathis. The Schubertiade is considered as having been established in 1976, with Gerd Nachbauer and singer Hermann Prey responsible for the organisation of the programme during the early years. However, it was soon Gerd Nachbauer on his own who succeeded in leading the festival to glory, which before long achieved a remarkable, international reputation. Hohenems soon became an inside tip amongst music fans from all parts of the world, and it wasn’t long before it started receiving visitors from as far afield as the USA. In the absence of a better alternative for a big enough hall for orchestra concerts, and since the palace was out of service due to restoration works, the Schubertiade moved to different places for a few years. However, today it is at home in the Bregenzerwald and in Hohenems once again.
Under the direction of the founder of the Schubertiade, set as it is in the picturesque countryside of the Bregenzerwald, the works of Franz Schubert have a flair of their very own, the audience wends their way past grazing cows to the Angelika-Kaufmann-Saal in Schwarzenberg, the table is already reserved in one of the many restaurants providing a gourmet dining experience, people are familiar with and appreciate each other. Anyone who travels to Vorarlberg once – or even twice – a year in order to listen to Schubert’s song cycle or a string quartet interpreted by one of the contemporary stars of classical music, enjoys a loving connection with music and the country. Loyal music fans from the four corners of the earth also gladly meet up in Hohenems, where the former gymnasium has now been adapted especially for the occasion of the Schubertiade. Many of them can still recall the very first concerts in Hohenems. Once you fall in love with the Schubertiade, you cannot keep away – some visitors have been coming back for 40 years.
The best soloists, singers, string quartets, orchestras and choirs don’t need to be asked twice – the top-notch, special Schubert festival of global renown is proof of an excellent career, with the list of artists making guest appearances at the Schubertiade to date equalling a “who’s who” of the world of lieder and chamber music. These musical events have been first-rate ever since the start, the constant utilised capacity and continual extension of the programme between May and October (recipient of no subsidies incidentally) are clear signs that the requirements have been fulfilled. With around 80 events and 40,000 visitors annually, today the Schubertiade is the most renowned Schubert festival worldwide. Nowhere else will you find the globally best performers and such a high number of lieder evenings, chamber concerts and piano recital evenings exclusively by Franz Schubert. Orchestra concerts, readings and talks as well as the three museums are a great introduction to Franz Schubert’s works. A further exclusive service are the master courses offered by eminent artists which attract numerous new talents to the region.