Bremen for music-lovers
Rock, pop and classical and everything in between
With one of the finest concert halls in the world, an exceptional orchestra and a unique jazz festival, Bremen is the ideal destination for anyone who loves music. Concerts of all genres from church music to singer songwriters find their audience here. Many have become cult events.
One of the best is the Bremen Music Festival, which takes place every year at the end of August and beginning of September. Its fantastic line-up includes soloists, conductors, orchestras and ensembles as well as many other talents. Everything from jazz and world music to opera is featured on the programme. The festival traditionally opens with Eine grosse Nachtmusik on the illuminated market square, during which a variety of musical highlights gets everyone talking.
Many of the music festival concerts take place at Die Glocke concert hall, whose outstanding acoustics lend themselves to high-calibre chanson evenings and gentle jazz sounds. The resident orchestra, the Bremen Philharmonic, plays more than 60 concerts every season. One of the finest concert halls in the world, Die Glocke offers its visitors a musical experience to remember.
Fans of classical music can also look forward to performances by the German Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra Bremen. Internationally acclaimed Beethoven symphonies are among the audience-pleasers favoured by its artistic director and conductor Paavo Järvi. Founded in 1980, this world-renowned chamber orchestra has previously guested in Japan, Canada, Europe and the US. And every year, it serves up evenings to remember at the Summer in Lesmona festival in Knoops Park in the north of Bremen – an open-air classical music extravaganza that also presents the perfect opportunity to picnic in style!
The jazzahead programme is equally unforgettable. Held in spring, this mix of festival and fair puts Bremen at the heart of the international jazz scene with more than 350 exhibitors from more than 30 countries. In 2010 alone, thousands of people attended the 65 concerts.
More intimate but no less enjoyable are the jazz nights on Bremen's theatre ship. Every Monday evening from 9pm, 'Jazz on Board' sees Bremen-based saxophonist Dirk Piezuka together with other acclaimed musicians play classic numbers and their own compositions.
Another intimate venue and an island of blues and rock 'n' roll amid a sea of discos is Meisenfrei. Founded back in 1997, this specialist club accommodates up to 300 fans of blues and rock 'n' roll.
But Bremen can also do big. Robbie Williams, Lionel Richie, Rammstein, David Garrett and Xavier Naidoo are among the many stellar acts to have appeared in the ÖVB Arena – a venue that offers everything from rock, pop, hip-hop and soul to jazz, techno, metal and classical. All the world's a stage at the ÖVB Arena.
Pier 2, in the city's port, has also attracted a galaxy of stars including Alice Cooper, Bushido, Pietro Lombardi and Milow. This popular event venue regularly features acclaimed comedians, political satirists and musicians.
For entertainment on a budget, try the Schlachthof arts centre or the Tower. The programme includes German chart acts such as Samy Deluxe and Pohlmann, but there is also plenty to enjoy from lesser-known talents. It's an insider's tip for fans of music beyond the mainstream. KITO in the old Vegesack warehouse in the north of Bremen also offers fantastic music at affordable prices, spanning the genres of jazz, blues, folk, chanson and classical.
Things get loud and funky at the Breminale, the free open-air arts festival held every year on the Osterdeich. It provides a stage for big-name acts such as Joy Denalane and Jupiter Jones as well as for up-and-coming, alternative musicians.
Also free are the concerts put on by the University of the Arts during term time. From Schumann's piano concerts to live singing exams, the university offers a platform for a wide range of musical talents.