The Liszt Biennale is held every two years around the Whitsun weekend in Thuringia. Under the motto 'Pain and Passion' the programme from 5 to 10 June 2019 includes concerts in Weimar, Sondershausen, Meiningen or Erfurt as well as a performance of Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser opera at Wartburg Castle in Eisenach.
Liszt – citizen of the world and icon – and associated with Thuringia in a particular way. Together with Johann Sebastian Bach, he was the outstanding musician in the central German cultural region. As a phenomenal pianist, as a conductor and as a composer, as a teacher and a musical organiser, he dominated local musical life in the mid-19th century and exercised a wide-reaching influence, in both geographical and chronological terms.
The focus of his activities in Thuringia was Weimar, which he made into a musical centre of European standing in the 1850s, taking up the heritage of Goethe and Beethoven, Schiller and Herder. But in other Thuringian towns too, he, his students and the works of the “New German School” that he headed had a great influence, particularly in Eisenach, Sondershausen, Jena, Erfurt and Meiningen.