Dear friends of the classical guitar,
In the southwestern tip of the german state of Saxony, where the four corners of Turingia, Bavaria, Bohemia and Saxony meet, - the so called "Euregio Egrensis" - you will find a unique gem: the music region of Vogtland.
It is here that the XXV. International Guitar Festival "Abel "Carlevaro" (also called "Gitarre und Natur") takes place every year in the small town of Erlbach, among the woods and valleys of a delightful low mountain landscape.
Information about the region
Erlbach lies in the Green Heart of Europe, at the Southern extreme of the German province of Saxony, close to the border with the Czech Republic. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty and idyllic landscapes, with mountains and forests worthy of the Grimm brother's fairy tales. The area attracts visitors from many parts of Europe and beyond, drawn by its relaxed atmosphere, historical attractions and beautiful nature.
Undoubtedly the most remarkable aspect of this region is a centuries-old tradition of musical instrument construction. Already in the 17th century, violin makers who had emigrated from neighbouring Bohemia established the first guild of their craft within Germany in the Oberes Vogtland (Upper Vogtland), the name given to this region. This tradition reached its zenith in the late 19th century, when the towns of Markneukirchen, Erlbach and Klingenthal accounted for approximately 75 per cent of the worldwide production of musical instruments. In the course of the 20th century, the musical instrument industry suffered the disastrous effects of two world wars and their political aftermath, yet this tradition is still very much alive and growing today. There are several remarkable musical instrument museums, and many active builders of every kind of musical instrument, recognized all over the world for their excellence and quality. The two towns of Erlbach and Markneukirchen contain more than a dozen guitar builders of world-class level. The Fachhochschule of Markneukirchen, specializing in the training of musical instrument construction, attracts students from all over the world.
The unique character of this area, along with its close proximity to some of Europe's most outstanding historical tourist attractions (Leipzig, Dresden, Prague and the Bohemian spa triangle of Carlsbad, Marienbad and Franzenbad) allows for a whole range of excursions and tourist activities. You may find out why Beethoven, Goethe, Wagner, Chopin, to name but a few, enjoyed their vacations at those spas.
The J. S. Bach connection
It was in Saxony and neighbouring Thuringia where J.S.Bach was born and spend virtually all of his working life. All the towns and cities where he lived (Leipzig, Cöthen, Arnstadt, Mühlhausen, Weimar) as well as his birthplace of Eisenach , are within two hours' reach of Erlbach. Bach enthusiasts will have a field day.