Salzburg Advent Singing
Advent in Salzburg
Year after year nearly 200 participants on stage and behind the scenes of the Large Festival Hall make sure that Salzburg Advent Singing lives up to its outstanding reputation: an intimate, unforgettable event that has become a fixture on Salzburg's pre-Christmas program. Approximately 36,000 visitors from Austria and abroad travel to Salzburg during the Advent season to experience the world-famous event firsthand.
Tobi Reiser was a musician, singer and traditionalist who first gathered friends and acquaintances to sing and make music together in December 1946. Nearly 40 people came to hear the songs and melodies in the unheated rooms.
The circle of listeners soon grew. The first official event was held in the Imperial Hall of the Residence in 1950; the Advent concerts moved to the University's Aula Academica in 1952. The famous poet, Karl Heinrich Waggerl, held humorous, reflective recitations to an enthusiastic audience for many years. The unique event, featuring musicians, singers and actors from Salzburg and Bavaria, continued to fascinate a growing audience. In 1960 the bold venture was undertaken to move the event to a bigger venue, the Large Festival Hall. Since then Salzburg Advent Singing has become an internationally renowned cultural institution.
The two protagonists, Tobi Reiser, Sr. and Karl Heinrich Waggerl, died in the mid-seventies, allowing Tobias Reiser, Jr. to ring in a new era. The event evolved to become a perfect combination of tradition and zeitgeist. Classic/modern stage design, impressive stage lighting, newly interpreted folk music compositions and elaborate lyrics augmented a new Advent Singing format.
The third era began after the sudden death of Tobias Reiser, Jr. in 1999. Hans Köhl and Stefan Sperr took over the overall direction as members of the organizer's board of directors (Salzburger Heimatwerk) and long-time companions. Meanwhile countless Advent concerts throughout the alpine region have been modeled on Salzburg's Advent Singing. Salzburg Advent Singing celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006.