A stroll through the old town of Rothenburg is a feast for the senses: the eyes, the nose and, above all, the ears. That’s because music is deeply rooted in the town’s history. This ranges from the tradition of the mastersingers to baroque composers. Secular renaissance music and church music still occupy a significant place in the musical life of the town. In recent decades, Rothenburg has also opened up to the whole gamut of historical and contemporary musical styles. In addition, a music school and a youth orchestra were founded (1984), making a lasting investment in the musical education of children and young adults.
This history of Rothenburg’s sacred music stretches back to the start of the Reformation. Some of the cantors in the town’s most important place of worship, the Church of St. James, were composer and musicians whose fame spread far beyond the town. The baroque masters Erasmus Widmann and Franz Vollrath Buttstett were among them, however, the lesser-known Georg Falck, who was both composer and Kapellmeister, musicologist and music researcher.
The imposing Church of St. James is still the beating heart of the town’s church music scene. This is mainly because of the Rieger organ that replaced the old Steinmeyer organ in 1968, its powerful, warm sound filling the entire gothic nave during services and concerts alike.
Around one hundred concerts are held here each year, mostly with top-class soloists and ensembles from at home and abroad. Director of Sacred Music, Jasmin Neubauer has been cantor at St. James since 2017.
Chamber music lovers will find plenty of opportunities to enjoy top quality classical music in Rothenburg at Kunst Kultur Korn in the Korn Central Garage, which has been converted into a cultural center, and in a variety of intimate settings.
The high point of the music calendar is the Rothenburg Master Concert, which has been given by the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra in the Municipal Hall every two years since 1988.
Music has a long and venerable tradition in Rothenburg. As a source of entertainment during get-togethers or as an accompaniment to an evening’s dancing, music has lost none of its attraction for the sons and daughters of the town.
Since the establishment of the Taubertal-Openair-Festival, contemporary pop music has also been part of the mix. Ever since 1995, thousands of visitors stream into the meadow at the gates of Rothenburg every year in August to enjoy the rhythm and sounds of electric guitars, keyboards and drums.
At the Bar-Hopping in January, regional and international cover and live bands and DJs appear at the towns numerous bars and hip venues. Throughout the year there are also themed parties (70’s and 80’s nights) as well as rock and jazz evenings for those of us who are forever young.