The Festival

About Us

“A pioneering and thrilling celebration of Middle Eastern music…“
Simon Broughton in BBC Music Magazine

The Morgenland Festival Osnabrück has dedicated itself since 2005 to the fascinating music culture of the Near and Middle East, from traditional music to classic and avant-garde, jazz and rock. With its focus on a region which immediately conjures up positive and negative cliché images, the Festival has set itself the goal of counteracting these images with authentic ones. The Festival gives the audience and its guests the opportunity to encounter one another as something complex – sometimes related, sometimes inspirationally alien.

The extraordinarily extensive press coverage (BBC, CNN, ARTE, 3Sat, ARD, Spiegel, Stern, FAZ, New York Times, Washington Post, Tehran Times, Hindu Post, Syria Times) and annual visitor figures of nearly 100% serve to document the special significance of this Festival.

The Morgenland Festival Osnabrück has realized Choir and Orchestra projects in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. In 2013 it invited some 65 musicians from 9 countries to Kurdistan, Iraq for a Festival lasting several days with performances in Erbil and Sulaimaniya. Other highlights of the Festival were the first concert in Iran by a western symphony orchestra since 1979 or the first performance ever in Iran of Bach's St. John Passion.

Numerous documentary films and CDs have been produced about the Festival itself as well as events linked to it.

Commissioned works by Franghiz Alizedeh, Nader Mashayekhi, Saed Haddad, Kinan Azmeh, Zaid Jabri, Issam Rafea, Dima Orsho and Nouri Iskander have been premiered during the Festival. 2009 saw the foundation of the Festival's own Morgenland Chamber Orchestra and the Morgenland All Star Band was formed in 2012.

Michael Dreyer is founder and Artistic Director of the Morgenland Festival Osnabrück. He was born in Göttingen and studied concert guitar at the Musikhochschule Detmold/Münster. In 2005 he founded the Morgenland Festival Osnabrück and in 2013 he initiated the International Music Summer in Kurdistan, Iraq. He was also responsible for the festival “Salam Syria” at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. Together with the Argentinean guitarist Hugo Gaido he founded the record label Dreyer Gaido Musikproduktionen, which has now published over 120 CDs as well as some films. As author and co-producer he has collaborated closely with the Dutch film producer Frank Scheffer for film productions about music in Iran. For his work Michael Dreyer was awarded the “International Music Peace Prize” of the Praetorius Music Prize. Since 2022 he is manager of the NDR Bigband.