The Festival

About us

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

Morgenland Festival Osnabrück has been dedicated to the captivating music cultures of the MENA, Caucasus and Central Asian regions since 2005, encompassing traditional music, classical, avant-garde, jazz and rock genres. With its focus on regions that often evoke clichéd images (positive and negative), the festival aims to counteract these stereotypes by presenting authentic experiences.

The festival has received extensive press coverage, including from the BBC, CNN, ARTE, 3Sat, ARD, the Tehran Times, the Hindu Post, Syria Times, Der Spiegel, Stern, FAZ, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian.

Morgenland Festival Osnabrück has also organised concerts, festivals, choir and orchestra projects in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. In 2013, it invited 65 musicians to Iraqi Kurdistan for a festival, with performances taking place in Erbil and Sulaimaniya. Other notable festival highlights include Iran’s first Western symphony orchestra performance since 1979 (in 2007) and the first performance of Bach's St. John Passion in Iran (in 2008).

The festival has cooperated with Cairo Opera House, Damascus Opera House, Izmir State Opera, Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Holland Festival, Elbphilharmonie, Stiftung Schloss Neuhardenberg, Daniel Barenboim & the West Eastern Divan Orchestra, Lahore World Music Festival, Flamenco Biennale Nederland, Pergamonmuseum Berlin, Bimhuis Amsterdam, American University of Beirut and the Oriental Landscapes Festival Damascus among others.

The festival has premiered commissioned works by notable composers such as Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Nader Mashayekhi, Saed Haddad, Kinan Azmeh, Zaid Jabri, Issam Rafea, Dima Orsho, Nouri Iskander and more.

Numerous documentary films and CDs have been produced, both about the festival itself and events associated with it, several of them receiving record prizes.

In 2009, the festival established the Morgenland Chamber Orchestra, which has worked with artists such as Alim Qasimov, Djivan Gasparyan, Dima Orsho, Maias Alyamani, Kinan Azmeh and many others. In 2012, the Morgenland Morgenland All Star Band was formed – with its exhilarating and global mesh of traditional, jazz and rock music, the All Star Band has fascinated audiences at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, the Philharmonic Hall in Almaty, the Saygun Culture Center in Izmir and in venues throughout China.