Incantato Destinations: Leipzig, Germany

Leipzig, with a population of approximately 519,000, is the largest city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. Since the 17th century, Leipzig has reigned as a major European center of learning and culture, thriving especially in the fields of music, astronomy, and optics.
Leipzig later played a crucial role in the fall of communism in Eastern Germany, through events taken place in and around the Saint Nikolai Church. Following the Reunification of Germany, Leipzig underwent significant change with the restoration of historical buildings and the development of a modern transportation infrastructure. In 2006, the city hosted key matches during the World Cup.
Leipzig was ranked 35th of 265 world cities for cultural, economic, and social innovation in 2009. The following year, the city earned the rank of 68th highest quality of life in the world.
First documented in the 1015, Leipzig has fundamentally shaped by the history of Saxony and the nation of Germany. The city has always held a reputation as a place of great commerce. The Leipzig Trade Fair remains the oldest, and most internationally important, trade fair in the world since its beginning in the Middle Ages. Leipzig probably receives most if its international recognition, however, for its rich and diverse musical history.
Johann Sebastian Bach famously worked in Leipzig from 1723 to 1750. 1813 marked the birth of composer Richard Wagner in Leipzig. Felix Mendelssohn established Germany’ first conservatory of music in Leipzig in 1843, and personally invited Robert Schumann to study there. Gustaz Mahler served as conductor at the Leipzig Theater from 1886 to 1888 where he received great acclamation for completing and presenting Carl Maria von Weber’s opera “Die Drei Pintos.”
The conservatory is now the University of Music and Theater, offering students a broad variety of both performance and education studies in all orchestral instruments, voice, interpretation, coaching, piano chamber music, orchestral and choral conducting, and composition. Musical styles studied at the University include jazz, popular, musical theater, classical, and sacred. The school also hosts a drama department offering classes in acting and dramaturgy.
The city’s musical tradition is also reflected in the worldwide fame of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the choir of the St. Thomas Church. Leipzig has offered for the past sixty years the country’s oldest “School Concert” program, presenting more than 140 concerts annually, educating and inspiring over 40,000 children through music.
Leipzig is also well known for its contemporary, independent music scene and subcultural events. Additionally, the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts hosts a variety of worldly art, including the Neo Rauch retrospective that opened in April 2010. The New York Times praises Leipzig as the “the toast of the contemporary art world” in the past decade, featuring the city in the Top 10 of its “31 Places to Go” article published, in 2010.  
Leipzig hosts a multitude of annual cultural events throughout the year, including an a capella vocal music festical, Bachfest in honor of Johann Sebastian Bach, the city’s famous holiday Christmas Market, Jazztage contemporary jazz festival, Stadtfest city festival, and the Pop-Up independent music trade fair and festival.