What is the Grachtenfestival about?


Grachtenfestival is a ten-day festival in Amsterdam that yearly takes place in August. It's the summer festival for classical music, jazz, and music from other cultures. Young musicians from all over the world surprise you with their own musical story. If you want to get to know the rising stars of the future, come to the Grachtenfestival! Past, present, and future come together in contemporary combinations of musicians, genres and locations. The city of Amsterdam, from east to west and from north to south, serves as the festival playground. With more than 250 concerts at 90 different locations.

Openingsconcert Grachtenfestival 2018 in de Zuiderkerk Foto: Melle Meivogel


The presentation and development of young musicians has an important place within the Grachtenfestival. That is why, over the years, a number of initiatives have emerged that, in addition to organizing the summer festival, offer the space for talent development of young musicians.

For example, the Grachtenfestival Prize is awarded annually to a musician or ensemble that already excels in his or her field at a young age. A professional jury consisting of journalists and programmers determines the three nominees. They are then closely monitored in their development in the period of January till August. The winner will be announced during the festival in August. The Grachtenfestival Prize winner will be the "artist in residence" of the following festival. This means that the ensemble or musician who wins can put together a program and becomes the face of the coming festival.

Since 2003 the Grachtenfestival Conservatorium Concours has been organized. The opportunity for the most talented students at the Dutch conservatories to present themselves to a large audience. The audience and jury prize winners win one or more concerts at the Grachtenfestival, a series of concerts through the Netherlands and a performance in the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw.

Finally, the Grachtenfestival Pitches. Recently graduated musicians have the opportunity to pitch their idea for a concert during the Grachtenfestival to a professional jury. They do this in predetermined categories. For example, there may be a location pitch for which the musicians are asked to present an idea. The person with the best idea, performance, and play can win a concert during the coming festival.