History of the ION

Tradition and Change

From the International Organ Week Nuremberg – Musica Sacra to the Music Festival ION

Only six years after the Second World War, amid a European landscape of scars, Nuremberg sent out a signal of reconciliation and spiritual rehabilitation. In 1951, the church musicians of the two major protestant churches in oldtown-Nuremberg, St. Lorenz and St. Sebald, organised the International Organ Week Nuremberg – Musica Sacra (ION) for the very first time.

Centring around the impressive Organs, sacred music created a space where people from Nuremberg, Germany and Europe can meet. The spiritual and uniting power of the music, presented in unique churches – this is the exceptional spirit of the ION.

For almost two decades, Werner Jacob has coined the ION. He was followed by the artists Robert King and Wilfried Hiller. From 2013 to 2018, concert designer Folkert Uhde gave many new impulses to ION. In 2019, the ION takes place for the first time with Moritz Puschke as Art Director. The new festival name “Music Festival ION” keeps the tradition of the International Organ Week Nuremberg through the abbreviation, but connects it with the conciseness and internationality of a modern cultural event.

Today, almost 70 years after its creation, the ION is a bright festival and a forum for sacred music which is unique in Europe. Grand gala concerts, unusual experiments, symposia, workshops, the school project and every two years the renowned Organ Competition – the ION is a success story. And it still is tangible in concerts and numerous encounters, this exceptional spirit of freedom, of an accessible culture and of the embracing reconciliation in the heart of Europe.


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