The Bennigsen Summer Festival, which was first held in 1995, is an annual event in which its founder and director, Roderic von Bennigsen, lends expression to his ideas and ideals in a distinctively personal manner. This ambitious festival is driven by a number of different aims including the promotion of exceptionally talented young artists, the presentation of symphony concerts by renowned orchestras, and appearances by world-famous soloists. Special items in its programmes have also included a performance by the Kirov Ballet of St Petersburg, a gala evening with the Club of Rome, and a showing of the 1960s Russian film War and Peace.

The transformation of the Bennigsen estate into a cultural centre began back in 1994, when an exhibition of works by Russian artists associated with the Perestroika movement was held there. Since then, in addition to musical events, the festival programme has offered lectures and philosophical symposia. From 1995 onwards, well-attended concerts by great philharmonic orchestras such as London’s Royal Philharmonic, the Gewandhausorchester zu Leipzig, the Russian National Orchestra and the La Scala Orchestra of Milan, have performed during the Festival. The Bennigsen Summer Festival’s tenth anniversary was marked by a ceremonial address from the German Federal President, Christian Wulff. It has become a popular attraction, not only for artists but also for a discerning national and international public. Some 45,000 people have attended the Festival in recent years.
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