Welcome to the

International Festival

for amateur pianists


International Festival for Amateur Pianists

from 24 to 27 August 2024 in Meiningen

Making music is an occupation for life. Musical education and training often focuses on children and young people. The International Festival for Amateur Pianists, on the other hand, deliberately focusses on adults making music, invites them to masterclasses and offers performance opportunities.

At the same time, the festival is an offer to concert-goers to get involved with ambitious pianists who are full of passion for their instrument and devote a lot of time and energy to it. Professionally, however, they have chosen a different path.

The concerts will include a dialogue format designed to bring the abstract concept of lifelong learning to life and enable encounters with these extraordinary artists.

Hans von Bülow

Hans von Bülow in a contemporary photograph

Why in Meiningen in particular?

The pianist, conductor and teacher Hans von Bülow performed with amateurs on several occasions during his time as court conductor with the Meiningen court orchestra. He performed large choral symphonic works with amateur choirs and taught pianists who were not professional musicians.

More information about Hans von Bülow here.

The International Hans von Bülow Society has been organising an international piano competition since 2012, which also included the "Amateurs" category until 2018. We want to continue this tradition.

Today, the term "amateur" often has negative connotations. With the festival, we want to make visible the unusual artistic personalities that can be found under this term.

What does the festival offer?

from 23 August (arrival) to 28 August (departure) 2024 in Meiningen

  • Open masterclasses over several days with renowned piano professors, lessons of 3 x 60 minutes, 1 x 30 minutes on 4 days
  • Public performance opportunities with concerts in a historical setting
  • It is planned to offer professional concert recordings
  • Exchange and inspiration between like-minded people from all over the world
    Guided tours to places of Meiningen's exciting musical history and excursions in the region 


At your convenience: A room contingent at the Hotel Sächsischer Hof, where Hans von Bülow and Johannes Brahms once stayed.

The lecturers

Masterclasses with renowned piano professors:


Prof. Christian Wilm Müller

The Meiningen-born pianist Christian Wilm Müller studied with Volkmar Lehmann (Weimar) and Oleg Maisenberg (Stuttgart/Vienna). Other important teachers for him were Detlef Kraus (D), Menahem Pressler (USA) and Ferenc Rados (H). He has been awarded numerous prizes and scholarships as a soloist and chamber musician. Concert tours - often as the pianist of the Liszt Trio Weimar - have taken him throughout Europe, to Australia, Iran, Japan and South Korea.

The Professor of Piano at the Franz Liszt University of Music Weimar has been teaching for over 25 years. Many of his students have won prizes at national and international competitions. He has given and continues to give masterclasses in Europe, the USA, Australia, Japan and South Korea.



Christian Wilm Müller

Prof. Sontraud Speidel

Sontraud Speidel received her first piano lessons at the age of five and began her studies at the Karlsruhe University of Music with Irene Slavin at the age of eleven. After graduating from high school, she continued her studies with Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen in Karlsruhe, Branka Musulin in Frankfurt, Stefan Askenase in Brussels and Géza Anda in Lucerne.
Sontraud Speidel is Professor of Piano at the Karlsruhe University of Music. She has been a visiting professor at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, at the Université de Montreal, at the National University of Arts in Seoul and at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England. Every year she gives masterclasses in Germany, Vienna and South Korea.
Several contemporary composers have dedicated works to Sontraud Speidel and entrusted her with world premières. In addition to the standard repertoire, she also devotes herself to rarely performed piano music of the 19th century. In 2000, she was awarded the Silver Decoration of Honour for Services to the State of Vienna and in 2001 she was appointed Music Director of the newly founded Clavissimo Festival in Seoul, South Korea. In 2005, she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and in 2011 was honoured by the Karlsruhe University of Music with the inaugural Eugen Werner Velte Prize. In 2019, she was awarded the Opus Klassik in the World Premiere Recording of the Year category for her recording of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 in a transcription for piano four hands together with pianist Eveline Trenkner. Sontraud Speidel is represented on over 50 CDs to date.


Pianists of all ages who do not earn their living by playing or teaching the piano are invited to participate.

The participation fee of € 550.00 includes individual lessons on four consecutive days (3 x 60 minutes, 1 x 30 minutes), opportunities to perform in concerts as desired (the programme will be determined on site with the teachers) with professional recordings as well as several city and museum tours.

Please register by the end of June 2024 at the latest. You will make our planning much easier if you inform us earlier. Thank you very much!

Registration form (fillable PDF)

For individual room bookings (not included in the participation fee), a contingent is available at the Hotel Sächsischer Hof in a central location in Meiningen until the end of June 2024. Early booking is recommended.  

Room reservation Sächsischer Hof (PDF)

Please sign the registration form and, if applicable, the room reservation and send it to: amateurfestival@buelow-gesellschaft.de 

Hans von Bülow


A trip to Meiningen always opens up the most beautiful views...

The person who wrote this to Duke Georg II of Meiningen in 1885 was none other than Johannes Brahms. But what were the most beautiful views that opened up to him, who visited the small southern Thuringian town 15 times between 1881 and 1895? Firstly, there was the Meiningen court orchestra with its brilliant conductors Hans von Bülow, Richard Strauss and Fritz Steinbach. Bülow and Steinbach became congenial interpreters of his symphonic music with the orchestra musicians and became their missionaries on concert tours through Central Europe.


Staatstheater Meiningen

The Meiningen State Theatre


Bülow must know that the smallest rehearsal in the smallest Meiningen hall is more important to me personally than any Paris or London concert, and ...how comfortable and cosy I am in the middle of the chapel, I could sing a long, loud song of thanks,

... these words, which Brahms wrote to the Duke and Duchess of Meiningen, speak for themselves. In 1990, this orchestra celebrated its 300th year of uninterrupted existence. This makes it one of the oldest orchestras in Europe. In 2006, it was awarded the title "Meininger Hofkapelle" by the Thuringian state government.

Bülow und die Meininger Hofkapelle

Bülow and the Meininger Hofkapelle


For Brahms, the atmosphere of the Meiningen court of the muses, which was characterised by Georg II and his wife Baroness Helene von Heldburg, was one of the most beautiful views.

Many actors such as Kainz and Barney, the fairytale collector, historian and writer Ludwig Bechstein, writers and dramatists such as Fitger, Voß, Ibsen, Björnsen, Rudolf Baumbach, the directors Chronegk and Grube, the sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand and the natural scientist Ernst Heckel, Richard and Cosima Wagner, Franz Liszt, Edward Grieg, Max Reger, the Buttmann family of garden designers, the master builders Döbner, Neumeister, Behlert and Fritze - they were all associated with the Meiningen Court of the Muses and helped to write Meiningen's fascinating cultural history.

Das alte Meininger Theater

The old Meiningen theatre

In Meiningen, its traces can be found at every turn, not only in the oldest building, the Meiningen town church, not only in the 300-year-old Elisabethenburg Castle with the Meiningen museums, not only in the proud Behlert building, the Meiningen theatre, but also on numerous commemorative plaques. The presentation of historical stage props in the former riding hall gives an impression of the Europe-wide impact of the Meiningen theatre reform of George II. Sculptures and monuments can be found in the Meiningen parks. Many of the personalities mentioned here can be found on the guest list of the Romantik-Hotel Sächsischer Hof, whose foundations are more than 200 years old and whose current half-timbered architecture, together with that of the Henneberger Haus opposite, forms a Franconian-influenced entrance to the city centre.

Henneberger Haus in Meiningen

The Henneberger House in Meiningen


A few half-timbered houses that did not fall victim to the devastating town fire of 1874 are eye-catchers for visitors today. The Wilhelminian-style streets built after 1874 are also worth seeing. Meiningen is over 1000 years old and has been a town for around 800 years. The town was ruled by the Würzburg prince-bishops for around 500 years and by the Henneberg dynasty for around 500 years and was of great strategic importance to both rulers, which is why it was triple-fortified. In 1680, the founder of the Saxe-Meiningen dynasty, Duke Bernhard I, elevated Meiningen to a royal seat. He laid the foundations for a court of muses, for example with the appointment of the musicians Georg Caspar Schürmann and Johann Ludwig Bach.


If you wish, you can stay at the historic Hotel Sächsischer Hof, where Hans von Bülow welcomed his friend Johannes Brahms.

Room reservation Sächsischer Hof (PDF)

We would like to thank ...

... the people and institutions who make this festival financially possible!


You can also support the successful realisation of the amateur festival by making a donation to the International Hans-von-Bülow Society. Please contact us or write to us.


Sponsor of the amateur festival:

Internationale Hans-von-Bülow-Gesellschaft & Freundeskreis des Wettbewerbs e.V.

c/o Max-Reger-Konservatorium

Bernhardstraße 4

98617 Meiningen

Organisation: Kulturbüro LaRete

Stephanie Erben
Tel: +49 (0)172 35 34 877



Internationale Hans-von-Bülow-Gesellschaft & Freundeskreis des Wettbewerbs e.V.

c/o Max-Reger-Konservatorium

Bernhardstraße 4

98617 Meiningen

represented by its Chairman:

Prof. Christian Wilm Müller
Tel: +49 (0)178 72 35 228
Mail: vorstand (@) buelow-gesellschaft.de

Data protection (only available in German)



Diese Datenschutzerklärung klärt Nutzer über die Art, den Umfang und Zweck der Erhebung und Verwendung personenbezogener Daten durch den verantwortlichen Anbieter, die Internationale Hans-von-Bülow-Gesellschaft & Freundeskreis des Wettbewerbs e.V. auf dieser Website auf.

Die rechtlichen Grundlagen des Datenschutzes finden sich im Bundesdatenschutzgesetz (BDSG) und dem Telemediengesetz (TMG).

Zugriffsdaten / Server-Logfiles

Beim Besuch unserer Seiten werden automatisch Informationen erfasst und in so genannten Server-Log-Dateien gespeichert. Diese Daten übermittelt Ihr Browser automatisch an unseren Webspace-Provider. Zu den Zugriffsdaten gehören:

Anonymisierte Client-IP: Um zu erkennen, von wo aus die Server unseres Webspace-Providers gegebenenfalls angegriffen werden, erheben wir IP-Adressen. Diese speichern wir branchenüblich maximal sieben Tage lang. Danach werden sie anonymisiert. Aus Datenschutzgründen können die IP-Adressen in dem Logfile von Beginn an nur anonymisiert eingesehen werden.
- Name der angeforderten Seite / Datei
- Browsertyp und Browserversion
- verwendetes Betriebssystem
- Referrer-URL (die Seite, die Sie vorher besucht haben)
- Hostname des zugreifenden Rechners
- Datum und Uhrzeit der Serveranfrage
- Menge der übertragenen Daten
Fehlercode oder Statuscode bzgl. der erfolgreichen Übertragung
Der Anbieter verwendet die Protokolldaten nur für statistische Auswertungen zum Zweck des Betriebs, der Sicherheit und der Optimierung des Angebotes. Der Anbieter behält sich jedoch vor, die Protokolldaten nachträglich zu überprüfen, wenn aufgrund konkreter Anhaltspunkte der berechtigte Verdacht einer rechtswidrigen Nutzung besteht.

Umgang mit personenbezogenen Daten

Personenbezogene Daten sind Informationen, mit deren Hilfe eine Person bestimmbar ist, also Angaben, die zurück zu einer Person verfolgt werden können. Dazu gehören der Name, die Emailadresse oder die Telefonnummer. Aber auch Daten über Vorlieben, Hobbies, Mitgliedschaften oder welche Webseiten von jemandem angesehen wurden zählen zu personenbezogenen Daten.

Personenbezogene Daten werden von uns nur dann erhoben, genutzt und weitergegeben, wenn dies gesetzlich erlaubt ist oder die Nutzer in die Datenerhebung einwilligen.

Von der Website selbst werden keinerlei zusätzliche personengebundene Daten gespeichert oder erhoben.


Bei der Kontaktaufnahme mit dem Anbieter (zum Beispiel per Kontaktformular oder E-Mail) werden die Angaben des Nutzers zwecks Bearbeitung der Anfrage sowie für den Fall, dass Anschlussfragen entstehen, gespeichert. Jeweils zum Jahresende wird geprüft, ob eine weitere Speicherung erforderlich ist oder Aufbewahrungspflichten für die E-Mails bestehen. Abhängig davon werden E-Mails weiter gespeichert oder gelöscht.


Wir verwenden nur technisch notwendige Cookies!

Cookies sind kleine Textdateien, die es ermöglichen, auf dem Zugriffsgerät der Nutzer (PC, Smartphone o.ä.) spezifische, auf das Gerät bezogene Informationen zu speichern. Sie dienen zum einem der Benutzerfreundlichkeit von Webseiten und damit den Nutzern (z.B. Speicherung von Logindaten). Zum anderen dienen sie, um die statistische Daten der Webseitennutzung zu erfassen und sie zwecks Verbesserung des Angebotes analysieren zu können. Die Nutzer können auf den Einsatz der Cookies Einfluss nehmen. Die meisten Browser verfügen eine Option, mit der das Speichern von Cookies eingeschränkt oder komplett verhindert wird. Allerdings wird darauf hingewiesen, dass die Nutzung und insbesondere der Nutzungskomfort ohne Cookies eingeschränkt werden.

Sie können viele Online-Anzeigen-Cookies von Unternehmen über die US-amerikanische Seite http://www.aboutads.info/choices/  oder die EU-Seite http://www.youronlinechoices.com/uk/your-ad-choices/ verwalten.

Links zu anderen Websites

Dieses Online-Angebot enthält Links zu anderen Websites. Wir haben keinen Einfluss darauf, dass deren Betreiber die Datenschutzbestimmungen einhalten.

Verantwortlicher im Sinne der DSGVO ist:

Verantwortlich für die Inhalte dieser Webseite ist die Internationale Hans-von-Bülow-Gesellschaft und Freundeskreis des Wettbewerbs e.V.
Vorsitzendes: Prof. Christian Wilm Müller
c/o Max-Reger-Konservatorium | Bernhardstraße 4 | 98617 Meiningen
Mail: vorstand (@) buelow-gesellschaft.de

Empfänger / Weitergabe von Daten

Daten, die Nutzer uns gegenüber angeben, werden grundsätzlich nicht an Dritte weitergegeben. Insbesondere werden diese Daten nicht an Dritte für deren Werbezwecke weitergegeben.

Widerruf, Änderungen, Berichtigungen und Aktualisierungen

Der Nutzer hat das Recht, auf Antrag unentgeltlich Auskunft zu erhalten über die personenbezogenen Daten, die über ihn gespeichert wurden. Zusätzlich hat der Nutzer das Recht auf Berichtigung unrichtiger Daten, Sperrung und Löschung seiner personenbezogenen Daten, soweit dem keine gesetzliche Aufbewahrungspflicht entgegensteht.

Unter Verwendung von: Datenschutz-Muster von Rechtsanwalt Thomas Schwenke - I LAW it


Nach oben