Herbert von Karajan
Karajan’s performances were phenomenal. You only have to listen to one of his amazing records or watch one of his live concerts to understand why. He was born in Salzburg and died in Anif, on the outskirts of Salzburg. During his productive life, he not only created amazing music with “his” musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and modernised classical music – from how it is interpreted to techniques used. He also greatly influenced the Salzburg Festival for several decades and initiated the Salzburg Easter Festival and the Salzburg Whitsun Festival. If you can, try and visit the Easter Festival in 2017 as they will be showing the original production of the Valkyrie by Richard Wagner – to honour him as well as the anniversary of the festival he had founded.
Joseph Mohr & Franz Xaver Gruber
Joseph Mohr created the most famous and popular Christmas song in the world with just one poem and Franz Xaver Gruber composed the music. By visiting the seven places in SalzburgerLand that commemorate them, you’ll see that their lives were not easy. Their Christmas song Silent Night only came about as they could not afford to repair their organ.
Stefan Zweig came to Salzburg in 1919, just after the end of a terrible war, and went on to live here for 14 years. He wrote some of his most famous books such as “The World of Yesterday” at Paschinger Schlössl, also called the “Zweig Villa”. He was a pacifist and believed in a united Europe. He emigrated soon after the Austrian fascists searched his house in 1934. You can only visit his former residence, the Zweig Villa, on Kapuzinerberg from the outside as it is privately owned but go to the Stefan Zweig Centre on Mönchsberg to find out more about his life and works.
A true star in today’s opera scene. Born in Salzburg, she now lives in Vienna and has worked with the greatest names and orchestras in the classical music scene. She studied percussion and piano at the Mozarteum, later changing to voice. She now even teaches there. She has performed at the Salzburg Festival and Salzburg Easter Festival several times since 2003 and recently even collaborated with Konstantin Wecker and published her own autobiography. She has never forgotten her Salzburg roots. You might get to see her at the Großes Festspielhaus during your visit, who knows?
Thomas Bernhard is something of a patron for the many Salzburg natives who have a strong love-hate relationship with their home town, yet he couldn’t stay away. No one wrote so eloquently and uncontrollably as he did. Thomas Bernhard spent the first decades of his life, writing his stories and creating his very own style, at Lake Wallersee, in Traunstein in Bavaria, in Saalfelden and finally in Salzburg.
Georg Trakl has undoubtedly the most tragic story of all. The Trakl House at Mozartsteg is now a meeting place for artists and you will find a plaque with one of his most beautiful poems on Linzergasse.
Born to a bourgeois mother addicted to drugs, Trakl’s life was full of difficulties from the onset. He didn’t pass his final school exams and decided to study pharmacy so he could have access to drugs for his own personal use. His life alternated between weeks of excess and creative phases. As a qualified pharmacist, he went to the frontline during the war but found it difficult to endure the ugly side of the First World War. He processed his experiences in poems, having suffered from depression for a long time. After a failed suicide attempt, he ended up in a hospital in Krakow where he later died from a cocaine overdose.