Apr 06, 2023 in Performing

Herbert von Karajan was one of the most significant conductors of the 20th century. In 1967 he founded the Salzburg Easter Festival, which soon became an annual meeting place for opera lovers and music lovers from all over the world – especially for those who wanted to experience Karajan with “his orchestra”, the Berliner Philharmoniker, in an exclusive setting.

Eliette von Karajan, the conductor’s widow, endowed the Herbert von Karajan Prize on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Salzburg Easter Festival

in 2017. Since then, the prize has been awarded to artists whose exceptional artistic achievements have received worldwide recognition.

»I believe that it is wholly in the spirit of Herbert von Karajan that this Prize should in future be based in Salzburg, in this city that was so central to his life and work as an artist. The jubilee of the Salzburg Easter Festival that he founded will also offer an internationally recognised forum for the award of the first Prize«.

Eliette von Karajan (2017)

In 2023, the prize was awarded for the first time to three outstanding emerging artists, all of whom performed during the Easter Festival: Alexander Köpeczi, Oscar Jockel and Michael Loehr.

What a privilege to be honored in a line with such distinguished artists! It’s not only a great feeling to have my own career recognized in this way, but also to have contemporary dance acknowledged on par with classical music and opera. I would like to sincerely thank the Karajan family and the Easter festival for awarding me this prestigious prize, but also artistic director Nikolaus Bachler, who is breaking new ground for Salzburg audiences by inviting our production TRÄUME. A dream comes true!

Michael Loehr

Meet the laureates:

Alexander Köpeczi is a young bass from Romania who will sing Reinmar von Zweter in the new TANNHÄUSER. He was invited to join the Salzburg »Young Singers Artist Project" in 2021 - since then his career has been going uphill - he is now an ensemble member at the Bavarian State Opera, this season he will sing Ramfis in AIDA there, for example, and will make his debut at the Komische Oper as Sarastro in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE.

The young conductor Oscar Jockel is well known in the industry as Kirill Petrenko's assistant and is considered one of tomorrow's stars on the podium. A moment ago he was supporting Petrenko during rehearsals for FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN in Baden-Baden, now he is already in Salzburg, rehearsing with DJ legend Westbam for our electro event WESTBAM MEETS WAGNER and demonstrating courage and curiosity as a conductor and arranger, because the combination of beats and Wagner is not an everyday occurrence...

Michael Loehr has been a member of the Emanuel Gat Dance Company for many years, which will premiere the dance creation TRÄUME at the Easter Festival. And he is a real multi-talent: he will not only dance Emanuel Gat's complicated choreography, but will also speak texts from Wagner's essay »Art and Revolution«.

Osterfestspiele Salzburg / Salzburg Easter Festival 2023 - Herbert-von-Karajan-Preis / Herbert-von-Karajan-Prize 2023 - Nikolaus Bachler, Alexander Köpeczi, Arabel Karajan, Michael Loehr, Oscar Jockel

Artistic Director Klaus Bachler, bass Alexander Köpeczi, Arabel Karajan, Michael Loehr, and conductor Oscar Jockel on the occasion of the award ceremony in the Großes Festspielhaus of the Salzburg Easter Festival.

Photo by Dominik Licht