Music around 1900
2nd International Flute Competition Ferdinand W. Neess Wiesbaden
June 26th to 30th, 2024
Museum Wiesbaden

By Prof. Cordula Hacke, managing director and board member of the Ferdinand W. Neess International Music Competition Foundation

From June 26th to 30th, 2024, the Ferdinand W. Neess International Music Competition Foundation will be organizing the 2nd Ferdinand W. Neess International Flute Competition together with the Wiesbaden Music Academy and the city of Wiesbaden.

During the planning for the donation of Ferdinand W. Neess’ Art Nouveau collection to the Museum Wiesbaden (2019), there were repeated discussions about further activities as part of the donation. One idea was to organize an international flute competition on the theme of the music of the Art Nouveau period. Ferdinand W. Neess thought this suggestion was great. His Art Nouveau collection and his musical life as a flutist played important roles in his life’s work for which he wanted to offer a lasting forum.

Together with Danielle Neess, the patron’s widow, we developed the competition and held it for the first time in 2022. To achieve this, many things had to be clarified and put into motion:

Which profile should this international competition have, which repertoire, which procedures – i.e. how many rounds, what does the finale look like, is there a prize winner concert, the selection of the jury, the selection of the piano partners, which evaluation criteria, which age restrictions, etc.

The profile of the competition is very unique:

It is intended to build a bridge between the visual art of Art Nouveau and the music of this era, which was particularly important for the founder. This “bridge” does not only include music from exactly the same time. Many musical works radiate the spirit of Art Nouveau or Symbolism, even if they are perhaps located differently in time and place. In keeping with the spirit of the Neess Collection, music and collection should complement and inspire each other, thus opening up completely new worlds of Art Nouveau to the audience.

We are again very excited about the finale, which gives the candidates complete freedom to choose the program and calls for a concert program that incorporates elements and repertoire of Art Nouveau and symbolism. In 2022, we heard such convincing concepts and programs from 6 finalists that they all received prizes.

We are very pleased that, with the generous support of Danielle Neess, we have been able to commission a work for the 2024 competition. Through the mediation of our foundation board colleague Dr. Peter Hanser-Strecker, we were able to get Émile Naoumoff as a composer. He completed his sonata for flute and piano in 2024. It was published by the Zimmermann music publisher and will be premiered during the competition. Together with the Violin Sonata in G minor by Claude Debussy, whose arrangement for flute and piano was suggested by Ferdinand W. Neess and carried out together with me, these two editions now form the beginning of a series of music publications that is closely linked to the competition and Art Nouveau.

The Museum Wiesbaden shows the collection of Ferdinand Wolfgang Neess as a permanent presentation in the south wing of the Museum Wiesbaden. More than 800 objects form a cross-section of all genres of Art Nouveau and provide an example of the quality and style in which the art of the late 19th century appeared. This outstanding collection and the competition put Wiesbaden at the top of the map of European Art Nouveau cities.

All competition rounds are public, and we look forward to large numbers of listeners. Exact times will be published on our website and on the museum website :