The Historical-Technical Museum Peenemünde

Developed in 1936 in order to help Hitler in his quest to control the world, Peenemünde was the Nazi ballistic missile and development site where hundreds of thousands of people were enslaved and murdered under the orders of future chief of booster development at NASA Wernher von Braun, and military advisor General Walter Dornberger. At the end of World War II, both von Braun and Dornberger surrendered to the Americans. Former SS officer Wernher von Braun lent his expertise to the space race and eventual first landing of a man on the moon. Today Peenemünde houses a resonant concert hall seating well over 1200, exhibition spaces, a museum and information center that hosts ca. 350,000 visitors yearly. For it’s first on-site offering in 2002, envisioned as an initiative for world peace by Festival Manager Thomas Hummel, Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich conducted over 250 musicians in a single, sold-out, ground-breaking, historic performance of Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” in Peenemünde’s cavernous turbine hall. “…a strangely timed musical memorialin a former Nazi compound touches the heart” (James Oestreich in The New York Times)

Since then, many world-class conductors have come on-board and travelled thousands of miles to take part in Usedom Music Festival’s large scale music productions held in Peenemünde. In 2012 Kurt Masur, honorary patron of the Usedom Music Festival, conducted three of his last concerts in the resonant hall, and taught two international master classes for young conductors. Counted among the many participant Maestri are Krzysztof Penderecki, Christoph von Dohnányi, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Alan Gilbert, Andris Nelsons, Christoph Eschenbach, Kurt Masur †, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi and Kristjan Järvi to name a few. Further notable celebrity guests have included Lech Walesa, Queen Silvia of Sweden and Mikhail Gorbachev, among others.