Thomas Hengelbrock
Founder and Director of the Balthasar-Neumann-Ensembles
Chef associé of the Orchestre de Paris

Fotocredit: © NDR / Florence Grandidier

It is with great pleasure that I have taken over the patronage of the International J.M. Sperger Competition.
The establishment of these “double bass olympics” in the town of Ludwigslust, Sperger´s former creative domicile, signifies a successful connection between the musical past of the “Ludwigslust Classicism”, and the future-oriented musical landscape of today.
The young talents who compete here form the basis and breeding ground for the future landscape of double bass playing. In thrilling eliminative rounds and exceptional concerts, approximately fifty young double bassists from around the globe will contend with each other, leaving audiences enthralled. They will move on to international concert podiums as the musical ambassadors of tomorrow.
I wish the best of luck to all participants from near and far, and to the audience, an infinitely enjoyable musical experience in this magnificent, historical ambience.


Birgit Hesse
Minister for Education, Science, and Culture, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Fotocredit: © Silke Winkler

If ever an instrument can do justice to the term “resonating body” it is the double bass. It is the aim of the many highly talented musicians from various continents who will assemble for the upcoming competition in Ludwigslust to elicit the most dramatic, rousing, magical, and delicate sounds from, and virtuoso performances on that instrument.

For the audience that means primarily one thing – intense musical pleasure: for the jury – difficult decisions.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania can already consider itself to be a winner because in 2016 this unique competition returned to where Sperger lived and worked and this time the talented young individuals will spread his passion from Ludwigslust Castle to the whole world. The State Government is pleased to give its support to such an event.


Christine Hoock
Artistic Director of the International J.M. Sperger Competition

"all you need is bass..."

A very warm greeting to all our participants and music loving guests, to the tenth edition of the International J. M. Sperger Competition for Double Bass in Ludwigslust.
It is a great pleasure and honour for me to welcome the founder and director of the Balthasar-Neumann-Ensembles and Chef associé of the Orchestre de Paris, Mr Thomas Hengelbrock and minister Birgit Hesse as our new patrons.

The all-new management team of the International J. M. Sperger Society is organising this edition. The state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, the Sparkassenstiftung, the city of Ludwigslust, the district of Ludwigslust-Parchim, the Oscar und Vera Ritter-Stiftung, the Lions Club, the DOV and many international double bass specialist firms are supporting us as dependable partners and sponsors of this beautiful project.

Our event, which honours the legacy of Johann Matthias Sperger, inspires many young double bassists and lovers of our instrument and of the Ludwigslust Classicism. The competition week will once again be shaped by musical peak performance, international communication and future-oriented motivation.

I wish all participants a good preparation period and artistic inspiration, as well as lively exchange and fair play in competition.

Warm regards,

Gary Karr

It is indeed a great pleasure and honor to greet the international team and participants of the J.M. Sperger Competition for Double Bass 2018. It is an immense thrill for me knowing that there are so many outstanding talents playing the solo double bass. I am forever grateful to the J.M. Sperger Competition for their continued contributions to bringing attention to our impressive repertoire and for demonstrating to the musical public the extraordinary expressive and technical range of our majestic instrument.
I extend to all those lucky people attending the Sperger Competition my very ‘bassed’ wishes. I think of you as my family and I love you all,

Gary Karr

Anne-Sophie Mutter
Patron 2006 - 2010

Fotocredit: © Monika Höfler

I feel greatly honoured to spiritually accompany the International Johann-Matthias Sperger Competition once again. It is with great joy that I have observed music making at the very highest level at this event, ever since its first edition in 2000. Equally important to me are the many opportunities which this unique competition offers to all the young double bassists from around the world. Take for example Roman Patkoló, the winner of the first edition, who with his success laid the foundations of his international fame. Since then he has been expanding the double bass concert repertoire with new works dedicated to him. And the remarkable recording project "Gassenhauer - Gassenbauer" by Dominik Wagner, on which this young star bassist impressively demonstrates the bridge building function of music and makes intercultural communication audible. I wish all the double bassists much joy in their music making, as well as a considerably larger presence in our concert halls!

Warmest regards,

Rolf Christiansen
District Councilor of Ludwigslust-Parchim

Dear musicians,
Johann Matthias Sperger is one of Ludwigslust-Parchim's most outstanding personalities. The State Orchestra of Ludwigslust (Mecklenburgische Staatskapelle zu Ludwigslust) was his place of activity since 1789, and he became famous for being a virtuoso musician and a composer. Today, his symphonies and double bass concerts still inspire young artists all over the world. Due to the International Society of Johann Matthias Sperger and the initiation of the International Johann Matthias Sperger Competition of double bass in 2000, his work does not fall into oblivion. Ever since young artists meet in Ludwigslust biennially to honor Johann Matthias Sperger's work and life. We are grateful to welcome the exceptional musicians in our county again in 2018.

I’m looking forward to this high class contest – without doubt, it is one of the cultural highlights in our county.


Reinhard Mach
Mayor of Ludwigslust

I would like to welcome you cordially to Ludwigslust. Johann Matthias Sperger lived here for 23 years. Until the end of his life, he found on the one hand as musician and on the other hand as composer excellent conditions at the Ludwigsluster court chapel, in order to develop his musical creativity.

Ludwigslust had prepared itself thoroughly for the competition and I am satisfied that our city will be a great host at this year’s competition. Ludwigslust is a town of short ways: The places for their rehearsals and competitions are close to each other. For the final concert, we offer you our city church – an impressive event location – that is second to none. But not only the beautiful places will satisfy you, in fact it will be the hospitality, the engagement of all the voluntary helpers and the cordiality of the people from Mecklenburg, which will satisfy you.

I keep my fingers crossed for all participants and say “Toi, toi, toi” with regard to the forthcoming competition. Further, I wish all of our guests wonderful concerts as well as a classical treat.


Gernot Hempelmann
"Förderverein Schloss Ludwigslust" e.V.

Wir freuen uns, dass der Internationale Johann-Matthias-Sperger-Wettbewerb seine Heimat wieder in Ludwigslust gefunden hat.

Als hier noch Herzöge residierten, war Ludwigslust, abseits im Klenower Wald gelegen, weder eine Stadt, noch ein Städtchen, auch keine „richtige“ Residenz, eher eine Neben-Residenz zu Schwerin  - aber mit einem europaweit gerühmten Musikleben. 

Der Mecklenburger Herzog Friedrich der Fromme hatte seine Hofkapelle 1767 aus Schwerin in seine Ludwigsluster Großbaustelle herüber geholt. Während er hier seinen Jugendtraum von einem „norddeutschen Versailles“ verwirklichte,  machte sein neuer Hofkapellmeister Carl August Friedrich Westenholtz in zwei Jahrzehnten die Hofkapelle zu einem führenden Klangkörper für protestantische Kirchenmusik.

Friedrichs lebenslustiger und musikliebender Nachfolger Friedrich Franz I. (ab 1785) erweiterte das Repertoire um weltliche Musik und Opern und holte neue namhafte Künstler an seinen Hof -  so Eligio Celestino, Friedrich Ludwig Benda, Antonio Rosetti, Louis Massonneau und eben Johannes Matthias Sperger, den „Vater des Kontrabasses“.

Die reiche Musiktradition der Ludwigsluster Residenz lebt heute weiter in den „Ludwigsluster Schlosskonzerten“,  in der Reihe „Ludwigsluster Klassik“ der Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in Kirchenkonzerten und nun auch wieder im Internationalen Johann-Matthias-Sperger-Wettbewerb.

Wie gesagt,wir freuen uns.

„Internationale J.M. Sperger Society e. V.“
Statement Description: Donation + Name + Address
Bank Institute: Kreissparkasse Stade
IBAN: DE95241511160000240440

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