Salzburg nets biggest ever private gift

Salzburg nets biggest ever private gift


norman lebrecht

May 19, 2023

The Salzburg Festival has announced its largest ever donation, around 12 million Euros.

The donor is Hans-Peter Wild, reputedly the richest man in Switzerland.

The money will build a glass reception centre on Karajan-Platz.

Here’s what the giver says:

It is a great honour for me to give the signal launching the construction of the new Festival Centre today! I look forward to supporting this project over the coming three years with up to 12 million Euros, for I have felt a strong connection with Salzburg since the days of my youth.
My parents attended the Festival regularly and often took me along to Salzburg. To this day, I try to visit the Festival every year. In the meantime, as you may know, I have also purchased the two hotels Schloss Mönchstein and Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, so my relationship with this city has become even closer.
The major project “Festival District 2030” was born as part of the celebrations marking the Salzburg Festival’s centenary. The fact that today’s ceremony marks the launch for building the Festival Centre grew from many conversations with Kristina Hammer and her team, and is surely a milestone for the City of Salzburg as well.
The redesign and expansion of the entire Festival District moves the Festival into its second century, preparing and equipping it for future challenges.
The high esteem which the arts are held in here in Salzburg can be preserved and even extended by this monumental undertaking. I am convinced that it will contribute to the long-term attractiveness of this city. The beautiful space around the historical Horse-Well will receive an upgrade, and guests from Austria and abroad will be able to access it in its original form.
To me, supporting the arts is very important. Unlike business, they cannot pursue only efficiency and profit. Rather, their role is to raise enthusiasm and offer inspiration through creativity and emotions. The arts need free space – in reality and mentally – to unfold their full potential. The new Festival Centre aims to contribute to this. It is intended as a place of encounters and exchange.
I am delighted that the Centre will be open year-round in the future, and it is my wish that it can be used for meetings and events outside of the Festival season, throughout the year. This is one of the potential uses of the hall envisioned for its basement floor. I wish all those involved the greatest success in implementing the new Festival Centre.


  • bare truth says:

    Religion is the opium (meaning, consolation, if we read Marx’s meaning correctly) of the masses.

    Art is the opium of the rich.

    • guest says:

      Given Switzerland’s secret banking laws and who they serve, there might be a larger taint of opium in Swiss wealth in general that we want to admit.

      • PG Vienna says:

        You should get yourself up to date. The famous Swiss banking secret does not exist any more for 20 years at least. Before that, drug trafficking being a crime in Switzerland, banks were criminaly prosecuted if they deal with drug traffickers and therefore no secret for drugs.

  • Reality Sux says:

    Nice comments there. Well since the donation is so worth disparagement, apparently. What’s your largest donation to an arts organization up to date?

  • R. Proctor says:

    Fabulous!! Visiting Salzburg
    is on my travel list for my
    75th birthday. This is
    excellent news!

  • squagmogleur says:

    Why call it the “……largest ever donation”? The adverb ‘ever’ surely extends infinitely into both the past and the future. But since we don’t know what donations might be made in the future why not say ” the largest donation to date” or “so far”?