Our guide to music and composers

Inghams Lakes and Mountains offer so much more than walking and hiking. Here is our guides to the music inspired by them! Everything from classical to pop; composers and artists; birthplaces and museums; sheet, recorded and live; film and video locations - it’s all here.

From the Italian masters in Lake Garda, to the Sound of Music in Switzerland our lakeside resorts offer an abundance of musical delights to enjoy on your holiday.

Here are our handpicked favourites for Lakes, Lyrics, Mountains and Music holidays!


From folk to pop and jazz to classical, we have a potpourri of diverse musical styles to tell you about in Switzerland.

Rossini’s opera ‘William Tell’ is based on the Swiss folk legend, after whom our ‘William Tell Express’ 3-centre boat and rail holiday is also named. Local legend tells the tale of William Tell and his part in Switzerland’s struggle for independence.  Guests on the tour will enjoy stays in the Bernese Oberland and Lake Lucerne before taking a memorable trip on the famous and nostalgic paddle steamer and William Tell Express panoramic train down to Tirano in southern Switzerland.  Follow the legend and learn about his history along the way.  Visitors to Interlaken and Wilderswil also have the opportunity to follow the legend at the ‘William Tell’ open-air play taking place in Wilderswil throughout the summer.

Music lovers have plenty to choose from in Switzerland, with several festivals taking place during the summer months:

  • Locarno – ‘Moon and Stars’ take place on the magnificent ‘Piazza Grande’ in the centre of Locarno in early July, with various pop and rock concerts from international artists!
  • Lugano – ‘Blues to Bop’ for fans of blues, jazz and gospel and a great atmosphere, with free concerts taking place every night on each of Lugano’s  main piazza squares
  • Lucerne -  with over 100 events taking place in and around Lucerne from mid-August to September, the ‘International music festival’ is a mecca for classical music lovers, with renowned orchestras, conductors and soloists from all over the world performing at this great event.
  • Montreux – ‘The Montreux jazz festival’ will be taking place 4-20 July 2013, and over its 46 years, has become one of the most famous musical events in Switzerland, often attracting big names from the music world to perform in its venues. Many of the concerts are free, so visitors really can get involved and soak up the atmosphere.  Jazz is at the core of the festival, but other styles of music, including pop and blues can also be enjoyed here. 

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Austria - Oh Vienna!

The Austrian capital has a varied musical heritage.

We should, of course, start with Johann Strauss II (1825-1899), the famous composer who was largely responsible for the popularity of the waltz in Vienna during the 19th century. Even if you are not into this type of music, you may well recognise his most famous waltz, “The Blue Danube”, from the soundtrack of “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

At the other end of the musical spectrum, Ultravox’s biggest pop hit, “Vienna”, was inspired by the 1949 Carol Reed film noir, “The Third Man”. Like the movie before it, shooting for the promotional video was split between London and the Austrian capital. The gravestone shown in the video and on the single cover is located on the Zentralfriedhof; it is part of the grave of Carl Schweighofer, a famous Austrian piano manufacturer.

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Austria - Mozart and “The Sound of Music

The wonderful Austrian city of Salzburg is perhaps best known for a famous composer and a massively popular musical movie.

Its most famous son, Herr Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) composed over 600 classical works in his short life, and nowadays his influence can be found throughout the city. They even named the airport after him.

Strangely enough “The Sound Of Music” is not as well known in Austria as in the UK, although you would be hard pressed to realise that in Salzburg. Maria and the children sang "Do-Re-Mi", at the Mirabell Gardens, Rolf and Liesl sang “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” at Hellbrunn Palace, whilst Julie Andrews sang the title song in the mountains just outside the city.

Check out the new Inghams ‘Treasures of Austria’ coach tour which visits popular Sound of Music locations (Hellbrunn Palace, Mondsee, wedding church) and includes optional classical music concert.  Or the  ‘Salzburger Festspiele’ which take place every year in summer (July to Sept) including opera & classical music concerts etc. There is no detailed programme available yet for next summer but to here is a flavour of schedule which took place this year http://www.salzburgerfestspiele.at/spielplan) Or visit the new Austrian resort ‘Bregenz’ at Lake Constance with the famous Bregenzer Festspiele.

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Austria - Wonderful Wolfgang 

Half an hour east of Salzburg, charming St. Gilgen at the northern end of Lake Wolfgang, is known as “the Mozart village” because of its close association with the composer and his family. Here you’ll find the Mozart memorial house, fountains dedicated to Mozart and his mother, and the parish church which has countless connections with his family. And if you like chocolate, you can even don a uniform and learn how to make “Mozartkugeln”, a local confectionery speciality.

Further along the lake, the village of St Wolfang is well known for its White Horse Inn which was made famous by the musical comedy of the same name written in 1930 by Hans Müller with music by Ralph Benatzky and Robert Stolz. Regular operettas and classical music concerts are performed in the village throughout the summer.

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Italy - Italian Masters 

Cosima Liszt, the second wife of composer Richard Wagner, was the controversial and long-term director of the Bayreuth Festival which she founded to celebrate his works. The daughter of the Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt, she was born in Como, which is easily reached from our new resort of Cernobbio.

Giuseppe Verdi composed part of “La Traviata” while in Cadenabbia on Lake Como. The opera is based in the city of Mantova which can be visited on one of our locally bookable excursions from Lake Garda.

Gasparo De Salo, a famous violin maker, was born in Salo on Lake Garda in 1540. It’s claimed that he developed the violin and gave it the shape it has today. And excursions will run from all our Lake Garda. resorts to every performance of the Verona opera next year – or you can stay in Verona itself.

Every year in summer, in her few moment of relaxation, Maria Callas and husband Giovan Battista Meneghini would spend a few weeks in their villa in the heart ofSirmione on Lake Garda, away from worldly life. She first arrived in Sirmione in 1952 and the people of Sirmione still remember her as a simple and friendly lady. She would often pause for a leisurely aperitivo at Caffé Grand Italia. In 1959 Maria Callas met Aristotele Onassis and left her husband. It was the beginning of that tragic relationship which led to her downfall. Today, in the very heart of Sirmione peninsula, people admire the beautiful and elegant villa in which Maria Callas spent many happy times.

Further south in Tuscany, Giacomo Puccini, a great composer of Italian opera, was born in Lucca, a city which can be visited from our resort of Montecatini.

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We feel sLOVEnia

Not only is the landscape diverse and varied in Slovenia, but so is its past. Independent since 1991, it does not have a majestic history like many larger European nations, but culturally rich it is.

There are five professional orchestras in Slovenia, and a host of musicians who are famed outside the country. The largest concert halls are at the Cankarjev Dom cultural and conference centre, which holds close to a thousand events each year. Slovenia’s own brand of polka music reached its peak in the accordion and ensemble of Slavko Avsenik, while the annual festival in Stična is a feast of choral singing, and the France Marolt folk group have performed their singing and dancing all over the world.

The contemporary thrill of classical music is the territory of the Slovenian Philharmonic, particularly its top musicians, flautist Irena Grafenauer, pianist Dubravka Tomšič and soprano Marjana Lipovšek.

Laibach have been a highly influential band in the last few decades in modern alternative music. The ethno-pop of Magnifico has gained a rising international profile. The giants of Slovenian pop music are Vlado Kreslin and Siddharta, while Slovenian DJs are welcome on global dancefloors, most notably DJ Umek.

The most famous of Bled´s events is the "Bled Days". This happens on the 4th weekend of July each year. It is a beautiful sight with floating lights on the lake and fireworks to set the scene, as well as the "Home and Art Craft Fair" to see and various concerts on the Bled promenade to enjoy. On New year´s Day, you can listen to classical music at the traditional New year´s Day Gala Concert at the Festival Hall - Easter Sunday, however is the day for non other than the Easter Concert. In November  the Oberkrainer festival, also takes place in Bled. This popular musical offers plenty of fun and entertainment and is a unique opportunity for a meeting of fans of popular traditional Oberkrainer music. The excellent food on offer adds to the enrichment of the event, which will attract this year for the eight time, several thousand visitors from around the world. 

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French Classics

France has produced some of the most famous French musicians in all the world, including both past and present and has thus set the cultural climate in music for the world. Such great classical musicians and composers as Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Debussy and others all hail from France, along with modern greats like the Gipsy Kings and Daft Punk. French music exemplifies the sophisticated and diverse styles of the French people themselves.

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Norway - In the hall of the mountain king

Edvard Hagerup Grieg (1843–1907) was born in Bergen, Norway to a father of Scottish descent and a mother who was a music teacher. Norway’s most famous composer, his works include his Piano Concerto in A minor and the the incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt. Much of his music was strongly linked to to the landscapes and way of life of the people around him.

Troldhaugen, the summer home of Grieg and his wife, Nina, is about five miles to the south of the city, and is one of the country’s premier tourist attractions. Grieg lived and worked here every summer for over 20 years. Carefully preserved, today you will find the house, his cabin, the tomb, the Edvard Grieg Museum and the Troldsalen concert hall which seats two hundred.

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