Ohrid Summer Festival

Ohrid summer festival is one of the most prestigious events in the Republic of Macedonia, as well as within the broader context of the European festival scene. Traditionally taking place between the 12th of July and 20th of August, Ohrid Summer is featuring a rich artistic program with concerts, theatre plays, art exhibitions and poetry readings.

Ohrid Summer Festival

Held in the spiritual capital of Macedonia, the separate events are dotting the map of Ohrid, with world class performances at iconic scenes such as the Antique theatre, the cathedral church of St. Sophia, and the Samuil Fortress.

If you are a culture aficionado, the Ohrid music festival provides an unforgettable experience. Combining classical music with historical and religious heritage is perhaps the best way of discovering Ohrid, and the timing is perfect for visiting this breathtaking city.

History of the Ohrid Summer Festival

Even though the European Festival Association welcomed Ohrid Summer quite recently in 1994, the history of the festival is dating back to 1961. It was then, on the 4th of August, when Ana Lipsha Tofovic, along with Ladislav Perldic ignited a spark at the church of Saint Sophia.

The following years were a period of self-discovery and affirmation, during which Ohrid Summer Festival established itself as one of the leading spectacles of the Macedonian artistic scene.

Soon enough, after hosting some of the top performers in former Yugoslavia,the festival attracted world class musicians, welcoming Leonid Kogan and Andre Navara – two iconic names within the classical music genre. Other top performers followed, including Mstislav Rostopovich, Gidon Kremer, Viktor Tretyakov, Henrick Shering, Katia Richarelli, Victoria de Los Angeles, Maksim Vengerov, Ivo Pogorelic , Vadim Repin and a number of vocal and instrumental ensembles such as The Radio Symphony Orchestra of Austrian radio, Madrigal choir from Bucharest, Glinka from St. Petersburg, the children choir of Vienna among many others.

Ohrid Summer Festival

With a garden variety of alluring locations, theatre troops from Macedonia began considering Ohrid for staging their plays. Culminating with a vast repertoire developing throughout the 80’s, the festival has finally completed its profile. Many of the theatrical projects that will be remembered were performed on the scenes of Dolni Saraj, the Samuil fortress, Plaosnik, St. Naum and other breathtaking locations.

Becoming a member of the family of European Festivals in 1994, Ohrid Summer transcended into something much more significant and much more attractive, eventually defining the Macedonian cultural scene. Other projects and collaborations were to follow, enriching the program of the festival and continuing the long held tradition.

At the very beginning of the new millennium, in 2001, the Ohrid Antique theatre is being introduced as the new and leading scene. Since then, both the opening ceremony and closing ceremony were held on this stage.

The festival is very fortunate to have Ohrid for a location, but the same goes the other way around as well – the cultural menu of the city benefits immensely from such a renowned music festival.

Scenes of the Ohrid Festival

Ohrid Summer Festival

An important aspect perhaps, that is the most recognized, is the location of the festival. Taking place at iconic sites, the artistic program is further decorated by the mesmerizing beauty of the city, with several historic monuments dotting the map.

Showcasing the national and religious heritage of Macedonia, these locations add another dimension to the Ohrid festival, making each event far more spectacular.

As you scroll down, you can learn more about each scene. The locator will also help you to orient yourself properly within the city of Ohrid, finding these concert venues on the map.

Church St. Sophia

Ohrid Summer Festival Church St Sophia

The most notable, perhaps, is the cathedral church of St. Sophia – a scene that hosts only musical and vocal interpretations, with an audience space for nearly 300 people (also varies between 200 and 250 depending on the range of the performance). Opened for general rehearsals and evening events, this monumental building is granted by the Macedonian Orthodox Church for the duration of the festival.

The St. Sophia church is famous for its acoustic properties, and artists from around the world continually apply for a chance to appear there in front of an audience. Almost all of the chamber music concerts are held on this stage.

Vestibule of the church St. Sophia

Serving vocal, instrumental and theatre performances the scene is set in the yard of St. Sophia, with auditorium space located above the vestibule, built on several levels. The auditorium capacity is 470 seats, which is still spectacular considering the restraints of the location.

Antique Theater

Ohrid Summer Festival Antique Theater

Perhaps the most spectacular scene, the Antique Theater provides a fixed wooden platform for the main stage, with a stunning auditorium made of the established theater vaults of marble blocks.

The ministry of culture of the Republic of Macedonia announced the restoration of 6 additional rows that are missing at the marble theatrical part, but even without this project the auditorium can host 1719 spectators plus 200 additional seats at the montage part.

This scene serves musical, vocal and theatrical performances, and is most commonly used for the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony, and most of the large-scale events.

Dolni Saraj

Ohrid Summer Festival Dolni Saraj

Covering the central part of Dolni Saraj, this scene is property of the Ohrid Summer festival. It serves musical, vocal and theatrical interpretations. However, due to its location, the scene is susceptible to acoustic interferences, and is therefore limited to events with higher interpretive tonality. Nevertheless, the view is beyond spectacular.

The auditorium is relatively large, with 1000 spectators in a sitting position and 1500 to 2000 in a standing position.

These scenes, along with several others have welcomed thousands of performers from more than 60 countries across the world, hosting concerts, plays, art exhibits, and spectacular ceremonies.

Locator of Ohrid Summer festival scenes

Ohrid Summer Festival 2018

Ohrid Summer Festival 2

This year marks the 58th anniversary of the festival with an attractive program featuring a great number of concerts, theatre plays, and jewelry and art exhibitions.

Announcing the program, the minister of culture, Alagjozovski, pointed out that this year the festival welcomes some of the leading Macedonian artists and orchestras. Along with him, Suzana Vrencovska, who is the manager and director of the Ohrid Summer Festival, took an opportunity to promote the unprecedented artistic experience that is about to follow.

They said that “building the brand of the institution is necessary”, as they talked about respecting a long festival tradition while also introducing “innovations that will refresh the program”.

Using some of the latest technological and IT achievements, the Ohrid Summer festival will live-broadcast some of the events, presenting a new and modern dimension that will attract more culture enthusiasts from around the world.

Following the opening ceremony of the Ohrid summer festival 2017, with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra and the renowned jazz quartet Fourplay under the conductorship of Emin Dzijan, this year has another spectacle in preparation.

The scene will belong to Elena Mosuc, one of the best opera singers in the world, who is scheduled to perform together with the famous tenor Calin Bratescu, and the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra. Opening the ceremony on this stage, she will join the ranks of other opera performers such as Jose Carreras, Jessye Norman, Leo Nucci and Barbara Frittoli.

Ohrid Summer Festival 2018 program

Ohrid Summer Festival

Continuing a very long tradition, this anniversary will feature a large number of concerts and plays. Also listed is an exhibition of contemporary jewelry as well as an art exhibition of oil paintings. The opening ceremony takes place at the Antique Theater, on the 12th of July, featuring the world renowned soprano Elena Mosuc, tenor Calin Bratescu, Conductor Nicolae Moldoveanu and the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra.

The program will be rich enough to span across all 40 days of the festival, except for the 13thof August, while some of the events will overlap on a same date, though at different periods of the day.

The complete Ohrid Summer festival 2018 program

12/07/2018 – Gala opening

  • Soprano: ELENA MOSUC, Romania/Switzerland
  • Tenor: Calin Bratescu, Romania
  • Conductor: Nicolae Moldoveanu, Romania/Switzerland
  • Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Scene: Antique theatre

13/07/2018 – Theatre play “Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams

  • Director: Sophia Ristevska Petrusheva
  • National Theatre – Ohrid, Macedonia
  • Scene: Center for Culture “Grigor Prlichev”

14/07/2018 – The Queen’s Six

  • Acapella sextet, Windsor Castle, Great Britain
  • Countertenors: Daniel Brittain, Timothy Carleston
  • Tenors: Nickolas Madden, Dominic Bland
  • Baritone/Bass: Andrew Thomson, Simon Whiteley
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

15/07/2018 – 16/07/2018 – Photography exhibition “From the art opus of Georgi Bozhikov”, Macedonia

  • Scene: Head office of Ohrid Summer Festival

16/07/2018 – Philharmonia Quartet, Macedonia

  • Anna Kondratenko – first violin
  • Bojan Ilkoski – second violin
  • Bojan Taleski – viola
  • Marija Mihajlovska – cello
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

17/07/2018 – Piano 4 hands, Macedonia

  • Ana Gaceva
  • Tatjana Djorleva
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

18/07/2018 – Polish evening

  • Wroclaw Baroque Ensemble
  • Andrzej Kosendiak – conductor
  • Aldona Bartnik – soprano
  • Piotr Lykowski – countertenor
  • Benjamin Glaubnitz – tenor
  • Jerzy Butryn – bass
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

19/07/2018 – Eugene Skovorodnikov – piano, Canada

  • Scene: St. Sophia church

19/07/2018 – Premiere of the Theatre play “The Misanthrope” by Moliere

  • Director: Ana Vukotic
  • Comedy Theatre Skopje, Macedonia
  • Scene: Center for Culture “Grigor Prlichev”

20/07/2018 – Alena Baeva, violin, Russia

  • Vadym Kholodenko – piano, Russia
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

21/07/2018 – Vadym Kholodenko, piano, Russia

  • Scene: St. Sophia church

22/07/2018 – Theatre play “Danton’s Death” by Georg Buchner

  • Director: Dino Mustafic
  • N.I Albanian Theatre – Skopje, Macedonia
  • Scene: Center for Culture “Grigor Prlichev”

23/07/2018 – “176 Keys”

  • The colors of black and white – 2 pianos
  • Sun Hee You, Korea
  • Marko Ciampi, Italy
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

24/07/2018 – Duo piano

  • Ivo Varbanov – Bulgaria
  • Fiammetta Tarli – Italy
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

25/07/2018 – Spanish evening

  • Eugenia Boix – soprano
  • Anna Ferrer – piano
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

26/07/2018 – French evening

  • Piano 4 hands
  • Nicolas Bourdoncle
  • Michel Bourdoncle
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

26/07/2018 – Theatre play “TOBI” by Florian Zdenek

  • Director: Dragoslav Todorovic
  • Theatre for Children and Youth – Skopje, Macedonia
  • Scene: Center for Culture “Grigor Prlichev”

27/07/2018 – EU Evening

  • “Romantic Vienna”
  • Robert Lerbaumer – piano, Austria
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

28/07/2018 – “The Hidden, Wonderful”

  • An exhibition of contemporary jewelry, inspired by the endemic species of microscopic photosynthetic algae in Lake Ohrid, Diatoms
  • Marta Pejoska, Macedonia
  • Bibi Klekachkoska, Macedonia
  • Scene: Gallery ,,Marta Pejoska ”

29/07/2018 – Rudens Turku – violin, Germany

  • Milana Chernyavska – piano, Ukraine
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

29/07/2018 – Theatre play “Strangers” by Filippo Bologna

  • Director: Nela Vitosevic
  • N.I Drama Theatre – Skopje, Macedonia
  • Scene: Center for Culture “Grigor Prlichev”

30/07/2018 – Chamber Orchestra of the Jeunesses Musicales Macedonia (MMM)

  • Scene: St. Sophia church

31/07/2018 – Alexander Madzar – piano, Belgium/Serbia

  • Scene: St. Sophia church

01/08/2018 – Alexander Knyazev, cello – Russia

  • Scene: St. Sophia church

02/08/2018 – Trio: Krylov, Lugansky, Knyazev – Russia

  • Sergey Krylov – violin
  • Nikolai Lugansky – piano
  • Alexander Knyazev – cello
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

03/08/2018 – Nikolai Lugansky – piano, Russia

  • Scene: St. Sophia church

04/08/2018 – Music concert on “Synthesis”, Macedonia

  • Scene: Antique theatre

05/08/2018 – Sora Duo

  • Uchida Shiori – saxophone, Japan
  • Fati Fehmiju – accordion, Macedonia
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

06/08/2018 – Giuseppe Nova, flute, Italy

  • Giorgio Costa – piano, Italy
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

06/08/2018 – Cuban Evening 

  • “Flamengo Game”
  • Cuban band ECOS, Cuba
  • Scene: Antique theatre

07/08/2018 – Theatre play “The Little Wire Girl” by Marjan Necak and Maja Hrgovic

  • Director: Marjan Necak
  • Co-production project: Slovenian National Theatre – SNG
  • Drama Ljubljana and the Moving Music Theatre – Bitola, Macedonia
  • Scene: School yard of the Primary school “St. Clement of Ohrid “

07/08/2018 – Chamber orchestra “Academy of Soloists”

  • Conductor: Gudjon Emilsson, Iceland
  • Soloists:
  • Marco Schiavo, piano, Italy
  • Sergio Marchegiani, piano, Italy
  • Aiman Mussakhjayeva, violin, Kazakhstan
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

08/08/2018 – Dimitrije Buzharovski: Radomir’s psalms op. 47, Macedonia

  • Vesna Ginovska Ilkova – soprano
  • Slavica Petrovska Galic – soprano
  • Blagoj Nacoski – tenor
  • Vladimir Sazdovski – bass
  • Orchestra and choir of the Macedonian Opera and Ballet
  • Children’s Choir “Pikolo”
  • Conductor: Bisera Chadlovska
  • Scene: Vestibule of St. Sophia church

09/08/2018 – Evening of chamber music with the ensemble of Ignaz Fuchs, Croatia

  • Frosina Bogdanoska – violin, Macedonia/Austria
  • Hrvoje Philips – viola, Croatia
  • Ilin-Dime Dimovski – double bass, Macedonia/Croatia
  • Dario Golcic – oboe, Croatia
  • Aleksandar Tasic – clarinet, Serbia
  • Jana Pavlovska – piano, USA
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

10/08/2018 – “Behind the Rainbow”

  • Art exhibition – oil paintings
  • Kalina Brajkovska, Macedonia
  • Scene: Center for Culture “Grigor Prlichev”

11/08/2018 – National Presidental Orchestra, Ukraine

  • Scene: St. Sophia church

12/08/2018 – AMIRA TRIO

  • Amira Medunjanin – vocal, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Ante Gelo – guitar, Croatia
  • Zvonimir Sestak – double bass, Croatia
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

14/08/2018 – Theatre Play “In Agony” by Miroslav Krleza

  • author’s project by: Nela Kocsis, Ozren Grabaric and Darko Stazic
  • performed by: PUK-Traveling Theatre and Scene Ribnjak – Youth Center Ribnjak, Croatia
  • Scene: Vestibule of  St. Sophia church

15/08/2018 – Elvis Rudi, flute, Albania / Marin Gjollma, piano, Albania

  • Scene: St. Sophia church

16/08/2018 – Clasical meets Balkan Nuevo, Slovenia:

  • Goran Bojcevski – clarinet
  • Jan Sever – piano
  • Tomaz Marcic – accordion
  • Jost Lampret – double bass
  • String quartet, Macedonia:
  • Vladmir Cvetkovic – first violin
  • Diana Mircheska – second violin
  • Ilza Baftiari – viola
  • Dimitar Angelov – cello
  • Dimitar Mihajlovski – solo violin
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

17/08/2018 – Antonio Serrano, mouth organ, Spain

  • Constanza Lechner – piano, Spain
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

18/08/2018 – “Heavenly sound of the bamboo flute & Xiao”

  • Chinese Bamboo Flute Orchestra
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

19/08/2018 – Jubilee of the birth of Macedonian artists Risto Avramovski, Dragoslav Ortakov and Stojan Stojkov

  • Goran Nachevski – baritone
  • Jasna Avramovska – piano
  • Vasil Atanasov – oboe
  • Todor Svetiev -piano
  • Skopje Wind Quintet:
  • Vasil Atanasov – oboe
  • Marija Jakjimovska – flute
  • Risto Gjorevski – clarinet
  • Daniel Apostolov – bassoon
  • Aleksandar Goshev – horn
  • Scene: St. Sophia church

20/08/2018 – Closing ceremony: Theatre play “Iliad” by Homer

  • Director: Jernej Lorenci
  • co-production project between the Slovenian National Theatre-SNG Drama Ljubljana, Cankarjev Dom and the City Theater, Slovenia
  • Scene: Antique theatre

Tickets for the Ohrid Summer Festival

Ohrid Summer Festival

There are several different ways to buy your tickets, and you can get them at the box office in person or online. The cost of a ticket will vary depending on the event. Note, however, that prior reservations are necessary, since most of the tickets are sold way before the start of each event.

For buying the festival tickets in person go to:

Ticket office at the head office of N.I. “Ohrid Summer”

  • Working hours: 8:30 – 21:00
  • Address: Partizanska street No. 4, Ohrid
  • Phone: +389 (0)46 261 304
  • E-mail: reservation@ohridskoleto.com.mk

The box office on the Quay:

  • Working hours: 9:00 – 22:00
  • Address: Street Makedonski Prosvetiteli, Ohrid

Sales desk at each scene venue

  • One hour before events start

For buying your tickets online go to www.mktickets.mk and follow the instructions.

Sponsors of the Ohrid Summer Festival

For a festival of this magnitude, Ohrid Summer must count on a network of sponsors and supporters. The general sponsor is T-Home Macedonia, followed by the exclusive sponsors among which are Euro Standard Bank, Okta, EVN and Tikves.

The main sponsors include Pivara Skopje, Stopanska Banka, Eurolink and many others such as Alkaloid, Hotel Inex Gorica, Hotel Garden, Ohridski Biser Filevi, Turkish Airlines, The Spanish Embassy, The Austrian Embassy, Alliance Records etc.

Among the supporters there is a large network of restaurants, hotels, bars and logistically necessary small businesses that bring Ohrid Summer festival to life.

The media sponsors include most of the national and cable TV stations in Macedonia, as well as a number of radio networks, newspapers, and online portals and editorials.

Ohrid Summer Contact information

Due to an increased demand for attending the festival, the organization of Ohrid Summer has dedicated a lot of energy into addressing inquiries and requests from both performers and spectators alike.

If you need to contact the office of Ohrid Summer (Ohridsko Leto), try reaching them via:

  • Phone: +389 (0)46 261 304 and +389 (0)46 262 304
  • E-mail: contact@ohridskoleto.com.mk
  • Address: Street Partizanska no. 4, 6000 Ohrid Macedonia

Visiting Ohrid during the festival


Summer is the only season for visiting Ohrid, and discovering Macedonia in its full glory. You can make reservations prior to your arrival, and follow this guide for enjoying every event of the festival.

While in Ohrid, you can arrange several daily trips to some of the most picturesque places around the city, visiting different churches and monastery complexes. There is a lot of cultural heritage so make sure to visit the Samuil Fortress overlooking the city, the recently restored prehistoric settlement Bay of Bones, but also some of the most attractive churches and monasteries such as St. John (kaneo), Plaoshnik, the Saint Naum monastery, plus the old bazar and the center of the city.

For those who enjoy the outdoors, there are plenty of activities to schedule. The crystal blue lake of Ohrid is one of the oldest European lakes. Protected by UNESCO, it provides the perfect set for an unforgettable vacation.

Plenty of panoramic lookouts are located around, and you should definitely explore the spring site near St. Naum, and the National park of Galicica. Burning calories throughout the day, you can then visit some of the restaurants where traditional Macedonian food is being served.

For those who are lucky enough to schedule the right timing, the beautiful town of Ohrid can be much more enticing when decorated with top music and drama performances, from some of the most renowned artists in the world. The Ohrid Summer Festival offers a truly spectacular menu of events, within a truly spectacular town. Those who are lucky enough to spend their vacation here would end up paying lip service for years on end.