Travel: Global Agenda

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The Independent Culture
Brescia and Bergamo

The Piano Festival was created in 1964 as a tribute to the pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, who was born in Brescia. Uniting the strong musical traditions of these two towns, the festival encourages its invited artists to collaborate and experiment in their interpretation of the programme, which is built around a different author, historical event or musical form each year. Tomorrow's opening concert, "Il Pianoforte di Schumann", performed by the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala and conducted by Myung-Whun Chung with Stanislav Bunin on piano, will celebrate the festival's 35th anniversary. Ivo Pogorelich, Andras Schiff and Gerhard Oppitz will also perform during the festival.

Various venues, Brescia (00 39 030 44569) and Bergamo (00 39 035 240140), Italy; from tomorrow until 11 June, L35,000-L150,000


The whole of The Netherlands will be celebrating Queen Beatrix's birthday on Friday, but the annual festivities in Amsterdam will take some beating, with thousands of people pouring into the city to join in the fun. From early morning, when the first flea markets start, until well into the night, when block parties are in full swing, the canals are packed with partygoer-laden boats and concert halls are throbbing with music, madness and mayhem.

Various locations throughout Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Friday, free


The International Festival of Contemporary Music is much more than its name suggests. As well as offering a programme of modern sounds - provided by an international line-up - it features exhibitions of contemporary art, dance performances, film screenings and conferences, and takes place in some fascinating indoor and outdoor venues. This year the focus is on percussion, and will feature music by the Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino and the Greek musical theatre specialist Georges Aperghis. Also planned for the festival is a masterclass in orchestral direction with Lorraine Vaillancourt and the New Modern Ensemble of Montreal.

Various venues, Marseilles, France (00 33 49139 2900); from Friday until 12 May, Ff40-Ff70


An exhibition of the early works of well-known artists, "When Artists Were Young", gives a fascinating insight into the development of their styles. The featured artists date from Albrecht Durer right up to Jackson Pollock and Donald Judd, and the chronological tracing of their work reveals how their initial stabs at creativity are often different to the paintings and sculptures for which they became famous.

Basel Kunstmuseum, 16 St Alban-Graben, Basel, Switzerland (00 41 61 206 6262); until 21 June, SF7