To make music together and to forge connections, bridging geographical, stylistic and cultural borders: This is the foundational idea of the Campus project. In 2001, the joint international project for the furthering of young musicians by Beethovenfest Bonn and Deutsche Welle started its journey around the globe. Since then, Campus project saw countless participants, world premieres of new musical works, hours of rehearsal, workshops and concerts – and it has made friends all around the world.
»Music merits studying it.« – Ludwig van Beethoven«
Since its foundation, the Campus project is an integral part of Beethovenfest Bonn. Each year it endeavours to bring together young musicians from Germany with musicians from a near or remote guest country. The goal is to broaden horizons, to work on playing skills, listening habits and to question attitudes and perspectives to further the development of the musical young generation here and abroad.
In the project, one central work by Beethoven is always the cornerstone of the programme. Beethoven's music is confronted with works from the guest country that shed new light on it, deconstruct it or complement it.
The Symphony Orchestra of the National Music Academy of the Ukraine initiated the project 2001 with the »international orchestra campus«, as the project was called at the time. In the following years, project partners came from countries like Brasil, Vietnam, Iraq, South Africa, India or Mexico.
Visits from all over the world (2001–2014)
In the first years of the project, we invited foreign youth orchestras to the Rhine to rehearse and perform a concert programme with a central work by Beethoven. Moreover, workshops were held and the musicians worked with schools for performances and lectures. Young musicians came for example from the Cairo Conservatory of Music Orchestra, from the orchestra of the Central Music Conservatory Beijing or from the Bilkent Youth Symphony Orchestra, Turkey. During their approximately one-week-stay in Bonn, they lived with guest families amongst Bonn citizens.
Beethovenfest »abroad« (since 2015)
Since 2015, Deutscher Musikrat is a permanent project partner and provides a platform for exchange through its National Youth Orchestra of Germany (Bundesjugendorchester). This way, the project extends into the guest countries and has opportunities to appear in concerts in Bonn and Berlin. Beethovenfest and Deutsche Welle accompany the National Youth Orchestra on its week-long tours abroad and invite additional musicians and soloists from both countries to the projects.
The German National Youth Orchestra played among others with young Indian tabla players, with a band from inner Mongolia or an a cappella sextet from South Africa. Additional soloists from Germany complemented this diverse combination of Western and foreign sounds.
Foundation of the »Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine« (YsOU)
A special year in the recent history of Campus was 2017. Together with Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv, the three partners Beethovenfest, Deutsche Welle and German National Youth Orchestra founded the »Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine« (YsOU), the first national youth orchestra of the Ukraine and helped organising the structures and first auditions. In the first year, a project orchestra with about 50 Ukrainian and 50 German musicians performed concerts in Lviv, Kiew, Bonn and Berlin. The YsOU has continued since then and tours the Ukraine, Austria and Germany.
»I'll much rather write 10000 notes than one letter« - Ludwig van Beethoven
Since the beginnings of the Campus project, it includes a commission of a new work by Deutsche Welle for a young composer of the guest country. The commission requires the composer to combine the musical tradition of their home country with the Western symphonic genre. Past works commissioned by the Campus project include settings combining orchestra with guitar and choir (Mexico) or accordion (Ukraine) or a work for orchestra and Indian Kathak dancers.
Deutsche Welle has participated in the development of Campus project since the beginnings. The German international broadcaster has the role to help with the choice of guest countries and to document the projects. Every year, Deutsche Welle produces a 30-minutes documentary film on the project that is broadcasted by Deutsche Welle around the world. The Campus concerts in Bonn are recorded and streamed via radio and on the website of the broadcaster. Traditionally, shortly after the concert in Bonn, the programme is re-performed in Berlin, hosted by Deutsche Welle.
The significance of the Campus project is evident in the public figures who have, over the years, supported it by taking over its patronage. Among these are the German federal presidents Johannes Rau, Horst Köhler and Christian Wulff, the state president of Georgia, Eduard Schewardnadse, German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, and recently German foreign ministers Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Sigmar Gabriel and Heiko Maas.
»All notes don't deliver me from needs!!« - Ludwig van Beethoven
Last but not least owing to its many sponsors, the Campus project was able to grow over time, to enlarge its reputation and to develop into an internationally renowned project. The federated state Nordrhein-Westfalen supports the project continuously with financial aid. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has supported several project cohorts. The Goethe Institute is also a long-standing partner. Selected participants have been supported by the foundation of Bayer Kultur.