»It was important for us to go out here into the Kottenforst with our programme presentation. It’s a symbolic place, there’s a lot of life here, you hear the birds, but you also see the dead spruces – death, life, the old and the new all flow together here.« – Steven Walter
A festival about life – under this heading, Beethovenfest’s artistic director Steven Walter presented the new festival programme at a press conference on 27 April 2023. Press representatives and festival supporters travelled together by bus to the unusual press conference location: the Kottenforst in Bonn at the clearing »Zeitenwende« (turning point). Here, a memorial to forest dieback and climate change has been installed among deadwood. The threat to and renewal of the forest can be experienced here in an oppressive but also hopeful way. Festival artist Tanja Tetzlaff sent a wordless message with her musical introduction of Bach’s Cello Suite: in the language of music we can reflect on the essentials, we can begin to think about change. That is the goal of the Beethovenfest 2023, as formulated by Steven Walter.
»The conditions of life, but also the basis of survival – that is the big topic of our time. Everyone is talking about our relationship with nature – and that’s a topic that music has always illuminated.«
Accordingly, the Beethovenfest 2023 programme is centred around the great theme of nature and life. The focus will be on compositions that process images of nature, but also on artists with visions for more sustainable artistic work. The festival will also examine its own work processes for sustainability.
The UN city of Bonn is the ideal setting for this focus, as Katja Dörner, Mayor of the Federal City, emphasised at the press conference:
»The city of Bonn is the sustainability hub in Germany. Important ideas on this topic go out from Bonn to the world.«
Katja Dörner also emphasised how Beethovenfest continues to pursue its mission of being a festival for everyone. In 2023, it will offer concerts at over 30 venues, some of them very unusual, and expand the musical spectrum far beyond classical music. For Dörner, this brings the city’s population into vibrant contact with the festival.
»The fact that the festival takes place in so many different places and with so many different cooperation partners is fundamentally important for a city like Bonn. Because we want culture for everyone. That is of great value for our city.«
Beethovenfest Bonn’s long-standing partners were also presented at the press conference: Deutsche Welle, Deutsche Telekom AG and Deutsche Post DHL Group. They not only support the festival financially, but also carry out key concert projects with us, which are highlights in the programme. These include the »Campus Project: Afghanistan and Iran« with Deutsche Welle, and the closing concert party »Beethovenfest x Electronic Beats« and »Post Classic Vertical« at the Deutsche Post DHL Group headquarters.