focal points

Besides Beethoven’s music, they will perform other historical masterworks or seldom­ heard rarities. We can look forward to the Chorus and Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival, the spellbinding artistry of violinists Anne­Sophie Mutter, Daniel Hope and Renaud Capuçon, charismatic pianists such as Igor Levitt and Marino Formenti, and many other great performers.

‘Leonore, or Conjugal Love’: thus reads the title of the libretto by the French playwright Jean­Nicolas Bouilly. It tells the story of a woman who succeeds in rescuing her unjustly imprisoned husband, presented as an ‘historical fact’ from the days of the French Revolution. Around the year 1800 this material fascinated and inspired four composers at once: Pierre Gaveaux, Ferdinando Paër, Johann Simon Mayr and Ludwig van Beethoven. Now, for the first time, all four ‘Leonore’ operas will be performed in Bonn – four stage presentations by international specialist ensembles, four versions of one of the most powerful operatic themes of Beethoven’s era. Beethoven’s ‘Fidelio’ will also be heard in a ‘twin package’: once in a new Bonn staging by Volker Lösch, and again en miniature by the Salzburg Marionette Theatre.

His ‘partitions de piano’ of the nine symphonies might be called orchestral music for parlour performance – albeit with no concessions to playability. Only extraordinary virtuosos with a firm grasp of style are capable of negotiating these transcriptions. In September 2020 the Beethovenfest has invited just such rare masters of the keyboard to a summit meeting. They will divide all nine symphonies among themselves, much as in the symphony cycle

Marino Formenti, a Milanese pianist living in Vienna, has a penchant for unusual recitals. His programmes invariably open up new vistas or trace connections one would hardly have suspected. For his three Bonn recitals he received a carte blanche that inspired him to design programmes associated with Beethoven’s final three piano sonatas, revealing just how brightly these extraordinary works illuminated music until well into the 20th century. Formenti unquestionably commands the sophisticated technique necessary to give his ‘headstrong’ programmes their proper impact – a residency that invites us to a tour of past glories, the modernist age and the present day.

‘Do What You Wish’: thus the motto inscribed on the back of a magical amulet in Michael Ende’s novel ‘The Neverending Story’. It promises that the bearer’s every wish will be fulfilled. The auryn – for that is what the amulet is called – lent its name to the Auryn Quartet, which has maintained a successful career for many years. Here four string players ‘do what they wish’ – and have won many awards and distinctions in the process. Taking up this motto, the Beethovenfest has asked the quartet to devise three recitals with wind­playing friends and tour the Rhine­-Sieg region with largescale chamber music for winds and strings. The result is a pooling of gems from the chamber repertoire, beginning with rarely heard pieces by Beethoven.

Beethoven is today. Is now and always will be. That’s why the Beethovenfest will again open up to the present day – ‘his’ present day – by probing classical music’s sister arts. Whether ‘Fidelio‘ in miniature, ecstatic nocturnal visions or contemporary choreography inspired by poetry, surrealism and music – we love experiments. And as always, Beethoven will be with us as a paragon and guide.

To not only listen, but to create by yourself! In our education projects you learn many things about music on stage or you can even organize it yourself. Through workshops, concert introductions, management projects and selected concert experiences for students we build bridges between young people and classical music. The majority of the approximately 30 events can be booked directly by the teachers and through the schools. The main program also includes a large selection of events for families, adolescents and young adults. Have fun discovering and experiencing!

Something special

You’re curious, you like experiments and you’re not afraid to cross lines? Than this is for you! Here you’ll find concerts and performances that include Contemporary Music and improvisation, interdisciplinary projects that unite literature and music, dance premières and much more.

Kids and concerts? That’s often a tricky combination. Here, however, you’ll find performances by young artists and with a young repertoire: String quartet meets improvisation, music to be seen on screen, or a family concert that has balls flying through the air to the rhythm of the music.

On Occasion

Colorful and guaranteed to entertain: These are our tea time concerts. If you’d like to top off your Saturday afternoon cake and tea with some classical music, then look no further.

If you’ve had a long and hectic day, a classical concert might be just the thing for you – guaranteed to take your mind off things. Browse through this guide to see all performances that take place weekdays from 7 pm.