The Campus-Project

Making music together and creating connections - across geographical, stylistic and cultural borders - that is the main idea of the Campus Project. In 2001, the international music exchange project of Beethovenfest Bonn and the German international broadcaster “Deutsche Welle” began its journey around the globe and since then has seen countless participants, world premieres, rehearsal hours, workshops and concerts - but above all, it has found many friends all over the world.

"Music deserves to be studied." - The project

The Campus project has been a central component of the Bonn festival since its inception. Every year, the aim is to bring young musicians from Germany in an exchange with musicians from a host country near or far, to broaden horizons, to test playing techniques, listening habits and approaches and thus to promote the development of musical youth in both countries. The programme always focuses on a central work by Beethoven, which is unusually illuminated, broken up or supplemented by works related to the host country. In 2001, the Symphony Orchestra of the National Academy of Music of the Ukraine made its debut at the "International Orchestra Campus", as the project was called at the beginning. In the following years, countless musicians from countries such as Brazil, Vietnam, Iraq, South Africa, India and Mexico joined the orchestra. A list of all countries can be found HERE

Ukraine 2017 | Concert for children in Bonn © Barbara Frommann
Mexico 2016 | Memebers of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany and the Orquesta Escuela Carlos Chávez rehearse in Mexico City for the opening concert of the German-Mexican year © Thomas Scheider

Visits from all over the world (2001 - 2014)

In its first phase, the project invited young orchestras from abroad to the Rhine to prepare a concert programme with a central work by Beethoven, to work in workshops and to give small performances, lectures and concerts at schools in Bonn. Young musicians from the Cairo Conservatory of Music Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Central Music Conservatory Beijing or the Bilkent Youth Symphony Orchestra from Turkey came to Bonn and were hosted by Bonn citizens for the duration of their one-week stay.


The Beethovenfest "abroad" (since 2015)

Since 2015, the German Music Council has been a permanent project partner and, with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany “Bundesjugendorchester” (BJO), creates the possibility for mutual exchange, into the host country and at concerts in Bonn and Berlin. The Beethovenfest and Deutsche Welle accompany the BJO on its one-week rehearsal tour and invite musicians and soloists from both countries. The German Youth orchestra collaborated with young Indian tabla players, a band from Inner Mongolia or an a cappella sextet from South Africa amongst others. Other soloists from Germany complemented this diverse mixture of western and distant timbres.

India 2018 | Meeting with tabla master Guru Suresh Talwalkar in Mumbai © Thomas Scheider
Ukraine 2017 | Conductor Oksana Lyniv with a member of the project orchestra from BJO and YsOU in Lviv © Serhiy Horobets

In 2017 the three project partners Beethovenfest, “Deutsche Welle” and “Bundesjugendorchester” and the Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv initiated the founding of the "Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine" (YsOU), the first national youth orchestra of the Ukraine, and helped to establish structures and conduct first auditions. A project orchestra of about 50 Ukrainian and 50 German musicians each subsequently played concerts in Lviv, Kiev, Bonn and Berlin. The YsOU has continued to exist ever since and is now on a concert tour through the Ukraine, Austria and Germany.


"I would rather write 10000 notes than one letter" - The composition commission

Since the beginning of the project, the Campus Project has been linked to the awarding of a composition commission by Deutsche Welle to a young composer from the respective host country. The task is to combine the musical tradition of the home country with the western sounds of a symphony orchestra. Guitar and choral singing (Mexico) or accordion sounds (Ukraine) flowed into the sound of the orchestra in this way, as did the performances of Indian Kathak dancers. A list of all previous composers can be found HERE.


India 2018 | The commissioned composers Rakesh Chaurasiah (l) and Bernhard Schimpelsberger (r) with project manager Thomas Scheider © Lena Schmidt
South Africa 2019 | Shooting by "Deutsche Welle" during rehearsals in Johannesburg © Thomas Scheider

German International Broadcaster “Deutsche Welle”

Deutsche Welle has been involved in the development of the project since its inception. The main task of the German foreign broadcaster is to help in the selection of the partner country and to document the course of the project. Thus, every year a 30 minutes documentation is produced, which is broadcast worldwide within the programme of the broadcaster. Furthermore the concert that is held in Bonn as the finale of the project is also recorded and offered on the radio programme and on the station's website. Traditionally, a rerun takes place in Berlin one day after the Bonn concert, hosted by Deutsche Welle. A concert recording can be found HERE.



The importance of the campus project can also be measured by the personalities who have given it their support over the years by assuming patronage. Among them were, for example, German President Johannes Rau and the President of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze, Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, German Presidents Horst Köhler and Christian Wulff, and most recently German Foreign Ministers Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Sigmar Gabriel and Heiko Maas.


Mexico 2016 | Meeting with the former Foreign Minister Steinmeier in Mexico © Bundespresseamt
India 2018 | Rhine cruise as part of the Bonn project phase © Lena Schmidt

The sponsors

Not least thanks to its numerous sponsors, the Campus project has been able to grow over the years, increase its profile and develop into an internationally acclaimed project. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has always supported the project with an annual grant. The Federal Foreign Office also provided financial support for some of the project's expenses. The Goethe-Institut has also been a long-standing sponsor. Individual participants were supported by Bayer Arts & Culture.