Dear Beethovenfest Fans,

All major celebrations to mark Ludwig van Beethoven's 250th birthday fell victim to measures against the corona virus. All over the world they were cancelled, restricted or moved to the net. There is only one consolation in this devastating situation: a composer of Beethoven's stature no longer needs a "promotion".

A richly endowed Beethovenfest 2020 was ready to start, the artists were obliged to print the texts and pictures, the tickets were sold. Then came the lockdown. However, a large part of the events could be saved for our 2021 season, and, to be precise, the jubilee year 2021 is a fitting one: it was not until 1771 that the Bonn baby, baptized on December 17, 1770, passed through its first year of life...

To preserve the cycle of all nine Beethoven symphonies was a matter of honor. Only it is no longer played by a single orchestra as planned, but by five European orchestras and conductors. These now offer us different readings of these well-known works and convey the idea of Beethoven as a citizen of the world. As a tender echo, "all nine" also resound in the piano transcriptions by Franz Liszt - to be mastered only by exquisite virtuosos. With Schubert and Bruckner, the Vienna Philharmonic recalls those who continued Beethoven's symphonic tradition.

We remain great: the "Missa solemnis" in Cologne Cathedral, Stockhausen's "Gruppen" and a concert that even surpasses the world redemption formula of the Ninth. "Resurrect, yes resurrect" is the title of the second, the "Resurrection Symphony" by Gustav Mahler. But we also sense Beethoven's seminal spirit when the pianist Marino Formenti, starting from Beethoven's late sonatas, takes us on a journey through modernity and the present, or the ballet of the Lyon Opera dares to take up Beethoven's string quartets. In an installative work, the myth-obsessed artist Romeo Castellucci deals with Prometheus, a figure who fascinated the humanist Beethoven.

My special thanks go to the sponsors who supported the Beethovenfest even in difficult times, and to all those who contributed to this "saved" festival.

Translated with (free version)

Yours sincerely,

Nike Wagner