Some 2,000 of the world's best musicians will be performing in Bonn over the next few weeks at this year's Beethovenfest, which opens on Friday, Aug. 24 under the motto "Joy!"
At the Beethovenfest, Beethoven's music is just the beginning
Beethoven may have been buried in 1827, but the planners behind Bonn's annual Beethovenfest are determined to present the legendary classical composer as fresh, modern and still relevant today.
"Fortunately there's a whole collection of Beethoven works that not only make it possible to reconsider how we deal with his music in the 21st century, but also to ask what possibilities we have today to find points of medial interface -- interdisciplinary, aesthetically effective new forms that inspire us to keep going," said festival director Ilona Schmiel.
Look at Beethoven
Beethoven was born in Bonn in 1770
The film project "Look at Beethoven" is one of the new, interdisciplinary approaches to the composer that Schmiel is referring to. For the festival, young directors have produced 22 new short films, video clips and installations dealing with the phenomenon of Beethoven.
Light and sound installations -- another art form one wouldn't necessarily expect to find at a classical music festival -- have also taken on increasing significance at the Beethovenfest.
"Berlin artist Götz Lemberg has developed three installations entitled 'Colored Sounds' and one of them makes reference to one of Ludwig van Beethoven's central works: the slow movement of the Moonlight Sonata," Schmiel said.
The well-known piece of music is represented in 84 pillars of light in a work that will be exhibited in the foyer of T-Mobile's Bonn headquarters.
"That means you'll be able to see the Moonlight Sonata," said the festival director.
Back to basics
Paavo Järvi conducts the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen on Aug. 26
While experimenting with new ways of presenting classical music, traditional performances by renowned artists won't come up short at the Beethovenfest.
Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, the Beaux Arts Trio, Paavo Järvi, and Alfred Brendel are among stars who will be making appearances at the festival, which runs through Sept. 23.
As a festival sponsor, Deutsche Welle has commissioned a new work by Egyptian composer Mohamed Basha, which will be performed by the Cairo Conservatory of Music Orchestra and a special campus concert on Sept. 7.
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You can listen to excerpts from the campus concert -- and a selection of festival performances by the Beaux Arts Trio, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Ensemble Zefiro and others -- by subscribing to Deutsche Welle's free podcast offer. Just click on the link below.
Select recordings will also be available free of charge on DW-WORLD.DE throughout the festival.