Beethovenfest Bonn 2018: 31 August to 23 September
The festival’s main program features 57 events at 25 venues in Bonn and the surrounding region. Some of the biggest names in international orchestral music will again be performing throughout this year’s festival.
»Fate« (»Schicksal«) is the central theme of the Beethovenfest Bonn 2018 under the artistic direction of Nike Wagner. The concept of fate is closely tied to the life and work of Beethoven, who confronted his own inescapable slide into deafness with tremendous creative power.
Beginning with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (»Fate«), the 2018 season reflects several historical and individual moments of fate that inspired great music: experiences in war and exile, encounters with death, or highly dramatic stories and final works. The 2018 musical program categorizes festival concerts according to six main themes:
- Paths to Beethoven
Works by Beethoven – including chamber music, piano concertos and symphonies – are naturally the »bread and butter« of the Beethovenfest program. Sometimes his music appears as a flash of inspiration in other programs, or a work is overwritten to shed light on our own day.
- Marked by Fate
The concept of fate is closely tied to the life and work of Beethoven, who confronted his own inescapable slide into deafness with tremendous creative power. Our 2018 season reflects several historical and individual moments of fate that inspired great music: experiences in war and exile, encounters with death, or highly dramatic stories and final works.
- Jubilees and Jubilarians
2018 marks major anniversaries of the births and deaths of several famous musicians. We will be celebrating Gioachino Rossini, Claude Debussy, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Mauricio Kagel. Our historical conscience also demands that we honor the Bonn pianist Karlrobert Kreiten, who was executed by the Nazis. And we’ll remember Leonard Bernstein’s »Ode to Freedom« from 1989.
- Piano Sonata Weekend
Beethoven’s five late piano sonatas have been described as »kosmische Galaxien voll unergründlicher Tiefen« (cosmic galaxies of unfathomable depth), and the same can be said of other epochal late works. The Piano Sonata Weekend will feature not only these “galaxies”, but also the three late piano sonatas by Franz Schubert, in addition to works by Schumann, Janáček, Liszt, Bartók, Berg and Kurtág. This extraordinary concert series features not only legendary pianist Andras Schiff, but also Dénes Várjon from Hungary, representing the »next generation«.
- Original Sound (from the Rhineland)
The triumph of the »authentische Aufführungspraxis« (authentic performance) is another constant in the Beethovenfest program, with selected specialty ensembles bringing us closer to the true sound of Beethoven’s era. The 2018 festival also pays tribute to the famous Lower Rhine music festivals, with their focus on sacred music – a nod to Bonn’s local history and geography.
- Dance / Theater / Installation
Beethoven himself was avant garde, and in keeping with his pioneering spirit, the Beethovenfest always opens its doors to more contemporary art forms. This year, a sound installation explores the mechanics of fate, flying balls write music in the air, we hear a theater sonata of words, Haydn connecting with Herrndorf, and we are treated to prominent names in contemporary dance, including three premiere dance performances.
Ludwig’s Lounge in the city center
On all three evenings of the festival’s opening weekend, Ludwigs Lounge on Bonn’s Marktplatz square offers protection from the elements, culinary treats, and terrific views of the LED public viewing screen. It’s the perfect place to enjoy live broadcasts from the World Conference Center Bonn with family and friends, including the opening concert by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (31 Aug.), the Orchester Rheinton (2 Sept.), and the legendary Berlin performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Leonard Berstein from 1989 (1 Sept.).
The complete 2018 program is available online at www.beethovenfest.de.
Facts and figures
The Beethovenfest Bonn 2018 – under the patronage of the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet – has issued some 31,000 admission tickets for the festival’s main program of 57 events at 25 venues in Bonn and the surrounding region. The festival is made possible by grants from the City of Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg Kreis (Rhein-Sieg County) as well as through project-based funding provided by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition to the support of its main sponsors Deutsche Post DHL Group, Deutsche Telekom, Sparkasse KölnBonn and Deutsche Welle, Beethovenfest Bonn receives support from a large number of event sponsors and foundations. The festival also maintains media partnerships with Deutsche Welle, Bonn’s General-Anzeiger daily newspaper, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), and Deutschlandfunk/Deutschlandradio Kultur. Beethovenfest Bonn is cultural partner to WDR 3. Deutsche Welle will broadcast Beethovenfest concerts worldwide via radio and podcast.
Beethovenfest Bonn also maintains a presence on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram und YouTube.
Admission tickets are available for advance purchase through Bonnticket and all major ticket offices. Ticket orders can be placed by telephone at +49 (0) 228-50 20 13 13 (Mon-Fri 8am – 8pm, Sat 9am – 6pm, Sun 10am – 4pm). Tickets can also be ordered online at www.beethovenfest.de.