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Art installation Ludwig van Beethoven - Ode an die Freude © Giacomo Zucca

The other Beethoven(s)

“The other Beethoven(s)” is a Goethe-Institut project that pays tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven's 250th birthday and takes his interest in non-European perspectives to the next level. Building on the composer’s cosmopolitan outlook, artists and musicians from Asia, the Arab world, Southeast Europe and Germany are translating his work into a new, contemporary idiom. The results are concerts, installations and performances that will be shown in Germany and the participating countries from 2020 onwards.

The 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven's birth will be celebrated all over Germany – as well as in many other parts of the world – in 2020. The other Beethoven(s) is a Goethe-Institut project that pays tribute to the work of the world-famous composer from Bonn and takes his interest in non-European perspectives to the next level: building on the composer’s cosmopolitan outlook, artists and musicians from Asia, the Arab world, Southeast Europe and Germany are translating his work into a new, contemporary idiom. The upshot is a series of concerts, installations and other performance art to be presented in Germany and other participating countries starting in 2020. The first workshops for two of these projects will be starting in November 2019 in Bangkok and in January 2020 in Iraq.
 
Back in Beethoven's day, "oriental" culture was viewed as the epitome of an exotic world extending from east of Vienna all the way to China and Japan. A child of his times, Beethoven, like many other illustrious composers, made use of the alla turca topos in his music and took an interest in the Isis cult of Egyptian mythology as well as, in later years, in Indian culture. These influences can be heard in some of his work. And while Beethoven and his contemporaries were delving into the exotic "Orient", Western music was catching on there, for the most part disseminated by colonial structures. To this day, Beethoven's music is widely appreciated, and provides a rich sounding board for new interpretations, in many of these countries.
 
Starting in 2020, an international Goethe-Institut project series called The other Beethoven(s) will be showcasing unfamiliar perspectives on Beethoven’s person and oeuvre. Artists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Korea, Romania, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Germany have been working with their local Goethe-Instituts to develop their own projects. They trace the non-European influences on Beethoven and vice versa the influences of Beethoven's work on non-European cultures and translate them into a contemporary idiom. Their results will be presented in their own countries and in Germany in 2020 as part of the Beethoven jubilee.


Program Island of the Goethe-Institut in Berlin on October 24-25, 2020

With Cathy Milliken's "Ode for All" and the installation "Covered Culture" by Brigitta Muntendorf and Moritz Lobeck, two of the productions that were created as part of "The other Beethoven(s)" are to be premiered at Berlin's radialsystem. In addition, Elisa Erkelenz has curated a Trickster Orchestra concert entitled "Disturbing the Universal/DIY" for her series "Outernational" embedded in the program island. Another item on the program is a symposium on "Decolonizing Classical Musics?", organized by the Goethe-Institut and designed in collaboration with Elisa Erkelenz. Postcolonial issues and contemporary practices of trans-traditional composition will be discussed.

Musicologist Kofi Agawu Musicologist Kofi Agawu / Photo: © Andrew Wilkinson

Symposium
Decolonizing Classical Musics?

What could decolonization in music – especially in the fields of classical music – look like? These and other questions will be discussed at the symposium "Decolonizing Classical Musics?" by music experts.

Review

Curating Diversity in Europe – Decolonizing Contemporary Music
25 September 2020
10:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Akademie der Künste, Berlin

The symposium “Curating Diversity in Europe”, taking place on- and offline, offered a platform for keeping the discourse on diversity in contemporary music in Europe alive, developing potentials for transformation during a time of limited international encounters and swelling nationalistic currents. It is a project of "Sounds Now", a European network dedicated to promoting more diversity and inclusion in contemporary music and sound art, in cooperation with the Akademie der Künste Berlin, inm / field notes and Ultima festival in Oslo.


More projects


“The other Beethoven(s)” is a Goethe-Institut project. During the project, a selection of events taking place in German are sponsored by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as part of BTHVN2020.

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