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Gemälde von Joseph Karl Stieler: Portrait Beethovens mit der Partitur zur Missa SolemnisPhoto (Detail): © Joseph Karl Stieler

Beethoven 250

Ludwig van Beethoven (* 1770 in Bonn, + 1827 in Vienna) is known all over the world. The German composer and pianist was a pioneer of the Romantic period, that led classical music in Vienna to a higher level. He reshaped music and gave new meaning to terms such as "sonata", "symphony" or "concert". Influenced by the spirit of the French Revolution, Beethoven dreamt of a society "created by the individual and free from hierarchical structures, a society in which the free development of individuals is the ultimate purpose". His 250th birthday will be celebrated around the globe in 2020.


Ode for all

A participative choir project of the Goethe-Institut on the occasion of the Beethoven Year 2020

  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir
  • "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir Photo (Detail): Goethe-Institut/Andreas Loucaides
    "Ode For All" – Impressions from the workshop in Nicosia with the Amalgamation Choir

The "Ode to Joy" was composed by Schiller in 1785. Several decades later, Beethoven congenially set it to music in the last movement of his 9th symphony. Its core messages "all men become brothers" and "Be Embraced, You Millions" have been unifying countries, continents and generations on many occasions: for the opening ceremony of the Olympics, as a giant sing-along concert or as the European anthem.

 

If such a humanist vision was to be reinterpreted today, more than 200 years later, which musical expression would it convey? What would be the sound of this call which not only aims at brothers and sisters, but at literally everyone and which goes even beyond the sounds of Beethoven? What is the meaning of "joy" in the 21st century? 

The composer Cathy Milliken has been exploring these questions together with the vocal coach Lucia Duchoňová in a participativechoir project: In an "Ode for all" text and tune of the original work by Schiller and Beethoven are reinterpreted and developed further by creating new, collective sounds. The composers and creators of this new composition are six women's choirs from Bosnia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Cyprus and Romania with entirely different vocal traditions.

In this way, individual contributions are composed in Bucharest, Sofia, Nicosia, Belgrade, Sarajevo and Istanbul. During a joint working session, all of these creations will be merged into a collective musical artwork, which will premiere in Berlin, Germany on the occasion of the Beethoven Year. The Amalgamation Choir from Nicosia participates at the project.
 

Video "Ode for all" © Goethe-Institut

Video "Ode for all"

Installation “Ludwig van Beethoven - Ode an die Freude” Photo: Giacomo Zucca/Bundesstadt Bonn

Project
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.


Concert Series

Cyprus Symphony Orchestra Photo: Cyprus Symphony Orchestra/Kyriakos Arkatites

Concert Series by the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra

The Cyprus Symphony Orchestra is celebrating the Beethoven Year in a concert series led by German conductor Jens Georg Bachmann. During four concerts, the orchestra will perform some of Beethoven's most important symphonic works, with the participation of piano soloists Cyprien Katsaris and Andrey Gavrilov as well as young music students from Cyprus.


Two evening of string quartets by Beethoven

Kuss Quartet Photo: MolinaVisuals

The KUSS quartet at The Shoe Factory in November 2020

Besides his famous symphonies, Beethoven composed 16 string quartets and one great fugue for string players. On two evenings in November the established Kuss Quartet from Berlin will play Beethoven's string quartets at The Shoe Factory. The Kuss Quartet with Jana Kuss (violin), Oliver Wille (violin), William Coleman (viola) and Mikayel Hakhnazaryan (cello) ranks amongst the world’s most renowned ensembles and performs in Europe, the USA, South America and Japan.

The Kuss Quartet won numerous international awards at the Bubenreuth Competition (1997), Karl-Klingler Competition (Berlin, 1998) and at the International String Quartet Competition (Banff, Canada, 2001).
In June 2002, the quartet was awarded the first prize in the Premio Paolo Borchian Competition in Reggio Emilia/Italy and was a "Rising Star" of the European Concert Hall Organization. As a result, the Rising Star Program has taken them from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, from the Vienna Concert Hall to the Philharmonie in Cologne, from Athens Concert Hall to Birmingham Symphony Hall and from London’s Wigmore Hall to the Philharmonie in Berlin, their home city. The Kuss Quartet was supported by Borletti-Buitoni Trust.
 
Further information will follow.


Exhibition: Welcome to #bebeethoven

Welcome to #bebeethoven (Esslingen & Bonn) Illustration (detail): © PODIUM, Esslingen

This multimedia exhibition explores Beethoven's musical legacy and creativity and ties it into the present day and age.

What would Beethoven do today? How would he compose? Which instruments would he use? What means of distribution and presentation would he use for his music? How would he relate to the different musical cultures of our globalized world?

The exhibition Welcome to #bebeethoven – curated by Thibaut de Ruyter – investigates these and other questions and presents in a multimedia way the researches and results of twelve young contemporary musicians and composers that participated at the program initiated by PODIUM Esslingen in 2018, as well as new publications by Steven Walter and Thibout de Ruyter.

By working with actual composers and musicians and through its modern means of communication, the exhibition is intended for a public that goes beyond the usual classical music audience. It is not about the figure, biography or achievements of Ludwig van Beethoven 250 years after his birth but his inventions, his intellectual legacy, his creativity and creative thinking.

After shows in Esslingen (April 2020) and Bonn (October 2020), the exhibition will be travelling to South Eastern Europe, including Cyprus (November 2020).

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