Would Beethoven be a fixture of our musical canon today if he had been Black? At the Beethovenfest Bonn, this question leads to a search for new musical positions beyond the European, White, male-dominated canon. In Steven Walter’s first season as artistic director in 2022, the festival focuses on artistic positions which audiences have not yet heard on the big stage. The perspective will also include lesser-known positions as the festival seeks to engage with underrepresented artists, identities, lifestyles and art forms.
With its programme series “(if) Beethoven was black”, the Beethovenfest Bonn offers a platform for musical partnerships which depart from the comfort zone of classical and contemporary art music. Large-scale formats of individual works, performances and interdisciplinary projects will be integrated into the main programme of the ensemble residencies. These serve to contrast, contradict and augment the classical festival programme. In a new orchestral work, the Beethoven Orchester collides with the radical American poet Moor Mother. Another piece, told by author and journalist Ijoma Mangold and musically performed by the Ensemble Resonanz, follows his search for identity between Germany and Nigeria. The festival will also feature two other works rarely performed in Europe by the African American composer Julius Eastman, while the Ensemble Alarm Will Sound, will collaborate with such musicians as Jlin, Rashad Becker and Lyra Pramuk, who are known for developing New Music.
Various introductory events, presentations and discussion panels will accompany the festival programme in its newly designed headquarters in the former Victoriabad. In addition, the participants of the Beethovenfest are drafting a long-term pledge to adopt concrete and binding goals toward achieving greater diversity and participation for the festival and its partners.
Artistic director: Steven Walter
Artists: Alarm Will Sound, Max Andrzejewski, Camae Ayewa, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Sandeep Bhagwati, Cocoon Dance, Ijoma Mangold, Mariana Sadovska, Kai Schumacher, Spira Mirabilis
Concert/performance/reading, Bonn: 27 Aug. – 17 Sep. 2022
Internationale Beethovenfeste Bonn