Chronology

1845
First, three-day, Beethovenfest under the management of Franz Liszt and Louis Spohr, on the occasion of the unveiling of Ernst Hähnel’s Beethoven Monument on the Münsterplatz in Bonn

1871
Second Beethovenfest (originally planned to mark Beethoven’s centenary in 1870, but postponed because of the Franco-Prussian war), for which the first Beethovenhalle is built (destroyed in an air-raid in 1944)

1890
First chamber-music festival in the Beethovenhalle, initiated and co-organized by Joseph Joachim on the occasion of the acquisition by the “Verein Beethoven-Haus” of Beethoven’s birthplace at no. 20 Bonngasse

1893
Second chamber-music festival on the occasion of the opening of the Beethoven Memorial in the Beethoven-Haus. From 1897, the Bonn chamber-music festivals are held every other year until 1956. The focus is always on Beethoven’s music, but increasingly alongside works dating from other periods.

1894
Beethovenfest with the first performance of all nine symphonies

1927
“Deutsches Beethovenfest” on the occasion of the centenary of the composer’s death

1931
Three “Volkstümliche Beethoventage” (Popular Beethoven Days) in Bonn, initiated by the pianist Elly Ney

1933
From now until 1944 inclusive the “Volkstümliche Bethovenfeste” initiated by Elly Ney are held annually.

1947
The City of Bonn resolves to hold a Beethovenfest and the chamber-music festival organized by the Verein Beethoven-Haus in alternate years.

1959
Opening of the new Beethovenhalle

1970
The “Internationales Beethovenfest Bonn 1970” in three cycles (May, September, December) brings numerous world-famous performers to Bonn on the occasion of the composer’s bicentenary.

1974
From now on, the Beethovenfest takes place every three years; its programmes are rigorously and increasingly focused on confronting Beethoven’s œuvre with the avant-garde.

1989
Opening of the Kammermusiksaal (chamber-music hall) in the Beethoven-Haus on the initiative of Hermann-Josef Abs; it becomes one of the central performance venues for the Beethovenfest.

1993
The City of Bonn pulls out of the organization of the 1995 Beethovenfest, whereupon the initiative “Bürger für Beethoven” (citizens for Beethoven) is formed with the goal of rescuing the festival. Implementation of the “Beethoven-Marathon” in 1995, 1996 and 1998.

1997
Municipal Beethovenfest

1998
Formation of the Internationale Beethovenfeste Bonn gGmbH. Ilona Schmiel takes over as artistic and managing director.

2014
Since January Dr. Nike Wagner is artistic and managing director of the Beethovenfest Bonn.

Beethoven monument Postamt © Michael Sondermann