Motto - Variations

Art thrives on the spirit, on fresh impetus. The motto of this season, the first under my direction, is ‘Variations’. It is already manifest in our striking new design. But not to worry: Beethoven still remains our festival’s lodestar, sending its brilliant glow through every event.

One crucial work for the changes Beethoven wrought in music is his ‘Diabelli Variations’. They form a mainstay of our 2015 programme, whether played by András Schiff on a modern grand or by Ronald Brautigam on a hammerklavier. Changing perspectives are equally evident in the ‘period’ concerts of Anima Eterna Brugge, headed by Jos van Immerseel.


One of the greatest pleasures in music is to hear familiar things in new guises. Consequently, almost every large orchestral work on our programme features variations, whether from the Berlin Staatskapelle under Daniel Barenboim, the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer, the Vienna Symphony under
Philippe Jordan, or the Bamberg SO under Juraj Valčuha. The same applies to chamber music. The cellist Sol Gabetta and the Tal & Groethuysen Piano-Duo all play variations, and Vesselina Kasarova sings her way through wide-ranging variants on the Ariadne legend. The archetype in the art of variation – Bach’s
‘Goldberg Variations’ – can be heard twice, played by the inimitable András Schiff and danced by the master of minimalist mutations, Saburo Teshigawara.


As we live in the present, the Beethovenfest places its main focus on the ‘contemporary Beethoven’. Not only with overpaintings of his music, but also, and especially, with world premières directly related to his works. Salvatore Sciarrino will open this series of tributes. Beethoven’s avant-garde spirit has enlarged
the Festival with recent art forms featuring interdisciplinary performative events. Round-table discussions display our close ties with Bonn as a centre of learning.


I wish to extend my warm thanks to all donors, sponsors and foundations and to our honorary sponsor, Minister-President Hannelore Kraft. And of course to everyone who has made the Beethovenfest what it is.


Nike Wagner
Artistic Director