Press release

On the trail of Beethoven – hybrid research symposium

From 20 to 23 October, music scholars from more than 40 countries will discuss Ludwig van Beethoven’s cultural legacy in person where it all started in Bonn as well as via a virtual format. The opening ceremony and concerts will be streamed live.

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Beethoven-Haus, Kammermusiksaal
Beethoven House, chamber music hall Hermann J. Abs

Beethoven lived through a turbulent period of European history: Born in Bonn 250 years ago, he was witness to the French Revolution, Napoleon's rise and fall, the Vienna Congress and the reordering of Europe. As a passionate advocate of the ideas behind the French revolution, Beethoven had a life-long interest in Friedrich Schiller – which is evidenced not least in his use of Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” in his Nineth Symphony which serves today as the official hymn of the European Union. During the 10th Bonn Humboldt Award Winners’ Forum, international experts from the field of musicology and other liberal arts will examine the cultural legacy of the master composer. One of the core questions to be examined during the symposium is how can the lasting and formative influence of Beethoven’s works in this age of globalisation and political instability be explained.

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Livestreams and Programme

You can participate in the forum too:

Opening and lecture recital (20 October, 5 pm)
Concert (21 October, 7:30 pm)
Concert (22 October, 7:30 pm)
Programme (PDF, 95 KB)

The conference – titled “Beethoven’s ‘Empire of the Mind’: Artistic ‘Effigies of the Ideal’ and the Cultural Politics of Resistance” – was originally planned as the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s contribution to the celebrations to be held last year in Bonn to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. The symposium had to be postponed due to the pandemic and will now be held as a hybrid event. Around 40 international researchers will meet in Bonn, the city where Beethoven was born – and incidentally also the home of the Humboldt Foundation – for lectures, lecture recitals and specialist discussions. Over 100 further participants from more than 40 countries will join the event online.

You can take part in the forum too: The opening event will be streamed live from 5 pm on 20 October. The Secretary General of the Humboldt Foundation, Enno Aufderheide, will open the Humboldt Award Winners’ Forum in Bonn. This will be followed by an introduction by the Scientific Committee for the symposium: William A. Kinderman, concert pianist, Beethoven expert, music professor at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Los Angeles, USA, and Humboldtian; the director of the Beethoven-Archiv and the Beethoven-Haus publishing house, Christine Siegert; and the musicologist and professor at the Università degli Studi di Pavia, Cremona, Italy, Federica Rovelli, likewise alumna of the Humboldt Foundation. The distinguished German-Swiss musicologist Hermann Danuser from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin will give the keynote lecture. The opening activities will be rounded out with a lecture recital featuring William A. Kinderman and Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen, professor of musicology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. The recital at the Beethoven House in Bonn will begin at 7:30 pm.

The concerts held on the following days will also be broadcast live: On 21 October, the German Chancellor Fellow and clarinettist Ruzaliia Kasimova will perform together with the pianist Valentina Shvetsova and the cellist Christian Brunner at 7:30 pm. On 22 October, also at 7:30 pm, a programme by the Stenhammar Quartet from Sweden, the pianist Susanne Keller and the soprano María Isabel Segarra will be broadcast.

Journalists are cordially invited to attend the Humboldt Award Winners’ Forum. We will be glad to arrange meetings and interviews. Please register by e-mail to presse[at] an. An overview of the programme is available here.

The following livestreams will be available online:

Wednesday, 20 October, starting 5 pm: Opening ceremony, lecture recital with William A. Kinderman and Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen

Thursday, 21 October, starting 7:30 pm: Ruzaliia Kasimova (clarinet), Valentina Shvetsova (piano) and Christian Brunner (cello): 
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata in F major for piano and horn op. 17
Ferdinand Ries: Sonata sentimentale for clarinet and piano in E flat major op. 169
Ludwig van Beethoven: Trio for clarinet, violoncello and piano in B flat major (“Gassenhauer-Trio”) op. 11

Friday, 22 October, starting 7:30 pm: Stenhammar Quartet, María Isabel Segarra (soprano) and Susanne Keller (piano):
Arnold Schönberg: String Quartet No. 2 in F sharp minor op. 10, for string quartet and soprano
“250 Pieces for Beethoven” (selection)
Anders Hillborg: Kongsgaard Variations

The Bonn Humboldt Award Winners’ Forum is an annual event organised by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to connect their research award winners with early career researchers and German host institutions. The conference also aims to raise Bonn’s profile as a centre of science and scholarship.

(Press release 28/2021)

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time conducting research in Germany. The Foundation maintains an interdisciplinary network of well over 30,000 Humboldtians in more than 140 countries around the world – including 61 Nobel Prize winners.

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