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The anniversary year BTHVN2020 in Berlin

In June 1796, the 26-year-old Ludwig van Beethoven played a virtuoso piano concerto at the royal court, to the delight of Friedrich Wilhelm II. Beethoven would later dedicate some of his works to the king, but never came to Berlin again. And yet his music has become an integral part of the city, accompanying numerous historical moments, almost like a soundtrack.

Beethoven’s “Eroica”, for example, was played by the Staatskapelle when Rolf Reuter, General Music Director of the Komische Oper, demanded on 5 November 1989 in the Gethsemane Church that the Wall must come down. Leonard Bernstein conducted Beethoven’s Ninth twice in Berlin for the Christmas concert in the year the Wall fell – at East Berlin’s Schauspielhaus and the Philharmonie in the western part of the city. Instead of “Joy” he had the choir sing “Freedom”: “Freedom drives the cogs of the world’s great clock.”

For the anniversary year BTHVN2020, orchestras of all sizes are coming to Berlin to play entire cycles, with the great Beethoven interpreters also making an appearance, including the pianists Daniel Barenboim and Igor Levit, and violin virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter. The Staatskapelle is dedicating its festival to BTHVN2020. The Deutsches Symphonie Orchester will be taking Beethoven as its theme and the great symphonies will be played at the Staatsoper.

Incidentally, the score of the Ninth Symphony and about 100 other compositions can be found at the Berlin State Library. In the Beethoven anniversary year you can view the rare originals at the exhibition “Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!” Families in particular should take a look at the programme of the Museum of Musical Instruments entitled “B and Me”, inviting you to enjoy reading and listening in the Beethoven Lounge. And any Beethoven fans visiting the Tiergarten should not miss the Beethoven-Haydn-Mozart memorial near Floraplatz.