Everyone speaks of the ‘Beethoven brand’. Is that acceptable?

The first thing people associate with Bonn, especially overseas, is ‘Beethoven’. Beethoven stands for so much – for flawless compositions, for freedom, for a clear gaze into the world, for music that crosses every boundary and reaches everyone. I can hardly imagine better attributes for a brand.

How would you describe BTHVN2020 as a metaphor?

It’s the umbrella beneath which all the activities of the Jubilee find a place. BTHVN2020 covers a huge array of participants and target groups, all working for the ‘Beethoven phenomenon’ and all seeking to celebrate his 250th birthday.

What’s your dream for BTHVN2020? What’s most important to you about this project?

My dream is to bring people close to all the myriad facets surrounding Beethoven and his music. Being a university, we will also approach Beethoven from a scholarly perspective and try to categorise him, for example in his historical context. But we will also make the palace that serves as our main university building today perceivable as an authentic Beethoven site. After all, Beethoven wrote music for the prince who resided here. And we mustn’t forget that before he moved to Vienna Beethoven received organ lessons here at the palace church and served as deputy organist for the Mass celebrations of the court chapel.

What makes BTHVN2020 unique? What can we experience only in 2020 and only in Bonn?

Beethoven was born in Bonn. It was here that he grew to become a genius. Until the day he died he felt attached to Bonn and often signed his name ‘Beethoven Bonnensis’. This is the place where our experience of his life and work should be most authentic and impressive, not only in 2020 but also in the future. It’s a great opportunity, but unquestionably a great challenge as well. We as a university will do our part to make BTHVN2020 in Bonn unique.