A party for a musical genius

Beethoven was a radical musical innovator. Germany and the world are celebrating his 250th birthday. Discover here the highlights.

250th Years Beethoven – highlights of the anniversary year
250th Years Beethoven – highlights of the anniversary year Michael Sondermann/Bundesstadt Bonn

“True art is imperishable”, said Ludwig van Beethoven. A sentence that applies to his music. He was a humanist, maverick, musical visionary, and is still today one of the most performed composers in the world: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827). Even his deafness, which began in his late twenties, failed to stop Beethoven from composing. He wrote some of his most famous works when he was almost deaf. These include the 9th Symphony, completed in 1824. An instrumental arrangement of the theme of its last movement later became the European Union’s anthem.

Long after his death, Beethoven is as popular as he is relevant. Germany is celebrating the 250th anniversary of his birth from 16 December 2019 to 17 December 2020, in his home town of Bonn and far beyond. Under the title BTHVN2020, concerts, exhibitions, dance and theatre, 300 projects and events will afford the opportunity to (re-) discover Beethoven and his art. Beethoven himself signed some of his scores with “BTHVN”.

The celebrations start on 14 and 15 December 2019 with the Germany-wide home concert event Beethoven at Our Place. Hundreds of privately held concerts in living rooms, shops, clubs and churches will be devoted to Beethoven’s work. On Sunday, 15 December, the exhibition Beethoven – Welt.Citizen.Music begins at the Bonner Bundeskunsthalle.

On the water, the tour project BTHVN2020 Music Freighter will celebrate this exceptional artist. From 12 March to 20 April 2020, a musical river cruise follows Beethoven’s itinerary from Bonn to Vienna, Austria, which was long the centre of life. Also on board: a musical programme inviting you to listen to his music at 14 docking stations.

Musical world tour for environmental protection

Beethoven loved not only music but also nature. In his Sixth Symphony, the Pastorale, he urges us to protect nature. The Beethoven Pastoral Project, which was announced during the 2017 Climate Change Conference in Bonn, links up with this. It calls on artists around the world to engage with Beethoven’s Pastorale and environmental issues.

You would like to receive regular information about Germany? Subscribe here: