Every year in the autumn, between the end of August and the beginning of October, Beethoven’s native city of Bonn celebrates the Beethovenfest, welcoming top international orchestras, well-known soloists, major ensembles and promising young performers.
The Beethovenfest has seen renowned Beethoven interpreters and big stars like Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Hélène Grimaud, Paavo Järvi, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Hope and Martin Grubinger. These and many other musicians return regularly to Bonn in order to present at the Beethovenfest programmes which have been specially compiled for this festival.
Since August 2012 Deutsche Telekom AG and Beethoven Festival Bonn bundle their forces and make use of synergies in the organisation of the International Telekom Beethoven Competition. The Beethoven Festival Bonn contributes its competencies in the field of event management in the international music market. The festival provides of a vast worldwide network of presenters, agents, competitions and artists which shall be utilized in order to strengthen the competition in the international context and improve the placements of the laureates on the music market.
The tradition of Bonn’s Beethovenfest goes back to 1845, when a three-day music festival took place on the Münsterplatz to celebrate the inauguration of the Beethoven monument on the 75th anniversary of his birth.
It gained its current profile as an annual four-week autumn festival in 1999.Since 1 October 1998 the Internationale Beethovenfeste Bonn gGmbH has been trading as the non-profit company staging the Beethovenfest, for which it was founded and set up financially by Bonn City Council. The other partner, alongside the City of Bonn is Deutsche Welle, which sees to global media distribution of the festival. The festival cooperates closely with municipal cultural institutions – the Beethoven Orchester Bonn, the Theater Bonn and the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. The Beethovenfest is artistically independent and is financially self responsible; the Intendant (programme director) is also the managing director of the company. Franz Willnauer directed the Beethovenfest until the end of 2003, in January 2004 Ilona Schmiel took over financial and artistic management.
Since the middle of 2012 the Beethovenfest Bonn has been entrusted with the organization and staging of the International Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn.