250 years Beethoven - the Beethoven Crescendo

After the anniversary of the National Youth Orchestra in 2019, the next outstanding anniversary follows in 2020: the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven!

All work phases of 2020 will be dedicated to the music of the Bonn-born composer - in whose hometown the National Youth Orchestra is based. During the winter tour in January, Beethoven's 5th symphony was performed, followed by his 3rd symphony in April (cancelled due to Covid 19); our musical year should finally culminate in the summer with the world-famous 9th symphony, in collaboration with the World Youth Choir and renowned soloists (also cancelled due to Covid 19).
These extensive projects were made possible by the Beethoven Jubilee Society BTHVN2020 (and other partners) and are a collaboration of the National Youth Orchestra with the Dirigentenforum and the Funding Projects for Contemporary Music of the German Music Council.

Beethoven I - Political

in January 2020

In which context does an anniversary for Beethoven 2020 stand? Is homage paid to the untouchable work of art and its master on the high pedestal or does Beethoven have more to offer than sophisticated entertainment for educated citizens? Is it permissible to question the work and the artist, and is his art still relevant and critical after almost 250 years? All these questions are incorporated into the programme. Two important, political works by Beethoven were combined with "Tenebrae" (1966/67) by Klaus Huber, a representative of so-called "critical composing" (for which he received the Beethoven Prize of the City of Bonn in 1970) and with a commissioned composition ("Rush") by the Cologne composer Sergej Maingardt, who regards music as his art form to reflect rapid global change. The conductor of the first work phase in 2020 was Lothar Zagrosek, who led the National Youth Orchestra for the third time after 1993 and 2014.

program and concerts

Ludwig van Beethoven - Fidelio-Ouvertüre E-Dur op. 72
Klaus Huber - Tenebrae for big orchestra (1966-67)
Sergej Maingardt - "Rush" for big orchestra, amplified Ensemble und Electronic (comissioned piece)
Ludwig van Beethoven - Sinfonie Nr. 5 c-moll op. 67

12. Jan    Bonn, Aula der Universität
13. Jan    Köln, WDR-Aufnahme
14. Jan    Koblenz, SchoolSession im Eichendorff-Gymnasium
16. Jan    Aschaffenburg, Stadthalle am Schloss
17. Jan    Lörrach, Kultur- und Veranstaltungszentrum Burghof
18. Jan    Verona (IT), Teatro Ristori
19. Jan    Udine (IT), Teatro Nuovo Giovanni
20. Jan    Udine (IT), School Session und Maribor (SLO), Narodni Dom


Lothar Zagrosek
David Bui, Valentin Egel, Aruytun Muradyan (assistance of Dirigentenforum)

Tal Botvinik (guitar)
Krisztián Palágyi (accordion)

National Youth Orchestra of Germany

Beethoven II - Deafness

in April 2020 (canceled due to corona pandemic)

This work phase focuses on Beethoven's deafness. This tragic stroke of fate, the loss of his hearing, did not stop the passionate composer from making music and composing. Deaf and hearing-impaired people can also perceive music via visual and tactile stimuli. This is how the National Youth Orchestra was supposed to work and make music within the Easter tour with students of the Education and Counselling Centre for the Hearing-Impaired Stegen. One focal point was the 3rd Symphony, which Beethoven composed at a time when his hearing loss was already far advanced. The collaboration with deaf musicians illustrates the impressive circumstances of the work's creation and should enable the audience to hear Beethoven's 3rd Symphony from a completely new perspective. In this project, it was important to us that an exchange takes place about how differently music can be heard, perceived and lived. Mark Barden experimented together with the students and their music teacher, Christine Löbbert, from Stegen and, with his composition "the weight of ash", created a work that would present us with the literally unheard. Christoph Altstaedt is not only the founder of the "Young Sound Forum of Central Europe" and involved in the work of young musicians, but also conducts numerous professional symphony orchestras such as the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony.

program and concerts

Brett Dean - Testament. Music for Orchestra (2008)
Mark Barden - "the weight of ash" (comissioned piece)
Ludwig van Beethoven - Sinfonie Nr. 3 op.55  „Eroica“

in Baden-Baden:
Joseph Haydn - Oboenkonzert C-Dur
Ludwig van Beethoven - Sinfonie Nr. 5 c-moll op. 67

13. Apr    Baden-Baden, Bénazetsaal im Kurhaus
14. Apr    Osnabrück, OsnabrückHalle
15. Apr    Köln, WDR-Aufnahme
17. Apr    Köln, Philharmonie
20. Apr    Berlin, Philharmonie
21. Apr    München, Gasteig Carl-Orff-Saal


Christoph Altstaedt
Kirill Petrenko (only Baden-Baden)

Adrian Pereyra (electric guitar)
in Baden-Baden: Alrecht Mayer (oboe)

National Youth Orchestra of Grmany
Students of "Bildungs- und Beratunsgzentrum" in Stegen (hearing loss)
Christine Löbbert (music teacher of the students)

Beethoven III - The Ninth

in August 2020 (canceled due to corona pandemic)

The Summer Tour 2020 featuring visionary masterpieces was to take the National Youth Orchestra to the climax of the BTHVN2020 year. With the World Youth Choir as a partner, the tour was to go through Germany, Amsterdam, Italy, Austria and Russia. Highlights would have included guest performances in Amsterdam at the BankGiroLoterij Zomerconcerten and the final concert in Moscow. The third Beethoven project is dedicated to international exchange and understanding, in the spirit of Beethoven's 9th Symphony and in keeping with the collaboration of the World Youth Choir, whose singers come from 42 different countries. Such collaboration between interpreters from different countries and continents promotes understanding and exchange, which is also reflected in the symbolism of the symphony: Schiller's "Ode to Joy" as the goal and finale of the Ninth. The conductors in the summer would have been Tan Dun and Jörn Hinnerk Andresen. Tan Dun's commissioned composition "Choral Concerto: Nine" provides music for the "Jiu Ge" (Nine Chants), which were written by China's first historically traceable poet figure Qu Yuan.

program and concerts

Tan Dun - Choral Concerto: Nine (comissioned piece)
Ludwig van Beethoven - Sinfonie Nr. 9

08. Aug    Bonn, Maritim Hotel
09. Aug    Berlin, Konzerthaus (Young Euro Classic)
10. Aug    Einbeck, PS. Speicher, Halle
11. Aug    Lübeck, Musik- und Kongresshalle
13. Aug    Amsterdam (NL), Concertgebouw
14. Aug    Wiesbaden, Kurhaus
15. Aug    Weikersheim, TauberPhilharmonie
16. Aug    Kassel, Kongress Palais Stadthalle
18. Aug    Sterzing/Vipiteno (I), Pfarrkirche
19. Aug    Wien (A), Votiv Kirche
20. Aug    Moskau (RUS), Tchaikovsky Concert Hall


Tan Dun (Bonn, Berlin, Lübeck, Amsterdam)
Jörn Hinnerk Andresen

Iris Hendrickx (soprano)
Jo-Pei Weng (alto)
Xavier Moreno (tenor)
Johannes Schendel (basso)

National Youth Orchestra of Germany
World Youth Choir

Beethoven IV - Campus project of the Beethovenfest

in September 2020 (canceled due to corona pandemic)

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the campus in 2020, a special, extended campus was planned, which would give the participants the opportunity to train and sharpen their musical understanding and ear on very different levels through the study of important composers. At the same time, the project saw itself as an ideal complement and continuation of the third project phase of the Beethoven Crescendo. Campus 2020 was to pick up this thread and place Beethoven, as the great German innovator of 19th century music, alongside a kindred spirit of the 20th century: Karlheinz Stockhausen. While Beethoven was considered an innovator and pioneer in the 19th century, especially in his later works, Karlheinz Stockhausen can be regarded as a musical pioneer of the 20th century. Both composers were visionaries of their time, crossing genre boundaries, breaking the prevailing rules of art music and sometimes causing offence with their structural and harmonic concepts.


program and concerts

György Kurtág - … quasi una fantasia … op. 27/1
Zeynep Gedizlioğlu - comissioned piece and world premiere
Karlheinz Stockhausen - Gruppen für Orchester

05. Sep   Köln, Staatenhaus (5 pm und 8:30 pm)
06. Sep   Köln, Staatenhaus (11 am)


Johannes Kalitzke
Manuel Nawri and Oscar Jockel

National Youth Orchestra of Germany
together with young musicians from international partner orchestras (South Africa, Mexico, Canada, Macau, Malaysia, Ukraine)

The "Beethoven Crescendo"of the German Music Councilwith the institutions National Youth Orchestra, Dirigentenforum and Funding Projects for Contemporary Music. In cooperation with the Beethovenfest Bonn and Deutsche Welle.

Berlin Philharmoniker Bundesministerium Wdr3 Daimler DOV GVL Freude.