1. GA-English
  2. News

Special honour for Beethoven Orchestra: United Nations designate Bonn musicians as Climate Ambassadors

Special honour for Beethoven Orchestra : United Nations designate Bonn musicians as Climate Ambassadors

This is the first time that the Bonn-based UN Climate Change Secretariat has designated Climate Ambassadors. One of the projects that General Music Director Dirk Kaftan wants to implement is a "Beethoven Forest".

When it comes to climate protection, Dirk Kaftan sets a good example: whenever possible, the General Music Director for the City of Bonn and the Beethoven Orchestra cycles from Drachenfelser Ländchen to work in Bonn. At least this is what it says in the press release about the celebratory event, which was held on Saturday evening at the Telekom headquarters in Bonn. The United Nations have appointed the Beethoven Orchestra as a “United Nations Climate Change Goodwill Ambassador”, or Climate Ambassador for short, for the Climate Change Secretariat based here.

Its Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa unveiled the certificate at the small ceremony, which was also recorded for MagentaTV as part of the series “Beethoven Pur”. The orchestra is the Climate Secretariat's first ambassador, she explained. “The orchestra's work is a testament to the power of music to break down barriers and build bridges between communities.” The musicians' commitment gives hope in the fight for climate and the environment, she said.

Now it is a matter of filling this title with substance, says Kaftan. He said that the orchestra does not yet have a concrete idea of how it will implement this new commitment as a climate ambassador. But the concept is already in place, based on three pillars. The first is to start with oneself, “to question certain things that affect our everyday life and our audience”. They will be accompanied by a large research project, he explained. In addition, the orchestra wants to intensively promote the use of public transport and cycling for and by concert goers, as well as the use of sustainable and fair-trade products.

The second pillar is the active support of specific projects: According to Kaftan, the orchestra wants to work with the Eben!Holz association to promote the reforestation of exotic woods in Madagascar and plant a “Beethoven forest.” “Because that's where the wood for our instruments is grown.” Fair working conditions and wages are also to be taken into account. Furthermore, the orchestra plans to organise a “charity cycle ride” in the style of a sponsored run, as well as an annual charity environmental gala on World Earth Day (5 June) and promote the “UN Act-now App” to musicians and the public. And last but not least, the third pillar is to strengthen the communication of content in the arts. To this end, they also want to work with major international artists. This is a lot of responsibility besides the normal concert business. The musicians are currently working reduced hours (under the Kurzarbeit scheme) and are recording symphonies for “Beethoven Pur” on MagentaTV, among other things.

Especially in the current situation, said Kaftan, “art and culture are what hold us together”. Mayor Katja Dörner praised the fact that the orchestra is now not only an ambassador for the city, but also for climate protection - a good sign for Bonn, which has been the location for sustainability for 25 years, namely since the opening of the UN Climate Change Secretariat. The Green politician pointed out that the city of Bonn should be climate neutral by 2035. This can only be achieved together, she said. “In my opinion, culture can and will make a great contribution to this.”

(Original text: Stefan Knopp, Translation: Caroline Kusch)