Dear music lovers and concertgoers,
at the close of the Ruhr Area’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2010, the Circle of Ruhr Initiatives made the groundbreaking decision to ensure the perennity of its cultural model project, the Ruhr Piano Festival, by transforming it into a foundation. Six years down the line, the Ruhr Piano Festival can report that it is in very good health. Thanks to the welcome contributions of many new supporters, the Festival has now been able to ensure its long-term survival as a cultural flagship whose beacon shines far beyond the borders of the Ruhr Region. In my role as manager, and likewise as a proud citizen of the Ruhr Area, I am convinced that we truly need such distinctive signboards and success stories to promote our region’s vibrancy and productivity. The Ruhr Piano Festival faithfully reflects the founding idea through which the Ruhr Circle of Initiatives came into being. For that reason, as well, the Executive Committee of the Evonik Corporation has decided to celebrate our firm’s 10th anniversary by committing ourselves as the Ruhr Piano Festival’s Main Sponsor for 2017. I also have the personal satisfaction of being able to accompany the Festival through the entire year as its Patron.
Thus, in this role, I wish to congratulate Festival Director Franz Xaver Ohnesorg and his team: not only for having conceived a brilliant programme for the Festival’s 2017 edition, but also for having received the ECHO Klassik Prize as a further recognition of its educational activities. The distinction is well-earned: for over ten years, the Festival has been making a long-term, exemplary contribution to the good of society with its Education Program in urban areas of the Ruhr Region. This holds particularly true for its inclusive projects in the Marxloh neighborhood of Duisburg, and for the KlavierGarten workshops that are on offer in the towns of Bottrop, Dorsten and Gladbeck: areas in which children and teenagers stemming from immigrant and refugee families need to become better integrated in kindergartens and schools. In so doing, the Ruhr Piano Festival is inspired by the fact that music has the capability – almost more any other medium – to open minds and awaken mutual understanding among people of different backgrounds. Art and culture bring people together: that is an idea to which we, at Evonik, are particularly committed.
I wish to thank each and every one of you who have made this piano event possible: the largest and most important one of its kind anywhere in the world. I extend my heartfelt thanks to all the enterprises who are members of the Ruhr Circle of Initiatives, to the Festival’s sponsors and supporters, to its donators, its partner foundations and, last not least, to the Association of Friends and Promoters of the Ruhr Piano Festival. Naturally I’m also looking forward to hearing our talented Ruhr Piano Festival artists live on stage: it is they who turn each musical evening into a unique experience. Evonik was already thrilled to present Lang Lang’s impressive concert in Duisburg last October. Now, along with you, dear concertgoers and guests, I am looking forward to experiencing a first-rate Ruhr Piano Festival in 2017. To all who participate, I wish much success, and all energy you may require to embark on new endeavors!