Dear music friends and concert lovers,
“Music makes connections”: that would be one way of updating the old German saying “Musik verbindet”. The Ruhr Piano Festival is applying that insight in many ways. From Düsseldorf in the west to Hamm in the east, from Münster in the north to Wuppertal in the south: the 21 venues where you can attend a multitude of concerts this year extend far beyond the borders of what we call the “Ruhr Region”. Connecting cities and people: that is our vocation, and we are thus thrilled that the Deutsche Bahn AG has taken up the role of Main Sponsor for this year’s Ruhr Piano Festival. And I also personally consider it a great honor to be able to accompany the Festival through its Jubilee Year in the role of Patron.
The Ruhr Piano Festival not only makes connections: it beams culture like a beacon far and wide. Far beyond the borders of the federated state of North-Rhine-Westphalia, the Festival distinctively and durably promotes the image of a region that has attained a level of cultural appeal and general high quality of life that is now on a par with the more renowned German metropolises.
Thirty years ago – in early 1988, in the midst of the coal and steel industrial crisis – the Circle of Ruhr Initiatives was born, initially hidden from the public eye. The pronounced goal of its founders was to accompany the required structural transformation of the Ruhr Area by placing an emphasis on culture. That was the point when Alfred Herrhausen, Rudolph von Bennigsen-Foerder and Adolf Schmidt decided to convert the Bochum Piano Summer into the Ruhr Piano Festival. Ever since then, as the Circle of Ruhr Initiatives’ cultural flagship, this cultural event has continually been able to raise its level of quality over a period of thirty years thanks to ongoing support from member enterprises of the Circle of Ruhr Initiatives and a great number of private donors – particularly after the groundbreaking decision in 2010 (when the Ruhr Area was European Capital of Culture) to create a foundation to assume the administration and financing of the Festival.
The Ruhr Piano Festival has also been showing strong commitment in favor of our region’s social future with its Education Program, which has received a number of prizes, and which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018. Particularly in neighborhoods where peaceful coexistence is fragile, the Festival is sending a strong, encouraging signal with its musical projects in schools. In Duisburg-Marxloh and other boroughs where the integration of a great number of children and teenagers from immigrant families poses many challenges to schools and teachers alike, the Festival is nevertheless proving, again and again, that music can truly bring people together.
Thus I extend my most heartfelt thanks to all who have made the Ruhr Piano Festival’s success possible over the last thirty years with their financial support and organizational commitment: the Circle of Ruhr Initiatives, all corporate sponsors and private donors, all partner foundations and project promotors, and all members of the Association of Friends and Promotors of the Ruhr Piano Festival. I extend particular thanks to Professor Franz Xaver Ohnesorg and his team for their unwavering dedication, and to our international roster of artists who go on responding to our Festival Director’s invitation to offer you, our enthusiastic audience, a great number of unforgettable musical experiences.
We are all looking forward to your visit!
Personal Member of the Ruhr Circle of Initiatives
Parton of the 2018 Ruhr Piano Festival