Beethoven Pastoral Project To Unite World With Classical Music For Climate Action

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On World Environment Day this year (June 5), the Beethoven Jubiläums GmbH and the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat will launch the Beethoven Pastoral Project, an initiative to unite the world with the famous composer’s Symphony No. 6 to inspire climate action. There will be a moderated livestream held on the day, along with creative projects all centred on the topic of culture and sustainability.  

The Beethoven Pastoral Project will be held on June 5, World Environment Day, and also coincides with Beethoven’s 250th birthday this year. To commemorate both events, the campaign will see over 250 artists and ensembles from 6 continents present statements, projects and participate in a livestream that will focus on the subject of culture and sustainability.

Among some of the guests to contribute to the initiative include the United Nations secretary-general António Guterres and German federal commissioner for culture and media Monika Grütters. Other prominent speakers slated to be interviewed online include the secretary-general of the UNFCCC Patricia Espinosa, president of Beethoven-Haus and star violinist Daniel Hope and Dirk Kaftan, the general music director of Bonn. 

Commenting on the upcoming occasion, Guterres said: “Delivering a better, more sustainable and climate-secure world for billions of people will require creativity at all levels of society.” 

“The Beethoven Pastoral Project, an initiative of artists and activists, will use the power of music and an iconic global genius to mobilize leaders and public alike.”The livestream, which will take participants on a journey of musical recordings and feature the premiere of the Deutsche Welle-produced documentary The Sound of Nature, aims to unite the entire world through classical music and creativity to mobilise greater climate awareness, protection and action

“We did not want the Beethoven anniversary to be only about beautiful 19th century music.  We wanted it to also be relevant to the challenges of the 21st century, including the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and wider environmental degradation,” said the organisers. 

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 was chosen especially for the environmental-musical celebration, because it is a piece that expressed his love for nature and symbolises his call to protect it.

In addition to the multiple online events taking place on June 5, the organisers of the programme will be announcing a global Open Petition launched by renowned artists all over the world to call for climate solidarity, which will be presented to the United Nations. 

Beethoven Pastoral Project was originally set to take place in an in-person event with live performances, discussions and events, but with health and safety concerns top of mind due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the event adapted to an online format and will be broadcasted on the internet from the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, which is Beethoven’s birthplace.  


Lead image courtesy of Beethoven Museum Wien.


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