High-brow, international culture is on the program of the prestigious Ruhrfestspiele every year. Actors from Hamburg and miners from Recklinghausen initiated the theater festival in 1946: In the years after the war, the miners supplied coal to the actors from Hamburg, who repaid the favor with their art.
Art for coal—a swap that marked the beginning of the Ruhrfestspiele. This founding idea evolved into a quality European festival within almost seven decades. Artists from all around the world make guest appearances in the Ruhr region every May and June.
The Ruhr metropolitan area is on the way to becoming a technological, economic, and cultural powerhouse at the heart of Europe. Over the past 150 years, people in this region have principally defined themselves through their productivity and as a community of mutual solidarity that has always succeeded in integrating people of different backgrounds in their midst.
In addition to the economic strength it gets from industry and SMEs, the Ruhr region also needs cultural beacons like the Ruhrfestspiele. The festival serves to draw attention to and promote this region among Germany’s European neighbors. Evonik Industries has been a sponsor of the theater festival for many years.
This year, artistic director Frank Hoffmann and his team have created the banner "Inselreiche. Land in Sicht – Entdeckungen" (Island realms. Land in sight—discoveries) for the festival. Even in its 68th season, audiences again expect a varied program—this time with stellar actors such as Charlotte Rampling ("The Night Dances"), Isabelle Huppert ("The False Secrets"), Ulrich Matthes, Hannelore Elsner, Katja Riemann (in readings), and Joachim Król ("Scenes from a Marriage").
THE CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL IN THE JEWISH MUSEUM BERLIN "INTONATIONS"
Back in 1998, the pianist Elena Bashkirova set up the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, now one of Israel’s premier cultural events. This festival, which brings together musicians from different countries and of different religions, is a symbol of integration and sets an example for tolerance and understanding between the different cultures.
Since 2012, the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival has been hosted by the Jewish Museum Berlin under the name "intonations". Together with international soloists and outstanding musicians from orchestras such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic, young talented performers and exceptional musicians play at five or six recitals.
Evonik has sponsored the chamber music festival since it first came to Berlin. "Creativity thrives on tensions and contradictions. It is the very ability to link things to other things in different ways time and again that brings new things into the world," said Dr. Klaus Engel, Chairman of the Executive Board of Evonik. What applies to Evonik as a creative industrial group also applies to "intonations". For this reason, every year a place on the festival program is kept for a young composer to premier a composition. And, in addition to familiar 19th and 20th century works as well as contemporary compositions, the program frequently features rediscoveries of unjustly forgotten musicians.
This year, a varied program has once again been put together for audiences with two areas of focus: First, the festival will trace the effects of World War I on 20th century music, and, second, it will be dedicated to the work of Richard Strauss, who was born 150 years ago this year.