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Connecting European cultures through Beethoven‘s 9th Symphony

The borders are open - be it between countries or genres, between languages or instruments, or between individual characteristics and commonalities. Inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven's 9th Symphony, the "European Symphony", Stegreif combines folk songs from around Europe with elements of Beethoven's monumental work. This symphony, sung directly from the hearts of the people, unites the continent into a single colourful country. With this concert project, the improvising orchestra has once again taken up the task of opening up new approaches to classical music for the audience, creating a performance that is interwoven with various "folk musics" from the musicians' countries of origin. Through playing by memory and performing without a conductor and without fixed seating, the young musicians enjoy both a sense of freedom and space to improvise.

Bietigheimer Zeitung, 04.10.2021

»Highly witty and original, [...] a whole new take on Beethoven's genius opus.«

#bfree was created as part of the #beethoven project as a contribution to the Beethoven Year 2020. #bfree came of age during the pandemic became a different production than originally planned. Not only the process, but also the result were shaped by the crisis: Where Stegreif usually seeks closeness and motion, there were social distancing and other constraints. The possibilities for movement on stage were limited, direct contact with the audience impossible. And yet it has become a work about freedom, about longing for intimacy and togetherness, about flightacross all borders.

Fotos: Navina Neuschl


Artistic director
Juri de Marco

Musical leader
Sebastian Caspar

Uri Caine, Juri de Marco, Alistair Duncan, Bertram Burkert

Directing, Choreography
David Fernández

Lighting design
Andreas Harder

Costume design
Sophie Schliemann

#bfree Teaser | YouTube-Kanal von Stegreif, 1.11.2020

»Such young people with such amazing talent – it gives hope for the future; it inspires the audience. This outpouring of irrepressible musicianship was like a cri de coeur before it is forcefully silenced. The audience is left animated.«


A cooperative project between Stegreif and PODIUM Esslingen as part of #beethoven - funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation and the State of Baden-Württemberg as well as by the Karl Schlecht Foundation.