Opening and welcome address by Ingrid Bodsch, Project Director of the Schumann Network

Ingrid Bodsch, Begrüßung und Eröffnung (© Rolf Obrecht)

It is a great pleasure to welcome the Lord Mayor; Municipal Councillor Ms Coché; Deputy Mayor Mr Schumacher; my distinguished friends and colleagues of the Schumann Network of Bonn and other Schumann cities - notably Mr Hill of the Municipal Music Society of Düsseldorf, Dr Dahmen of the Robert Schumann House in Zwickau, Chief Musical Director Mr Merz, Member of the Governing Board of the Robert Schumann Society of Zwickau which is presenting an historic Schumann gala performance in Zwickau today at the same time, which is why the Chairman of that Society and nestor of Schumann research, Dr Nauhaus, is unfortunately prevented from being with us today, Dr Koch of the Schumann Research Centre and the publishing house of the complete Schumann edition in Düsseldorf, Mr von Jasienicki as the envoy of the Robert Schumann Society of Frankfurt, Ms Reinhold of the Schumann House in Bonn and Ms Kleefoot as a Member of the Governing Board of the Schumann House Association of Bonn; highly esteemed patrons of the Schumann Network, Schumann Forum and Schumann Journal; I further extend a particularly warm welcome to Mr Begri, long-time Head of Division for Music and Stage Dance with the German Federal Commissioner for Cultural and Media Affairs; Ms Rehwald who has kept ensuring the dedicated care and commitment of Mr Eifler, Mr Begri’s successor, to the active support of myself and our purposes; Dr Jost of publishing house Henle in Munich, which has been ever-present for so many Schumann urtext editions and which, in the person of its Managing Director, Dr Seiffert,  kindly subrogated to us in a straightforward manner and without charge the rights to the term of “Schumann-Forum”, under which designation the publishing house had operated its own Schumann website during the Schumann anniversary year in 2010, including many interviews with artists; dear ladies and gentlemen! Please allow me to also include in this address, in particular, the  performers of this evening: Mizuka Kano, the young Japanese pianist and prize winner of the International Schumann Competition 2008 in Zwickau; Christian Gerhaher, the great singer who has enthused and moved me for so many years; and Christoph Vratz, his interlocutor of this evening, the music journalist from Cologne, well-known from numerous classical broadcasts and music journals, who, amongst other things, undertook last year an extensive review of the discographic recordings of Schumann’s Dichterliebe [A Poet’s Love] in which he concluded his listening impressions with a homage to the incomparable interpretation of Christian Gerhaher.

This evening’s conversation with Christian Gerhaher will focus on his love of Schumann because, without anticipating our elaborate presentation of the Schumann Forum and the Schumann Journal as the new offsprings of our Schumann Network that has been working so successfully since 2005, the new Schumann forum is meant above all to win its international standing as a Board of Artists, as a non-material network of great artists who experience a close affinity for Schumann and his music. And who would be more suited to launch the Schumann forum than Christian Gerhaher, the first official member of the forum, who, in his capacity as an avowed Schumann lover on the world’s stages, has anyway been a Schumann ambassador in an idealised form for a long time already? The fact that he assured me at once during our first personal meeting as far back as 2007 that he would avow himself to Schumann even in an official function at any time, whenever we would establish our Schumann Forum, became a decisive impulse to pursue this idea further and this is one more reason that I would like to thank Mr Gerhaher for with all my heart.

I am delighted that Lord Mayor Nimptsch as Head of the Town of Bonn also expressed in his welcome address his particular esteem for the preservation of the Schumann tradition in Bonn which, it is true, in terms of genealogy and birthplace, indeed rejoices above all in having witnessed the birth of a famous son – Beethoven – , but which has also been home, place of residence and of activity of other great artists and outstanding personalities of whom Robert Schumann has certainly to be named in the first place, as he, together with his wife Clara, found his last resting place in a grave of honour in Bonn, and whose last abode is now named after him and is accessible to the general public as a music library. And let us not forget that Bonn has contributed proportionately to the Schumann Network since 2005 and thus also to the connection of the project direction with the City Museum of Bonn. For this also I express my sincerest thanks to the Lord Mayor, to which I would like to add a final word of thanks to the Friends’ Association of the City Museum of Bonn which is represented today by its Chairman, Professor Knopp. The wine to which all of you are cordially invited in the Senate Hall after the performance is a donation of the Friends’ Association.

8. Oktober 2011