President Frank-Walter Steinmeier Opens Historic Joint Concert in Boston Symphony Hall

November 1, 2019

On October 31, the final day of German American Heritage Month, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier attended a historic joint concert featuring Leipzig’s renowned Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the first of its kind featuring two world-class orchestras on a single stage. The event marked the official end of the Year of German-American friendship with a night filled with music by Heiden, Strauss, and Schönberg. It is one of several closing events celebrating the conclusion of the Wunderbar Together campaign.

Steinmeier, who is the patron of the Wunderbar Together campaign, opened the concert with remarks detailing the importance of German-American cooperation, not just in music, but also in politics. With the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall approaching this November, Steinmeier reflected on the impact that American friendship and assistance had during this tumultuous time in German history.

“German unification would not have been possible without the support and without the friendship of the American people, so, dear friends, we have not forgotten,” he told the audience. “I’m here to say ‘Thank you, America.’”

Steinmeier went on to stress that German-American friendship should not remain a thing of the past and that, much like the two orchestras performing that night, Germany and the US are also “Wunderbar Together” in other ways. Even today, he said, “if we want to prosper as democracies, we will need each other, also in the future, to learn from one another, and to support each other.”

The strong partnership between the Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra is symbolic of the potential of German-American cooperation. Not only is this the first-ever joint performance between two orchestras of this stature; it is also the first time that two such orchestras have shared a conductor, Andris Nelsons. Under Nelsons’ leadership, the GHO and BSO have built an alliance based on exchange and mutual learning that includes specially commissioned works, musician exchanges, and development opportunities for members of the orchestras and their academies.

This joint concert took place during Leipzig Week in Boston and was the first of three joint concerts in Boston Symphony Hall celebrating German-American friendship. In addition to these concerts, the Gewandhausorchester also performed two solo concerts commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

Read more about the partnership between the Gewandhausorchester and the Boston Symphony Orchestra here.

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