Bonn’s Beethoven shame: Now Wagner walks out

We revealed yesterday that the city of Bonn would not have its concert hall ready for the 2020 Beethoven year.

Today, we hear that Nike Wagner will step down as director directly after next year’s Beethovenfest.

Like many others (including the federal Government), she’s had enough of Bonn.


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  • One of the Festival’s problems seems to be their programming of contemporary music: only the type which offers an experience totally contradictory to what LvB tried to say, was inflicted upon its audience. Which is like having a black mass at the Vatican.

  • She is now 74 years old, her contract will end in 2020. She is not walking out, she just doesn’t renew her contract. But of course, saying this wouldn’t make for a tabloid headline.

  • This came to me from a retired German diplomat in Bonn:

    Nike Wagner was just asked in an interview about her decision not to renew her contract with Bonn’s Beethoven Festival. Her answer was that the public in Bonn liked things to be cushy-homey, old-fashioned, romantic and nice when attending a classical concert. People in Bonn wanted big names, stars and mainstream programmes. There was no interest in opening their minds to the future. As nice as people in the Rhineland were in general, Bonn too had to finally arrive in the 21st century. A comment in the press today pointed out that since Nike Wagner was installed as Intendantin of the Festival in 2014 Beethoven’s ninth has never once been performed. So I don’t see much ground for Lebrecht to decry Bonn’s shame.

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