Demonstration of Urgency

Professor Reinhold Würth presented the Würth Prize of Jeunesses Musicales Germany to Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Berlin.

Künzelsau/Berlin. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is said to be the best orchestra of the world. It came into being 122 years ago. The best-trained, most-renowned and best-paid musicians play in the orchestra. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is described by the "Focus" magazine as "a brilliant orchestra" and "a musical superpower".

Two years ago, the orchestra got a new director: Sir Simon Rattle. The audience loves the new maestro. Some people say that they have become the best again. Since he assumed office the Brit has carried out a change of generation among the musicians. Under Sir Simon Rattle the ensemble has become younger and more international. So, young people mean a lot to him. On his initiative the education program of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra was called into being with the aim to make the work of the orchestra and its music accessible to a wide audience. The enthusiasm of people of all age groups, of different social and cultural backgrounds and talents is supposed to be stirred up to actively and creatively deal with music.

Last Saturday, 11 September, 2004, Sir Simon Rattle gratefully accepted, at a festive ceremony at the Philharmonic Orchestra House, this year's Würth Prize of Jeunesses Musicales Germany (JMD) in recognition of the education program "Zukunft@BPhil" of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The sponsor Professor Reinhold Würth, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Würth Group, presented the award that includes prize money of 10,000 euro with the words: "I admire you. Your commitment to building up a future together with young people has virtually electrified me".

"Zukunft@BPhil" is based on different projects that are all included in the current program of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. With the help of this program the musicians have been offering another visible example of attractive concepts since the 2002/2003 season, which makes the access to concert halls possible in a modern and creative way, particularly for children and young people.

"Such valuable initiatives are nothing less than future visions for our music culture", stated Hans-Herwig Geyer, Chairman of Jeunesses Musicales Germany about the awarding of the prize. Geyer thanked the sponsor Professor Reinhold Würth who, as he said, had already manifested his entrepreneurial responsibility at a time when terms like corporate behavior and corporate citizenship did not belong to the standards of German corporate culture yet.

The awarded project "sets a shining counterpoint against the neglect of the musical education of our children and young people", acknowledged Norbert Lammert, Vice President of the German Bundestag, the exemplary commitment of the German top orchestra in his eulogy.

However, Mr. Lammert criticized that too little is talked about the musical education in Germany with its 130 professional orchestras, 150 public museums, 37 festival theatres and 1,000 public music schools. This was, however, only one side of the coin. The other side showed a creeping erosion of cultural education in Germany with disastrous consequences, which obviously nobody wants to perceive. Even if one does not share the enthusiasm for classical music, says Lammert, the cultural education is as important as any other discipline. The education program "Zukunft@Bphil" shows that it is possible. The Vice President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert therefore thanked also the sponsor of the prize, Professor Reinhold Würth, for his commitment as citizen and for this "demonstration of urgency".

In his words of thanks Sir Simon Rattle said: "For our team the award was a wonderful thing". But the most important thing was the strong belief in the future of our young people.

Since 1991, Jeunesses Musicales Germany has been awarding personalities, ensembles and projects of music life that have exemplarily been implementing the targets JMD is working for, in connection with the Würth Foundation founded by Reinhold and Carmen Würth. The prize has, among others, been awarded to famous personalities and ensembles like Dennis Russel Davies (1991), Yakov Kreizberg (1996), the Young German Philharmonic Orchestra (1997) of Claudio Abbado (2001). The presentation of the prize to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra stands in connection with the JMD initiative "Concerts for Children" that has been giving effective impulses to the world of music since the year 2000.

The following final rehearsal of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the Big Hall, which could be attended by the guests of the presentation, turned out to be an impressive first-rate demonstration.