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2020 City of Culture

International Beethoven Project announces
“2020 City of Culture” Initiative

CHICAGO (December 16, 2014) —The International Beethoven Project (IBP), led by Founder, President and Artistic Director George Lepauw, released details today about its “2020 City of Culture” Initiative, inspired by Beethoven’s legacy as artist, promoter of universal brotherhood, and upcoming 250th anniversary in 2020, exactly six years from today. The Initiative is intended to bring cultural, educational, public and private sector organizations, together with individual citizens, artists, and community groups in a multi-disciplinary exploration of culture and its impact on social, economic, and civic engagement. The Initiative will culminate in a grand yearlong celebration of creativity throughout Chicagoland in 2020, co-designed by all organizations and individuals engaged in this deeply collaborative project, to showcase the best of what Chicago has to offer, and invite the world to take part.

“Since the founding of IBP in 2009, we knew we would organize something important and ambitious to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020, right here in Chicago”, said Lepauw. “But we did not want to replicate a typical Beethoven celebration. Instead, we wanted to honor his legacy and build upon it with a broad collaborative project that would engage the city throughout its neighborhoods, engage the world beyond, and connect to Chicago’s own great history of world fairs and bold architecture, its Burnham Plan of Chicago, its ongoing Cultural Plan, and its rich diversity. Celebrating Beethoven’s enduring spirit by bringing people of all backgrounds together to strengthen our bonds of universal brotherhood, epitomized by his Ode to Joy, and so deeply relevant today, is the most meaningful hommage we can pay to this universal genius. Creating a major cultural project in 2020 to showcase the talents and can-do attitudes of Chicagoans, and working toward a fully-engaged city, is a lofty ideal in line with Beethoven’s own. Together, we can build this grand project, make our city shine brighter, and learn important lessons.”

The 2020 City of Culture will be built in three broad phases. The first will focus on engaging partners, developing a task force and committees, setting in motion basic organizing principles, and connecting with neighborhood communities throughout Chicago. The second phase will focus on drawing up a specific plan of action and budget for 2020, and the third phase will be to implement it. Throughout, conversations will be ongoing, events will be organized, and momentum will be gathered. Updates will be sent to report progress and milestones on a regular basis.

Organizations and individuals interested in partnering and getting involved should send inquiries to

  1. Adele Friedman
    Adele Friedman02-01-2014

    Please add my email address to your email list.
    Thank you.

  2. Roxane Assaf
    Roxane Assaf09-02-2014

    As a festival producer myself with some experience having to cancel, I know how difficult it is to make that decision. I applaud the intention and motivation to keep it going by reaching out to the music-loving public in such a forthright way. Sometimes it is in losing what we love that we are reminded of its value. Wishing for the International Beethoven Project all the support in the world.

  3. Charlotte Royal
    Charlotte Royal09-04-2014

    I am inspired by the vision of the founder of the International Beethoven Project, George Lepauw. This is an enterprise worth promoting.
    I will do all I can to help this important endeavor. Charlotte Royal Wilmette IL.

  4. maureen riley
    maureen riley09-06-2014

    please add me to your mailing list

  5. Bente Lindberg Jorgensen
    Bente Lindberg Jorgensen11-17-2014

    Dear friend’s of Beethoven.
    I just recently went to a Beethoven concert at the Weaton College in Norton, Mass. Pianist,Victor Rosenbaum carried the whole concert to perfection. I had a chance to talk to him after the concert. I told him of my life works; a series of oilpaintings I have done over the years, depicting Beethoven’s Symphonies. He wanted very much to see them. I emailed him Photoes of the paintings along with note for each Symphony.He was very empressed. 5 of these paintings have already been showned at The Boston Symphony in the reception hall, while the concert of the same piece were being performed.
    I have not heard of these Beethoven event and was very impressed. I would like to participate with a donation and get other people interested and get involved as well.
    Bente Jorgensen

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