The pianist Alexey Botvinov founded the Odessa Classics Festival in his hometown of Odessa, which is taking place for the eighth time this year - but not in the place that gives it its evocative name.

Because of the war, the festival has found asylum in Thessaloniki.

Greek Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni called the assumption of the costs by the Greek state to her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksandr Tkachenko a gesture of gratitude for the fact that Odessa was the center of the Greek intelligentsia during the Greek struggle for independence.

Two hundred years later, that hospitality is returned while Ukraine fights for its independence and the freedom of European nations.

The concert week at the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki from 9th to 13th

Patrick Bahners

Feuilleton correspondent in Cologne and responsible for "Humanities".

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After the Greek stop, the festival's journey continues, and the Beethoven House in Bonn will take on the role of host.

Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth has made herself available as "patron lady" for a series of concerts taking place every Tuesday from July 5 to August 23 in the chamber music hall next to Beethoven's birthplace.

Botvinov and Malte Boecker, director of the Beethoven-Haus, presented the program in Bonn on Monday.

Botvinov will find accommodation with his family in an apartment opposite the house where he was born.

Other apartments in this building, which the Beethoven-Haus usually rents to guests from the university, are also being given to refugees, including an assistant director recommended by the conductor Oksana Lyniv and two musicologists.

Botvinov knows the Chamber Music Hall,

Elegiac from the land of the enemy

The director of Odessa Classics will appear in each of the seven Bonn concerts, alongside colleagues such as Thomas Hampson and Pinchas Zukerman.

In the opening concert, Botvinov and Hope, who has been President of the Beethoven-Haus since 2020, will premiere Valentin Silvestrov's "Pastorales 2020" for the belated premiere, a composition commissioned by the celebrations of Beethoven's two hundred and fiftieth birthday.

The composer, who was born in Kyiv in 1937, was the guest of honor at Bellevue Palace on March 27, when Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier invited to a "Concert for Freedom and Peace".

Sergej Rachmaninoff is on the program on two Bonn Odessa evenings: the “elegiac” Piano Trio op. 9 and in a concert with the brothers Oleksandr and Roman Fediurko, pianists who are only eleven and sixteen years old, the Elegy op. 3 No .

1 and two preludes.

When asked whether the program would be the same if the festival could be held in Odessa, Botvinov answered in the affirmative.