"Classical music has to be brought to life"

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The International Telekom Beethoven Competition will take place for the fifth time this year. 24 young pianists from eleven countries will showcase their skills. CFO Timotheus Höttges explains why Telekom and music are in perfect harmony.

The fifth International Telekom Beethoven Competition awaits us. Why is Deutsche Telekom so committed to music, and classical music at that?

Timotheus Höttges: Telekom and music are a perfect match. Music connects people, across every continent and throughout every culture. Just like modern telecommunications do. We want to cover every aspect of music. The Street Gigs are a great success, sometimes attracting audiences of more than 40,000. Or we show our commitment at the Beethovenfest – last year we brought rapper Samy Deluxe together with school students from Bonn. We also offer products related to music, such as the Spotify service, and we are committed to Electronic Beats. The Beethoven Competition is the perfect addition to this – and I don't mind telling you that I listen to a lot of classical music myself. That's why I'm proud that the competition is taking place for the fifth time.

The competition involves 24 young pianists from eleven countries and takes place in four rounds over nine days; why is it that you find the Beethoven Competition so appealing?

Timotheus Höttges: The best talents from all over the world await us – from Australia to the USA. We're not talking about a few hobby pianists, though I'm one of them myself. Lots of us can play the piano reasonably well. But these young people are in a different class. You could say this is the Champions League of music. It's fascinating to experience the sense of confidence exuded by these up-and-coming artistes, despite their young age. It's always exciting to watch them submerge themselves in the music, forget everything around them and not just "get through" the pieces, but bring them to life. Each individual takes us on a completely new journey.

But is that not just something for quite a small, select audience? Is all the effort it entails really worth it?

Timotheus Höttges: Of course it is worth the effort. Our company is headquartered in Bonn and we feel very much part of the city. So we like to give something back. We can also make use of many of our resources here. And as far as the small audience is concerned, classical music is much more popular than we think – not just among older people. Around a quarter of under-thirties listen to classical music at least once a week. But classical music has to be brought to life and it lives through its performers – like David Garrett on the violin or Lang Lang at the piano. Classical concerts are also major events. The Beethoven Competition is just such an event, for people of all ages. It is also very fitting that it is held in Bonn, Beethoven's birthplace.