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59 EBU classical channels in Europe and beyond promote peace with broadcast of Beethoven's 9th Symphony

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On 10 March 2022, 59 EBU classical channels in Europe and beyond gave powerful and meaningful airtime to promote peace as a testament to the human spirit. They came together to broadcast part or all of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Inspired by an initiative from Radio Romania, an EBU Member, this transmission was heard in 33 countries at various moments of the day, in many different versions of the same work with musicians chosen specifically by each broadcaster for that special day.

The project initiator, Cristina Comandasu, Editor-in-Chief, Radio România Muzical, said the following: “In difficult times, we need to remember the symbols of the best of what we are and what we stand for. And what better symbol than one of the masterpieces of the human creative mind, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, with its connection to the notions of brotherhood and peace? For the last 50 years, it has been an anthem for the European Union, which seeks to uphold the value of each human life, whoever that person may be. Whether you listen to the entire symphony or only its last movement, it will bind you to the values that underpin the society we live in and which some are dying to defend.”

Furthermore, philharmonic orchestras from Bucharest, Ploiesti, Brasov, Sibiu, Oradea, Cluj and the National Opera in Bucharest have joined the project at the invitation of Radio România, performing the European anthem at the start of their concerts, also on 10 March.

On the same date, the European anthem was also heard throughout the entire Romanian territory, not just in concert halls or on the radio, but in unconventional spaces like supermarkets, malls, libraries, offices, all as part of Radio România Muzical's project "Listen to 5 minutes of classical music".

Jean Philip De Tender, Deputy Director General and Media Director, EBU, said, “Through this joint broadcast initiative from Radio Romania, together with a great number of classical channels, EBU radio organizations prove once more the power music has when it comes to bringing comfort, compassion and support. Building a multitude of bridges between human beings, radio listeners and musicians from around the world, remains at the heart of our public service values."

In support of the Ode to Peace project, DKU have kindly offered a performance of the anthem from December 2018, with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. As an artist personally moved by this war, DKU recorded a statement with Jurowski on 4 March 2022 to provide some context on the meaning of Friedrich Schiller’s pertinent words within Beethoven’s setting. He highlights how they have evolved throughout history and are still – almost two centuries on – able to unite in times of difficulty. The concert and speech (in both German and English) can be found under the reference SM/2022/03/13/01.