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25 years ago, Berlin was divided by a wall. Europe and the lives of its people are still filled with walls, but that is something we can change. Budapest Festival Orchestra is doing something to bring about this change, and for nine days in early September, you too can help by visiting Gozsdu Courtyard and sharing some of your thoughts. Members of the press are invited to witness the demolition of a symbolic wall and an extraordinary musical experience on 9 September. The pulling down of the wall is the overture to the Bridging Europe Arts Festival. The Festival is co-organised by the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Palace of Arts.

Taking a walk in Gozsdu Courtyard between 1 and 9 September promises to be a real treat: during these 9 days, anyone can share their thoughts on where they would like to see bridges take the place of walls dividing us. A replica of a section of the Berlin wall has been erected in the part of the passageway opening onto Király street for your messages, which will then be given an important role by the Budapest Festival Orchestra.

The initiative is designed to forge a link between people and to build bridges between nations and cultures using the power of music and art. The next important stage of this will be the jointly organised Bridging Europe Arts Festival, which will take place from 10 to 16 September and focus on German culture.

Once the wall is completely covered with messages, it will be torn down at 6 pm on 9 September during a musical event, to which members of the press are also very welcome. The event will include speeches by the managing director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Stefan Englert, and the managing director of the Palace of Arts, Csaba Káel. The Bridging Europe Festival will open with a musical taster featuring exciting chamber productions by the Festival Orchestra, as well as a magical performance by one of our guest artists, cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton.

The musical programme is also intended to commemorate the historic gesture of the greatest cellist of all times, Mstislav Rostropovich, who gave an impromptu concert to Berliners, sitting on a borrowed chair at the foot of the wall, on 11 November 1989, two days after it was torn down. (The video of that concert is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiwXUJJjL6g)

We would like to instill the spirit of this gesture into the Bridging Europe Festival, whose key message was delivered by Music Director Iván Fischer: “By pledging to belong to the family of Europeans, we decided to become members of a community. This is not a group of selfish nations bickering and wrangling among one another, but a family of nations that love and respect one another. And we need to make good on our promise.”

Share your thoughts with us! Put them down on the wall in Gozsdu Courtyard and join our festival. Let’s begin our journey on the bridge together on 9 September at 6 pm in Gozsdu Courtyard.