stARTfestival 2024

stARTfestival Thrills Around 10,000 Guests


True world stars, great up-and-coming talents, and unique formats in its fourth edition – with ten sold-out events and around 10,000 visitors, the stARTfestival is increasingly establishing in the German festival landscape.

From April to June, the festival once again offered a diverse and high-caliber cultural program. In Leverkusen, Wuppertal, Berlin, and at the Wartburg in Eisenach, the audience experienced an exciting journey through various music and art genres.

Highlights from the 2024 Season

Ute Lemper © Bayer Kultur

With her program "Berliner Lichter," the 61-year-old musical actress and chanson singer Ute Lemper brought the glamorous sound of the "Roaring Twenties" to the Erholungshaus. Accompanied by the virtuosic play of the WDR Funkhaus Orchestra under the direction of Enrico Delamboye, she sang songs by her favorite composer Kurt Weill and by Hanns Eisler. The evening was sold out in advance.

Andreas Martin Hofmeir and Joshua Williams. © Bayer Kultur

One of the highlights was the concert by 23-year-old musician Joshua Williams from Atlanta. The stARTacademy talent impressed with his innovative approach to the tuba and got the guests dancing together with Bavarian tuba berserker Andreas Martin Hofmeir and "European Tuba Power" at the Leverkusen Erholungshaus. With classical, hard rock, techno, and Hungarian dances, they impressively demonstrated the versatility of the tuba. Joshua Williams received a masterclass from Hofmeir during his first visit to Germany.

Tamar Beraia, Giorgi Gigashvili, Bar Avni and Tobias Feldmann. © Bayer Kultur

The stARTacademy aims to give young emerging talents the opportunity to learn from each other and grow together. In 2024, the festival was distinguished by the participation of numerous talents from the Bayer Culture funding program: pianist Tamar Beraia, pianist Giorgi Gigashvili, conductor Bar Avni, and violinist Tobias Feldmann presented themselves with Humperdinck's charming and rarely performed Wagner arrangements in perfect harmony – in a very special setting surrounded by the audience.

This was a great festival that showed how Bayer, as a company, engages socially at its sites. Not only in sports but also in culture. And not just as a sponsor, but creatively with its own program.
Philipp Blank

A highlight among the three choreographies of this year's festival was Philippe Kratz, a native of Leverkusen and internationally sought-after choreographer, who presented "The Red Shoes" with the Nuovo Balletto Di Toscana as a German premiere in his hometown.

Patricia Kopatchinskaja at the Historische Stadthalle Wuppertal. © Bayer Kultur

Wuppertal experienced the fantastic violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who thrilled the audience with her temperament. In her typically daring manner, she soloed with Robert Schumann's last orchestral work. The Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, conducted by Philippe Herreweghe, accompanied her. Frank-Peter Zimmermann was also celebrated with strong applause at the Historische Stadthalle. The selected masterpiece "Concerto Gregoriano" by Respighi seemed tailor-made for the award-winning artist from Duisburg. The Bamberg Symphony Orchestra accompanied him in Wuppertal.

Whether pop song or art song: Fatma Said turns the moment into an experience. ©Bayer Kultur

The Egyptian soprano Fatma Said celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Bayer site in Weimar together with "Clarinet Queen" Sabine Meyer and Scottish pianist Malcolm Martineau at the historic Wartburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the impressive concert, Fatma presented herself as a chamber music partner with works by Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.

Playground and multimedia experiences

Piano concert lying down on the stage of the Erholungshaus. © Bayer Kultur

Lying down and looking at a play of colors in the stage tower of the Erholungshaus, the audience listened to adaptations of works from various musical epochs, from Bach to Schönberg, performed by pianist Beatrice Berrut.

The Manchester Collective combined electronics and classical music, allowing the audience to immerse themselves in Mark Rothko's artwork under a glowing octagon. Polish singer-songwriter Mary Komasa was given the "Carte Blanche" by Bayer Kultur: with her program "Migrating Chopin," she dressed classical music in a modern electronic garb.

As musicians, we often have to cater to mainstream genres because few are willing to take creative risks. I am grateful to the Bayer Kultur team for allowing us to create something completely new and for promoting a vibrant and diverse music scene with their work.
Mary Komasa
Pop-art artist and singer

Multi-percussionist Alexej Gerassimez played this year at the Pears Jewish Campus, an interfaith meeting place supported by Bayer, for the Berlin audience. At the same location, pianist Johanna Summer and saxophonist Jakob Manz brought a jazzy flair.

In Leverkusen, the stARTfestival 2024 concluded with a spectacular family concert by the Bayer Philharmonic. It was accompanied by a live-painted stage set by artist Marc Schwämmlein, bringing the atmosphere of Walpurgis Night impressively to life.