Beethoven-Haus Bonn


The Beethoven-Archiv was founded in 1927 as research center on Beethoven and his compositions, his intellectual and cultural background, and the history of his influence. It collects the scattered records in original form or as photographic reproductions, pursues extensive research and edition projects and also provides advice on external projects.


The scholarly activities of the Beethoven-Archiv lie primarily in the editorial field. Its projects include the scholarly-critical complete edition of Beethoven's works, the complete edition of Beethoven's correspondence, a selected edition of his sketches and a facsimile series of selected manuscripts. In addition, it also supports and participates in several projects of a bibliographical and biographical nature.

While the collection and preservation of sources surrounding Beethoven's life and works is laid down in the constitutions, the goals of the scholarly activities are not. This means that the institute is able to respond more flexibly to questions and issues arising in Beethoven research and also to seize new initiatives. With the publication series concerning Beethoven research (mongraphs) and Beethoven studies (essays) it has created forums which can also be accessed by external scholars.

The Beethoven-Archiv organizes various academic functions (conferences, lectures and exhibitions) as the occasion arises and participates in external undertakings. To a limited extent it also acts in an advisory capacity to external scholars and invites communication.

The Beethoven-Archiv actively promotes young musicologists and musicians during practical trainings as well as by accompanying them during their residencies in students' colleges or other trainee agendas.
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Edition works

Complete edition of Beethoven's works

One of the Beethoven-Archiv's most important tasks is editing the new complete edition of Beethoven's works (Gesamtausgabe). It is published by G. Henle Verlag, the first volume appeared in 1961. The editions are edited by employees of the Beethoven-Archiv as well as external editors from all over the world. In the process, all the available sources are consulted, including Beethoven's autographs, the copies checked by the composer, as well as the original editions published during his lifetime. The editorial guidelines (in German) provides important information for all the editors.

The aim is to provide a scholarly-critical text which reflects Beethoven's intentions as closely as possible and which also takes into account aspects of musical practice. Sources, their states, variants and other differences are described in Critical Commentaries which accompany each volume fo music.

It should comprise 56 volumes, of which about two thirds have already been published. They will encompass all of Beethoven's completed compositions, including the early versions and authentic arrangements; in addition the larger fragments and more extensive sketches.

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Edition text

Complete edition of Beethoven's correspondence and selected edition of documents

Beethoven's correspondence provides an essential key to understanding his works and personality. This edition was produced by the Beethoven-Archiv and involved much detective work. It was published between 1996 and 1998 by G. Henle Publishers. Each letter is accompanied by information concerning its origin, where it is held, etc. as well as explanatory notes. The letters are published in seven volumes (Volume 7 = index). Volume 8 with documents and subject index is in progress.

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Learn more on the edition of documents
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Edition sketches

Selected edition of Beethoven's sketches

The sketches, for the most part difficult to decipher, were made by Beethoven as part of the compositional process. They are considered characteristic of his working method. Thousands of very different sketchleaves have survived, very few of which have previously been fully reconstructed. They are an ideal source as they shed light on the genesis of plans and works. Reconstructing, editing and making facsimiles of the Beethoven sketches is one of the Beethoven-Archiv's tasks.

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Beethoven's workshop

Genetic textual criticism and digital edition

"Beethovens Werkstatt. Genetische Textkritik und Digitale Musikedition” is the title of a musicological basic research project, which is funded by the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz and carried out by the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and Paderborn University (Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar in Detmold/Paderborn). Bernhard R. Appel and Joachim Veit lead the project, which started in 2014 and will run until 2030. The project focuses on the investigation of Beethoven’s composing processes from different angles via digital tools and the development of a user interface where the results are represented. This is based on the encoding models of the Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) which will allow a transfer of the developed tools to other composers.


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Other projects

Besides its running philological and biographical research the Beethoven-Archiv research center also is concerned with relevant questions, e. g. in the reception of Beethoven.

Scholars from all over the world are invited to conduct research on Beethoven, his oeuvre, contexts and reception at the Beethoven-Haus. Usually, visiting scholars stay for some months. Funding by a third party is required. 

Composing after Beethoven

A note on the history of the Beethoven-Haus

Research projects of visiting scholars

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Students' college

The Beethoven Foundation Course has been developed for advanced students of musicology and aims at creating and promoting an interest in Beethoven studies. Within the scope of regular university courses in musicology Beethoven can only be one of many subjects and anyone interested in studying Beethoven's life and work in a scientific way will first have to sift through an impressive, almost intimidating amount of research literature. Who is in a better position to smoothen the path towards getting to know a prominent and widely studied composer than the experts from the Beethoven Archive, some of which have been doing research on Beethoven for decades?

In line with the basic principle of the foundation course the Beethoven Archive staff helps students to find a suitable topic for a scholarly paper or thesis, gives advice and encourages individual research. Young musicologists who are already working on a research topic concerning Beethoven have the opportunity to meet experts and exchange ideas.

Programmes: 2018; 2017; 2016; 2015; 2013; 2012; 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007
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