This year the International Music Festival Phnom Penh will celebrate its 5th birthday. The festival now has secured an important place in the cultural calendar of Phnom Penh and Cambodia as a whole. The festival, thanks to his artistic director Anton Isselhardt, has grown over the years and has become stronger and more mature.
This year the focus of the festival will be on the life and work of the Bach Family who in the 18th century had been a large family of highly talented musicians. They left to the world of music an immense heritage of works of classical music. Of course Johann Sebastian is most famous, but the Festival will give us plenty of opportunities to enjoy the music of all members of this most gifted family.
The decision to devote this year's festival to the Bach family is no surprise. The city of Weimar, where Johann Sebastian Bach in the years 1708 to 1717 had worked and created about 75 % of his compositions this year commemorates his arrival in Weimar 300 years ago with a festival which is highlighting as well his personal work as the work of all of the Bach family. Thus there is a direct link established between Phnom Penh and Weimar, a city where so many Cambodians had been trained and educated not so long ago and which they see as their second home abroad.
The German Embassy – as in the years before - takes pride to contribute to the festival together with a number of German institutions in particular the Goethe Institute. We are grateful to the art-plus Foundation to keep the festival alive. We believe in the magic of music and its possibilities to foster Cultural exchange. The contributions of young musicians from Germany, Cambodia and a number of other countries make the festival an event of international cooperation and understanding. Musicians all over the world speak the same language and we, the audience, have the joy to listen to their message.
Frank Markus Mann
German Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia