Dear music lovers,

Welcome to the International Music Festival 2021 ‘Romanticism leads to Modernism’

This Festival, with a focus on classical European music, has become a regular event in the annual cultural calendar of Phnom Penh. For the 18th time a growing audience of music lovers will be able to enjoy a series of concerts performed by international and local artists.

At its core, composers of the Romantic Era regarded music more as a means of individual and emotional expression. Indeed, they considered music the art form most capable of expressing the full range of human emotions.

I warmly invite all music lovers, young and old and also those new to classical music to take full advantage of the feast of music offered by this year’s concert program. I look forward to enjoying some wonderful musical experiences with you all.

Anton Isselhardt, Festival Director


Anton Isselhardt
Festival Director

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you again for our annual event, the 18th Phnom Penh Music Festival. I am delighted that this Festival has be playing an important part in the continuing development of Culture and the Arts in Cambodia.

Romanticism is one of the most important periods and attitudes of classical music between 1780 -1920 and beyond as a background of developing a vigorous diversity in music. Asia contributed to its further development as many composers of the late Romanticism or post Romanticism era received various influences from Asian music cultures.

Likewise, Cambodia is also influenced by Romanticism. The musical works of His Late Majesty King Sihanouk show an exquisite fusion of traditional Cambodian music and Romanticism.

In addition, 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of one of the great French Romantic composers, Camille Saint-Saëns, and some of his works are featured in this year's festival.

I wish you some wonderful festival days.

Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts

Phoeurng Sackona
Minister of
Culture and Fine Arts

Dear friends and music lovers,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 18th edition of the International Music Festival in Phnom Penh, organised by the Art Plus Foundation.

The Delegation of the European Union is, for the tenth consecutive year, supporting this important cultural event that is taking place even in the difficult circumstances brought to us by the pandemic.

This year the Festival gives to us the opportunity to celebrate "European Romanticism", an important cultural movement that had a profound impact not only in music but also in many other artistic manifestations and expanded its influence well beyond the European borders.

I hope music lovers in Cambodia will come together to enjoy the program that the Festival Director Anton lsselhardt has selected for us. Let us try to overcome the separation and distancing that the pandemic has brought to our lives and societies and reunite again to celebrate and enjoy classical music.

Carmen Moreno
Ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia


Carmen Moreno
Ambassador of
the European Union
to Cambodia


Dear friends of music,

I am happy to extend my warmest greetings on the occasion of the 18th International Music Festival Phnom Penh. Since its inception, the German Embassy has been a keen supporter of the festival which is a corner stone of the wide and deep cultural exchange between Europe and Cambodia. This year’s theme is “European Romanticism” and how it paved the way to 20th century modernism.

Participation in cultural life is of existential importance for us humans. Attending a concert is not just a pleasant way to spend free time but inspires us to ask questions about what is beyond every day’s routine. This is especially important as this extraordinary year comes to a close. The pandemic has reshaped our host country and our home countries but most importantly, it has reshaped us. We are witnessing a change of time similar to the era which has brought us the wonderful music of this year’s festival.

I wish you a very enjoyable weekend of wonderful classical music.

H.E. Christian BERGER
Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany
to the Kingdom of Cambodia


Christian Berger
Ambassador of
the Federal Republic of Germany
to the Kingdom of Cambodia


Heinrich Boell Stiftung Cambodia is honored to support the 2021 Music Festival 'European Romanticism leads to Modernism '.

Following on the footsteps of our namesake, we are committed to promoting art and culture, especially as a vehicle for societies' understanding of historical and cultural influences to our social order nowadays.

The Romantic Movement was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe and marked an important shift in the history of classical music. Artistic expression of that time emphasized feelings and emotion over artificial reasoning. This historical moment also coincided with the rise of individualism as a natural right and, through that, the notion of women as equal to men. In this spirit, it is a matter of course that the series celebrates works by Clara Schumann and her female colleagues. Their lifetime achievements remain an inspiration for equality today.

Considering the historical significance of the Romantic Era, it is for the Heinrich Boell Stiftung in Cambodia a great privilege to be a partner to this edition of the International Music Festival I wish listeners and performers great delight as they join and enjoy this excellent series of concerts.

Paula Assubuji
Country Director
Heinrich Boell Stiftung, Cambodia


Paul Assubuji
Country Director
Heinrich Boell Stiftung