GAIA on Radio SRF2 Kultur

Newsletter – 21 October 2021

GAIA 2021 on SRF2 Kultur

Two months after our opening concert in Thun’s City Church, you can listen back to “Beethoven’s Universe” this coming Sunday, 24 October, at 16:00 on Radio SRF 2 Kultur


Ludwig van Beethoven
Sieben Variationen über «Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen»
für Violoncello und Klavier WoO 46

Benedict Klöckner, Violoncello; José Gallardo, Klavier

Carl Czerny
Marcia funebre sulla morte di Luigi van Beethoven op. 146

José Gallardo, Klavier

Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Klavierquintett es-Moll op. 87

Wouter Vossen, Violine; Tomoko Akasaka, Viola; Chiara Enderle Samatanga, Violoncello; Lars Schaper, Kontrabass; Diana Ketler, Klavier

Ludwig van Beethoven
Septett Es-Dur op. 20

Gwendolyn Masin, Violine; Rumen Cvetkov, Viola; Benedict Klöckner, Violoncello; Lars Schaper, Kontrabass; Moritz Roelcke, Klarinette; Hervé Joulain, Horn; Igor Ahss, Fagott


Festival Photography 2021

For the second consecutive year, Sára Timár joined us to document the festival.
We hope you enjoy a walk through “Götterfunken”, our 12th edition.


Sending you our warmest wishes,

Gwendolyn, Andreas, and everyone at GAIA

Thank you

Newsletter – 8 September 2021

Thank you

Usually, as the founder of the GAIA Festival, my role is simply defined.
If everything goes well, it’s thanks to everyone else. If it goes badly, it’s my fault.
This year is definitely a “thanks to everyone else” kind of year!

What a pleasure it has been to spend such an intensive time with you; to play with you, to play for you, to share stories with you, to be able once again to look you in the eyes instead of on a screen.

Of COURSE music is alive by its very nature and of course we can find a certain sense of satisfaction by listening to concerts online. But there is no thrill, no experience, no emotional journey quite similar to the ecstasy of a live concert. Nothing can replace it.

And that is a good thing.

Beethoven was dragged through more than one pandemic, more than one social unrest and, to add insult to injury, at GAIA, we dragged him through his 250th birthday in order to finally pay homage to one of the greatest minds the world has ever had.

We celebrated his 251st birthday surrounded by some of the most wonderful and generous musicians I have had the pleasure to meet; and with an audience who all overcame a sense of trepidation they may have had in the face of the pandemic to join us at our concerts and share in the joy of Beethoven.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, to me, is a mystery of sorts. Were aliens to land on earth and wonder about mankind, I think we would do well to show his Symphony as a monument to our abilities. Beethoven per se, and certainly by way of the idiom he uses so skillfully and the emotions he weaves into his musical cathedrals, has the ability to survive through time. Why? Because he underlines mankind’s ability to overcome hardship,  humanity’s triumph over adversity.

No better man to drag our festival through 27 months of planning, replanning, reorganising and hoping, hoping, hoping, to finally play again.

It has been worth every moment. Thank you to you, our audience, our supporters, donors, sponsors and collaborators, our committee members, helpers and tradesmen and women, for everything.

We cannot wait to see you again, in May, in the time it takes to make a baby, at GAIA 2022 where we will shine a light on that edition’s theme: Family.

With our most joyous wishes,

Gwendolyn, Andreas, and everyone who brings you GAIA

…and so it begins

Newsletter – 25 August 2021

…and so it begins

A long-anticipated homecoming, a reunion, a sigh of relief... that is what it feels like to return to the heart of GAIA.

The musicians arrived Friday 20th August to begin rehearsing the enormous programme that make up the bones of this year’s edition. For some of us, it was the first time to be back in a room playing with people in a very, very long time. More than one tear of happiness flowed.

The last notes of GAIA sounded 27 months ago. One continuing pandemic, three postponed festivals, and months of reorganisation, fundraising and rethinking later, we are finally back in the welcoming arms of Oberhofen. The view of the Niesen, of Lake Thun, and of the people that make GAIA happen – volunteers from Oberhofen and far beyond, our committee members, the musicians and, of course, our audience – give us hope and belief in a future, together.

At this year’s GAIA, Beethoven inspires a celebration of humanity. Few other composers can knit people together through music like he can. With tickets selling faster than usual, please consider purchasing yours soon in order not to be disappointed. And for those who have been asking: my personal tip is Saturday’s programme – a veritable storm of emotions, and some of the best, if lesser-known, music I could cook up.

Welcome home to GAIA – we have been waiting for you.
See you soon!




Newsletter – 18 August 2021

Götterfunken – Closing Concert

Sunday, 29 August, 18 P.m. | Church Hilterfingen

Surrounded by his contemporary Moscheles and greatest rival Rossini, Beethoven is heard in two of his most famous works.

The nickname "Ghost Trio" was given to the work by Beethoven's pupil Czerny, who found the Largo to have sprung straight off the pages of the ghost scene at the beginning of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In turn, "Freude schöner Götterfunken" from the 9th Symphony lends this year’s edition of the GAIA Music Festival its fiery title.

In the spirit of togetherness and with a focus on humanity and society, we have assembled our own GAIA Music Festival Choir for this concert. Assembled with members from amateur and professional choirs from the Canton of Bern, Michael Schär – choir director and long-standing GAIA Festival organising committee member – will lead the Götterfunken Finale. You are welcome to sing along!

To the 15-member orchestra of GAIA musicians who will play in the closing concert, we welcome flutist Maximilian Randlinger, who joins us for the first time.

With GAIA just around the corner, it remains for me to express that we are very looking forward to finally seeing you again next week at the GAIA Music Festival!

Yours joyfully,


The Idol

Newsletter – 8 August 2021

THE Idol

Sunday, 29 August, 11 a.m. | Oberhofen Castle

The idol: after Beethoven's Septet, the world had to wait until Schubert's Octet to experience another piece with such substantial instrumentation.

Both works have survived the test of time. Schubert struggled for years to achieve what he saw as the epitome of brilliance for strings and winds - and may well have surpassed Beethoven in his Octet. The Octet is Schubert's longest chamber music work. This can be explained by the form of the Viennese divertimento, which he revived here under symphonic auspices. In doing so, he followed the model of Beethoven's Septet.

Returning to GAIA this year is the German-born cellist Benedict Klöckner, probably one of the most passionate musicians of our time. We are also delighted to welcome Moritz Roelcke and Igor Ahss to GAIA for the first time.



The Storm

Newsletter – 30 July 2021



There are no greater storms than those of quick-tempered people.

The epithet of the last movement of Beethoven's String Quintet in C major describes not only the piece, but also the man behind the composition. A contemporary reviewer summed it up when he wrote that this work "has its origin not in a higher idea evoking construction like a divine command, but in the general artistic desire to create: in the resolution to make music." With its explosive pianissimo tremolos and fragmentary main theme reinforced by "flashes" of cello, the finale truly deserves this epithet. Staging changes of mood through virtuoso juggling of keys, tempi and themes is typical of Beethoven's eminent skill and one of the reasons why his compositions so impressed and influenced many of his contemporaries. Spohr and Dussek are further outstanding examples of this.

We are especially pleased to welcome Swiss cellist Chiara Enderle back to GAIA, as it has been five years since her last visit. Lars Schaper, on the other hand, played at GAIA’s only concert in 2020. Diana Ketler is at GAIA for the first time. Born in Riga in 1971, the pianist is as much in demand as a guest soloist with large orchestras as she is as a chamber musician and song accompanist. She has also been a professor in London since 2001 and in Geneva since 2018.




Newsletter – 13 July 2021


FRIDAY, 27 August, 19:30 | GAIA 2021

Brotherhood – a tie that goes beyond family and a concert that foreshadows GAIA’s theme in 2022: family.

This concert’s programme sets out to shine a light on Arvo Pärt, one of the world’s best-known living composers, and also includes works that underline the father-figure-like presence of giants such as Bach and Haydn, as well as pieces written in memoriam – those of Schnittke in honour of Mozart, and Pärt in honour of Benjamin Britten.

The sense of brotherhood reaches even further. This concert is a collaborative occasion between GAIA and Stretta Concerts. The latter is called to life by violinist Sebastian Bohren, who performs at GAIA for the first time. Moreover, GAIA’s new organisational lead, Andreas Fleck, proffers his CHAARTS Chamber Artists on this occasion.

Looking forward to welcoming them, and you, at GAIA. To celebrate brothers, sisters, people, and our connectedness to music.




Newsletter – 29 June 2021


Thursday, 26 August, 19:30 | GAIA 2021

The hero that the title of this concert refers to is none other than Beethoven. Beethoven dedicated his third symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte before, later, scratching out the name of the dedicatee upon realising that Napoleon had named himself Emperor.

The symphony, however, is majestic, and considered by many as the first Romantic symphony, breaking the boundaries of what the Classical era understood as symphonic form.

Whilst Beethoven might have briefly flirted with the idea of idolising Bonaparte, the adulation of Ferdinand Ries, who arranged Beethoven’s “Eroica” as well as the composers Moscheles and Hummel stood the test of time. All three, celebrated composers in their own lifetimes, were deeply inspired by Beethoven.

This concert welcomes back the charismatic violist Tomoko Akasaka, who played at the only concert GAIA was allowed to give in 2020. It also allows us a warm welcome to another renowned violist, Razvan Popovici and to violinist Suyeon Kang, who will both be playing at GAIA for the first time.

I can’t wait for you to hear them all in some weeks’ time.


See you soon at GAIA!



In Beethovens Universum

Newsletter – 15 June 2021

In Beethovens Universum

Wednesday, 25 August, 19:30 | GAIA 2021

… and finally we play! A year and a half later than expected, and half a year later than the anniversary date of our composer-in-residence: Beethoven. In the 13-year history of GAIA we have paid homage to only two other composers, namely Schumann in 2010 and Mahler in 2011. Both gentlemen received a concert. We have never rolled out the carpet for someone as we will for Beethoven. Our journey through Beethoven’s Universe brings us down paths of not just his own music, but of others inspired by him. In the case of our opening concert, two of Beethoven’s best-known pupils: Carl Czerny and Ferdinand Ries. As every year, I invite musicians who are not just outstanding personalities but have each gone down their own extraordinary paths, fearless to what may lie ahead. Three of those I am delighted to welcome to GAIA for the first time, namely Wouter Vossen, Hervé Joulain and José Gallardo.

See you at GAIA!