One of the Wilo-Foundation’s key aims is to assume regional responsibility and promote culture in Dortmund and the surrounding region. That is why the Wilo-Foundation started emergency response initiatives for musicians and supported free ensembles and some newly launched digital cultural projects:
Freelance musicians and students had the opportunity to apply for emergency funding, which generally amounted to 300 euros. Overall, 33 young musicians received funding, including many students of the Master’s degree programme in Orchestral Performance at the Dortmund-based Orchesterzentrum|NRW in Dortmund and one scholarship holder of Mozart Gesellschaft Dortmund, equally located in Dortmund.
Konzerthaus Dortmund (Dortmund Concert Hall) hosted a series of free charity concerts that were streamed live – for the very first time. The organ concert by young Iveta Apkalna on 29 March 2020 marked the beginning of the series, which was concluded with a performance of the Artemis quartet on 30 May 2020. More than 50,000 people tuned in to the two virtual and free concerts, for which the Wilo-Foundation provided financial support. During the livestreams, Konzerthaus Dortmund made a call for donations for the emergency response fund of Deutsche Orchester-Stiftung (German Orchestra Foundation).
Private, “free” ensembles were particularly hard hit financially by the crisis as concerts were cancelled. In order to support such ensembles and enable them to continue working, some renowned ensembles, which had originally planned to give concerts in Dortmund, received a donation, including the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Balthasar-Neumann Choir and Ensemble, the Academy of St. Martins in the Fields, the Akademie für Alte Musik (Academy for Old Music), the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
The Wilo-Foundation, which is a sponsor of Theater Dortmund, provided funding for the theatre’s new, digital-only performance format Kultur@Home. To support the artistic work of opera singers and dancers during the time of Covid-19 restrictions, the foyer of the new Wilo headquarters was turned into a stage where short sequences of the opera and ballet repertoire were performed, including a performance of the NRW Junior Ballet on the topic of “social distancing” and the creation of videos.
As concerts were prohibited in times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Institut für musikalische Bildung IMB (Institute for Musical Education), a private music school in Dortmund-Hörde, with the support of the Wilo-Foundation, launched a free online music festival, which took place from May until July. The freelance musicians participating in this festival presented ten free online concerts, which were accessible for all and turned out to be a valuable inspiration for the musicians and their pupils.
In line with its mission to promote young talents, the Wilo-Foundation supported a virtual choir video of the Chorakademie Dortmund (Dortmund Choir Academy). The video consisted of singing performances of 40 young members of the youth concert choir, who had filmed themselves at home. The sequences were later combined and the individual performances turned into a “choir”. The idea was to give people an opportunity to sing together, even in times of social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.