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Because art is good for us, even when times are challenging – Bayer Arts and Culture and Bayer’s Berlin and Weimar sites are supporting artists in these COVID-19 days with the “stART Festival Spezial”. The result is 37 videos that bring dance, classical symphonies, jazz, readings and the performing arts into your home.

All the videos will be available on this page until the end of August. Enjoy watching them!

Further information

The artists involved have already enriched Bayer’s cultural offerings in the past, including current and former stART artists such as Alexander Krichel, Olivia Trummer, Philippe Kratz, Tobias Feldmann, Charlotte Friederich, Leverkusen-based Arthur Horváth, jazz and blues acts such as Jakob Manz, BB & The Blues Shacks, and theater projects including Prime Time Theater Berlin and Les Voisins. All the participants provided Bayer with videos for this project that they can also share through their own social media channels.

“We gave this ‘stART Festival Spezial’ the title ‘From us for you’,” says Thomas Helfrich, Head of Culture and Sports at Bayer AG. “We want to show our employees and audience that art is good for us, even when times are hard. For the artists, on the other hand, their participation is about thanking everyone who is supporting them during this period.”

How to transform your car into a private concert hall
Since COVID-19 has made concerts impossible under normal conditions, artists must not only be able to improvise musically.
Our former stART artist Alexander Krichel was the first in the world to give a classical piano concert in a drive-in cinema. He played works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Liszt – open air. Not only in the car a very special moment of enjoyment of art.






The pianist Alexander Krichel was a stART artist from Bayer Kultur from 2012 to 2015 and has already built up an excellent reputation in the artistic landscape. His concerts take him to different continents. But he always returns to Leverkusen. "Even today, after the end of my official funding period, with Bayer and the stART academy I know institutions and people by my side who sustainably support my career planning".


In February 2020, a special project was on the program in the Erholungshaus: "The best mix meets classic". Together with Radio Leverkusen, the Bayer Philharmonics and Arthur Horváth, we have shown that pop and rock hits as well as film music sound good not only on the radio, but also in a more classical style on stage! Due to the current situation the catch-up concert unfortunately cannot take place. In our "stART Festival Special" you have the possibility to hear and see all songs again. Enjoy!


Matthias Eichhorn is a double bass player and lecturer at the music academies in Leipzig and Weimar. In addition to his teaching and concert activities as a bass player, he would like to draw awareness to an almost unknown music in Germany: handbells. A conductor to 9 different handbell groups, he also gives workshops, lectures, advice to other handbell choirs and conductors as well as working as a representative and dealer for handbells. He is very happy to participate in the stART festival special. See for yourself and find out what hand bells are all about...


The percussionist Alexej Gerassimez is a current stART artist at Bayer Kultur, but his career has already brought him to the top of the world. His repertoire ranges from classical and new music to jazz and minimal music but also extends through his own compositions. In addition to the usual percussion and melody instruments, Alexej also integrates objects from contexts that are usually far from music, such as bottles, brake disks, barrels or ship’s propellers.



The pianist and composer Benjamin Schaefer was the first stART artist from Bayer Kultur in the field of jazz. He is a master of contrasts, skillfully plays with extremes and fascinates his audience with structured improvisation. With his own projects Benjamin Schaefer Trio, Expressway Sketches, Quiet Fire and Hive Mind, he has appeared in prestigious jazz clubs and at numerous festivals in Germany and abroad.


Whether Europe, Asia, Australia or Africa – the siblings Marie-Luise and Christoph Dingler alias The Twiolins are specialists in the violin duo genre and have already given concerts at numerous national and international festivals and concert series. Through the shared life journey and the joint music, they have achieved a maximum of interaction and a unique sound identity. The fact that they not only perfect the existing repertoire, but also translate the tradition of the violin duo into the here and now is a special passion for both.


Sandra, Markus and Andrea are particularly well known in Leverkusen and the surrounding area: they are on the road with the band Kärnseife playing a superb cover program. And - they are also greatly in demand as dance teachers and dance sport trainers.
Why are you participating in this project? "We think it's great that in critical situations creative alternatives come up. More than ever it is important to bring joy to your fellow human beings and offer some diversion.


For the weekend: Special project 3





In February 2020, a special project was on stage in the Erholungshaus: "The best mix meets classic". Together with Radio Leverkusen, the Bayer Philharmonics and Arthur Horváth, we have shown that pop and rock hits as well as film music sound good not only on the radio, but also in a more classical style! Due to the current situation the catch-up concert unfortunately cannot take place. In our "stART Festival Special" you now have the opportunity to hear and see all songs again. Enjoy!


The theater sitcom GUTES WEDDING, SCHLECHTES WEDDING of the Prime Time Theater from Wedding in Berlin has become a perennial favorite. True to the motto "Watch closely“, director Oliver Tautorat gives the impresario every night as postman Kalle and greets his guests personally. The audience is colorful: students, pensioners, schoolchildren, the unemployed, families, housewives, pastors, academics.

Sandro Roy was born in 1994 as the youngest member of a Sinti family that has family ties to Django Reinhard. As a talented violinist, he easily manages the balancing act between jazz and classical. As a stART artist from Bayer Kultur, he had a successful concert with the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra and with Tobias Feldmann as a partner in Bach's double concert, but he also knows how to convince with various stars of the scene as a gypsy violinist. Since the 2018/19 season, he is a stART artist at Bayer Kultur.

Svetlana Brehm is an artist and jewelry designer in Weimar and has been running her own gallery there since 2019. It also regularly opens them up to interested parties and conveys in a vivid way how personal stories can be turned into unique works of art using various painting techniques. We would like to thank our colleagues at the Bayer site in Weimar for letting us know about Svetlana Brehm and we hope everyone will enjoy participating!

Dancer and choreographer Philippe Kratz, born in Leverkusen was named choreographer of the year by the magazine “Danza & Danza” and is thus one of the absolute sizes of his profession. Already infected by the dance virus at an early age, he has not recovered since. A member of the Bayer Kultur stARTacademy since 2018, his creations have been invited to Leverkusen several times.
For the project stART Festival Special, he created a dance video that takes us into a surreal world, undeniably related to our current reality.

The violinist Tobias Feldmann belongs to the top-class musical personalities of the younger generation. He is known for his multifaceted performances of overwhelming virtuosity, captivating stage presence and emotional depth. Tobias can already look back on concerts at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Vienna, Beethovenhaus Bonn and many other renowned houses. He was a stART artist from Bayer Kultur from 2015 to 2017.

"Dreamers" the performance of the Fondazione Nazionale della Danza - Aterballetto by and with our stART artist Philippe Kratz should have taken place in the Erholungshaus on April 25th. As this is not possible, FND-Aterballetto kindly allow us to share the teaser to their special project 1 meter CLOSER. The ensemble created this video between March 24, and April 8, 2020, each isolated in their own home in Milan, Turin, London, Reggio Emilia and Lerici.

For the weekend: Special project 2




In February 2020, a special project was on stage in the Erholungshaus: "The best mix meets classic". Together with Radio Leverkusen, the Bayer Philharmonics and Arthur Horváth, we have shown that pop and rock hits as well as film music sound good not only on the radio, but also in a more classical style! Due to the current situation the catch-up concert unfortunately cannot take place. In our "stART Festival Special" you now have the opportunity to hear and see all songs again. Enjoy!

Dominique Horwitz - cultural ambassador of Bayer Kultur and for the past two decades a regular guest and reciter at the Erholungshaus - reads a little love story for the stART Festival Special by the Russian novelist Ivan Bunin, who was the first Russian to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1933. The works of Ivan Bunin are published by Dörlemann Verlag, Zurich/Switzerland.


The world press already has an eye on him: Jakob Manz is a young saxophonist who is considered an outstanding talent. With his band “Jakob Manz Projekt”, Jakob won first prize in 2018 at the “future sounds” of the Leverkusen Jazz Days, when he was not yet an adult at the time. The band's handpicked musical personalities merge into a unique sound that consistently grows through mutual inspiration and creative interaction.


In September 2018 the Mobilés gave our audience an unforgettable evening with the production" Moving Shadows "! Virtuoso artistry and brilliant performance dominated by light and shadow with perfectly coordinated music - an experience for all senses!
With this little video Mobilé lets us peek behind the scenes of the new program and will definitely put a smile on your face. Smiling softly makes you feel stronger.


The BBs love their music and play the blues so skillfully that even the Americans get excited. With their mixture of rhythm & blues and a touch of "sixty soul" they also impressed at the Berlin location, where they had a brilliant appearance in 2016.
BB & The Blues Shacks have received the German Blues Award and the title Best Blues Band in Europe, they played at festivals with artists like Bob Dylan, BB King and Elvis Costello and have been touring the world for the past 29 years. For the stART Festival Special they evoke memories of old Berlin.


The pianist Alexander Krichel was a stART artist from Bayer Kultur from 2012 to 2015 and has already built up an excellent reputation in the artistic landscape. His concerts take him to different continents. But he always returns to Leverkusen. "Even today, after the end of my official funding period, with Bayer and the stART academy I know institutions and people by my side who sustainably support my career planning".

As part of the stART Festival Special, we would like to draw your attention to an exciting book in which the Bayer Kultur funding program is also presented. All proceeds from the sale go directly to the winners of the Fanny Mendelssohn promotional award.

Big city meets province, chanson meets shanty, big mouth meets cerebellum and pilsner beer encounters prosecco. In short: you know each other - and damn well! - Annie Heger and Vanessa Maurischat are two adorable thoroughbred cabaret artists. They inspire the audience with their provocative but sometimes thought-provoking sayings and, with fireworks of lace and malice, they place each other's verbal and musical arrows in the head and heart of others. What they appreciate about the stART Festival Special is “that all artists are so incredibly different that they reflect the great diversity of culture. Nobody knows what to expect at the next act, and so maybe some people get involved in something new and be inspired by it.”

For the weekend: Special project 1



In February 2020, a special project was on stage in the Erholungshaus: "The best mix meets classic". Together with Radio Leverkusen, the Bayer Philharmonics and Arthur Horváth, we have shown that pop and rock hits as well as film music sound good not only on the radio, but also in a more classical style! Due to the current situation the catch-up concert unfortunately cannot take place. In our "stART Festival Special" you now have the opportunity to hear and see all songs again. Enjoy!

Director Lisa Charlotte Friedriech and musician Rike Huy are stART artists at Bayer Kultur. In their contribution to our stART Festival Special, they discuss the uncanny experience that the exceptional situation described in their first joint feature film "LIVE" is caught up in the reality of the Corona crisis. The film, sponsored by Bayer Kultur, is currently on a festival tour - it started with an invitation in January 2020 to the renowned competition of the 41st Max Ophüls Prize film festival in Saarbrücken.

Lyricist, composer, singer, project developer and manager: Arthur Horváth is no stranger to Leverkusen, as he is also associated with "Young Stage", a musical project with children and young people, as well as with formats from the Leverkusen Jazz Days and individual functions in the city Leverkusen. In addition, Arthur is a wonderful singer-songwriter. "

Not only children and grandchildren in the evening before falling asleep, adults also need storytellers who take them with them to other lives, stories and worlds for a little break. The Compagnie Les Voisins invites the entire family to the digital stage to offer them told theater in pictures and to take them into their world with many illustrations, a sack full of voices, sounds and music.

This video is a special “CIAO” from Italy, a sign of sharing and closeness. We hope that all of you are well and that soon meetings may not be only virtual. Best regards from Fondazione Nazionale della Danza /Aterballetto … And take care of your health!

As a jazz pianist, singer and composer, Olivia Trummer is an all-rounder. The classically trained musician draws from a broad musical spectrum in her solo concerts. In her compositions, she creates her very own, poetic, almost philosophical, universe. Olivia has received numerous awards and was part of Bayer Kultur's "stART" program from 2013 to 2016 as a jazz artist.

"Sensitivity, noblesse, intimate moments that take your breath away, splendor in the epic passages" - this is how the style of the Georgian pianist Tamar Beraia was called by the critics. "With my little journey through music, I show solidarity with everyone in the world in this difficult time," says Tamar, who has been a member of the stARTacademy of Bayer Kultur from 2015 to 2017.
In August 2020 she will perform live in Leverkusen and Wuppertal.

Visit this page again soon. The digital enjoyment of art will continue….

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