Great atmosphere in the hall, happy faces among the award winners, finally live culture in front of a grateful audience again: the big gala for the presentation of the European Culture Awards 2021 in the Bonn Opera last night only knew winners. Under the patronage of the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, the European sponsorship prize "Next Generation" was awarded. The gala was all about Ludwig van Beethoven, whose 250th birthday will be celebrated well into this year. At one of the first face-to-face events with an audience, a particularly large number of stars from the international music and art scene gathered on the red carpet and on the opera stage. The Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, which had just been appointed UN climate ambassador, acted as the house orchestra and at the same time one of the prizewinners for music, under the direction of its general music director Dirk Kaftan. Among other things, it was honored for its participatory concepts and the claim to break new musical ground with the audience and its namesake Beethoven. In newly created arrangements, Katie Melua, the Scorpions and Till Brönner performed together with the orchestra – also a prizewinner. What doesn't seem entirely unusual for the star trumpeter was an interesting new experience for the songwriter and the band around Klaus Meine with 50 years of stage experience, which everyone was particularly looking forward to. Link to the winners 2021.