Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta


Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in a German Refugee Camp

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in a German Refugee Camp

Last Friday, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony rang out in one of the 127 refugee camps the Order of Malta runs in Germany.

An exceptional concert for the many people living in the camp, just outside the city of Hamburg. The event is part of the Spanish music project “A Kiss for All the World” (, a solidarity initiative that brings Beethoven’s famous symphony to the most vulnerable groups.

“The performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in a German refugee camp is an authentic festival of integration, fraternity and dialogue. It builds community across cultures, proving that the only effective way to defeat violence is with the weapons of tolerance, dignity and beauty,” explained Iñigo Pirfano, director of the orchestra and founder of the project. There audience consisted of over 400 people, all forced to flee from wars and violence in various parts of the world.

The Hamburg Symphony Orchestra performed the symphony with some of the most famous European soloists, including the Spanish Ainhoa Arteta (soprano), Maria Jose Montiel (mezzo soprano), Albert Montserrat (tenor) and the Greek (resident in Germany) Aris Argiris (baritone). The fourth movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is the Ode to Joy and the European anthem, making this concert both unique and historic within the context of the current refugee crisis involving all of Europe.

Sponsored by Malteser Hilfsdienst e.V. and the Minister of State in the Federal Chancellery and Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, the concert of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra also had the support of the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach chorus.

According to the latest 2015 statistics, one out of every three refugees in Germany has received assistance from the Order of Malta’s national association. Thanks to its 2,400 employees and 800 volunteers, 44,000 refugees can be accommodated in camps throughout the country. The Order of Malta also runs languages courses in Germany and provides healthcare and social assistance.