Hans-Joerg BullingerPraesident der Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
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Starting with the 2014 edition, the Enescu Competition has a Cultural Partner from Germany – the Wilo Foundation, created five years ago by entrepreneur and philanthropist Jochen Opländer, together with his three kids. Wilo Foundation is committed to sustaining youngsters from fields such as culture, education, sports and social assistance, strongly believing in the contribution they can bring to a better society. We have discussed with Prof. Dr. Ing. Hans-Jörg Bullinger, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Wilo Foundation and doctor in mechanical engineering, about the implication of Wilo Foundation in supporting the George Enescu International Competition. Director of the Fraunhofer IAO, recently distinguished with Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany, Prof. Dr. Ing. Bullier speaks about music’s power to bond countries and cultures, and about the way in which music and mechanical engineering can mould each other.

International understanding, according to Wilo-Foundation, can be significantly enhanced and maintained through arts and culture. Music not only inspires, but also has the power to create bonds between countries and cultures. Can you share with us how was your experience in 2014, when Wilo Foundation team came in Bucharest especially for George Enescu Festival and Competition?

This cultural project was the first project the Wilo-Foundation supported in South Eastern Europe. I personally have been many times in Romania before, but I have never visited here a classical music festival till that day. When we came here two years ago we first of all learned a lot about the remarkable tradition of the George Enescu Festival. We liked the fact that there were so many young and international people participating in the competition and its concerts. Since the day we decided to support this festival, many people have given us a great feedback not only in Romania, but also in Germany. It seems that the people saw us a little bit like a kind of cultural ambassadors of Romania.

At the previous edition of the George Enescu International Music Contest, Wilo-Foundation was the Cultural Partner of the Final with orchestra – the piano section. This year, you are supporting again the Final with orchestra – the piano section. Why do you consider important to give new opportunities to young musicians?

International contests like the George Enescu Competition allow exceptional talented young musicians to develop their career path through giving concert performances to an international setting and thus expanding their audience. They might meet decision makers or important other experts or music journalists.

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On a personal level, besides your passion for music, you are a ‚full-blooded’ engineer and well known top innovation manager and have received numerous titles and famous awards. Do you think that music and mechanical engineering can shape each other?

It is a common knowledge that many natural scientists are very much interested in classical music. From my point of view the reason for this is, that both spheres are exciting and complex at the same time. There are numerous things to discover, but a lot of people just have not got an access to it, yet. It might be harder to find an access to classical music then to pop music. You need many years of listening experience. Therefore, the Wilo-Foundation also supports projects where young people meet young artists and visit rehearsals of classical concerts.

This year’s Enescu Competition promotes the key message “Give life to your dream”, because we want the audience to be aware that the competitors are living their life dream on the Enescu Competition’s stage, and to support them, by reflecting, enjoying and maybe even sharing their own dreams. We have asked the artists and the general public to share their dreams dream through an app on facebook and on our site. We would also invite you to share with us what advice would you give to young musicians who will participate in the Competition as far as their life dream is concerned?

The motto of my professional life is „geht nicht – gibt es nicht” this is a German idiom and means more or less that it is not acceptable if something is not working or if you can not make it.

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Our campaign stems from the idea that our dreams shape our lives, both as individuals and as societies. Would you like to share with us a dream that you have had about your life and that has had a major impact on your life?

Oh, in fact I have had various dreams in my life. In terms of my profession I dreamt to become a vocational school teacher. But, somehow I took a different professional route. However, I have to admit that till today it is still a great pleasure for me to held lectures and workshops especially to young students. So, if you are lucky you can connect your dreams in the future.

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The Wilo Foundation focuses its efforts on certain geographic areas, and also on key issues of the future: Environment/Water & Technology, Talent Promotion, International Understanding and Regional Responsibility.What do you think we need in order to have a better life and what is the role of an international music competition in this regard, on top of fighting for our life dreams?

Wilo-Foundation’s  founding family Opländer and its board is convinced that different areas of life and especially empowering of young people is very important for a successful living together within a society. For that reason the founding family decided within its statutes not only to support science and education, but also culture, sports and social welfare. From our point of view a music competition cares about many things – to name a few: it encourages young musicians, offers an international audience and publicity for young artists, helps to keep cultural heritage alive and supports cultural identity.

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