Thomas Beckmann is a cellist who devotes his art to providing aid to homeless people. He has performed in countless benefit concerts. Earning well over 1.5 million euros, which he used in 1996 to found the "Gemeinsam gegen Kälte”, a charity association that sponsors projects for homeless and poor people. On Talking Germany, Beckmann speaks with us about his activism.
Thomas Beckmann was born in Dusseldorf in 1957. Even as a young boy, he was fascinated by the cello. He went on to study classical languages and music, and later studied cello under Pierre Fournier in Geneva. In 1992, Thomas Beckmann and his wife, concert pianist Kayoko Matsushita-Beckmann, moved into the Dusseldorf residence once shared by the musicians Robert and Clara Schumann. Not long afterwards, two homeless women froze to death on the streets of Dusseldorf. In 1996, that event prompted Beckmann to found “Gemeinsam gegen Kälte”, a charity that sponsors projects for the poor and homeless. Today Thomas Beckmann tours across Germany, giving benefit performances to raise funds for the organization. He’s received numerous accolades and honors for his musical and charity work, among them the German Record Critics Award and the Federal Cross of Merit.