Southbank Centre’s series marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth
Southbank Centre is joined by an outstanding roster of international artists to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth throughout 2020. With over 20 events in spring 2020 and more to follow in the autumn, the season includes historical recreations, concerts and series curated by leading musicians, and a bold reinterpretation of arguably music’s most famous chorus: Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth ‘Choral’ symphony.
Southbank Centre Artist-in-Residence Pierre-Laurent Aimard curates Beethoven and the Avant-Garde, a series about Beethoven and his influence on composers. The series includes: an appearance from Cologne’s Gürzenich Orchestra and Aimard in a programme which mixes Beethoven with works by 20th and 21st century composers, conducted by François-Xavier Roth (21 Feb); Southbank Centre Associate Aurora Orchestra and Aimard in a concert that places Beethoven and Schoenberg side-by-side (16 May); and Aimard in recital, playing sonatas by Beethoven and Charles Ives (10 March).
Southbank Centre Associate Artist, conductor Marin Alsop, leads a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with a 350-person choir performing a new English interpretation of the famous Schiller text, and new compositions responding to the iconic work, as part of Beyond Beethoven 9 (16 and 18 April 2020). The choir is composed of youth ensembles including Only Boys Aloud, Finchley Children’s Music Group, the Lister Community School, Kaos Signing Choir, and adult groups including the London Philharmonic Choir and The Bach Choir, along with individuals selected through audition. Joining the choir on stage are Southbank Centre’s Associate Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and soloists including soprano Nadine Benjamin, mezzo-soprano Catriona Morison, tenor Oliver Johnston, and bass-baritone Simon Shibambu. Also participating are a number of youth groups, including jazz music education and artist development organisation, Tomorrow’s Warriors, and music and dance performance group, Kinetika Bloco. In total nearly 500 performers will fill the Royal Festival Hall stage.
Bill Barclay directs the Southbank Centre production, working alongside poet Anthony Anaxagorou to create a new poem in response to the original “Ode to Joy” text. Hundreds of poems have been written by young people in workshops, led by Anaxagorou, exploring the theme of joy and what it means to the wider London community, which will be worked into and set to the original Beethoven score and performed in Beyond Beethoven 9. Both performances also include a new film as part of Southbank Centre’s Uncovering Classics series which provides learning resource material and a creative record of Southbank Centre’s ambitious projects.
The performance follows in the footsteps of Southbank Centre/Marin Alsop’s award-winning mass participation performance of Britten’s War Requiem in 2015 and Leonard Bernstein’s Mass in 2017. Beyond Beethoven Nine is part of All Together, a major international mass participation project which will see Alsop travel across three continents to lead musicians—both professional and amateur—in individually curated events and performances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in: São Paolo, Brazil; Carnegie Hall, New York and Baltimore, USA; Auckland and Wellington New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa.
Southbank Centre’s Resident and Associate Orchestras make major contributions to Beethoven 250 celebrations:
Esa-Pekka Salonen and Southbank Centre Resident Orchestra the Philharmonia reconstruct Beethoven’s famous marathon 1808 benefit concert at the Theater an der Wein, which saw the first performances of Beethoven’s 5th and 6th Symphonies, his Fourth Piano Concerto and the Choral Fantasy, all conducted by the composer. The Philharmonia’s Beethoven Day (15 March) starts with a study morning, with concerts in the afternoon from 2pm and in the evening. Soloists include pianist Andreas Haefliger, and two widely-admired young British singers, Clare Presland (mezzo-soprano) and Ashley Riches (baritone);
Southbank Centre’s Resident Orchestra London Philharmonic Orchestra’s year-long 2020 Vision series casts fresh light on the music of Beethoven and the composers who came exactly 100 and 200 years after him including a complete cycle of Beethoven Symphonies with conductors including Vladimir Jurowski, Edward Gardner and Vasily Petrenko that will be completed across the calendar year (from 8 Feb). Conductors Osmo Vänskä, Omar Meir Wellber, Dima Slobodeniouk and Robin Ticciati and soloists including Jeremy Denk and Katia Buniatishvili also join the orchestra for Spring 2020 concerts as part of Beethoven 250;
There are two takes on Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony: Nicholas Collon conducts Southbank Centre Associate Aurora Orchestra in a performance from memory (16 May); Sir Roger Norrington conducts Southbank Centre Resident Orchestra, period instrument ensemble Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, in Beethoven’s 3rd and 4th Symphonies (28 January);
Southbank Centre Associate Chineke! Orchestra performs Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, conducted by Fawzi Haimor (23 Feb) and Kevin John Edusei conducts Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano with soloists Adé Williams, Sterling Elliot and Stewart Goodyear (16 May);
Anne-Sophie Mutter, Nicolas Alstaedt, Vilde Frang and Lawrence Power lead the Spring 2020 Beethoven 250 chamber music programme.
Further details of Southbank Centre Beethoven 250 January-June 2020 click here.
Beethoven 250 concerts from September 2020 will be announced in the New Year.
Beethoven 250 at Southbank Centre – Spring 2020
Sir Roger Norrington conducts Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in Beethoven Symphony No. 2 & No. 3.
Vladimir Jurowski conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra in Beethoven Symphony No. 1.
Vasily Petrenko conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra in Beethoven Symphony No. 2.
François-Xavier Roth conducts Gürzenich-Orchester Cologne in Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor) and highlights from his Sonatas and Symphonies, with soloist Pierre Laurent Aimard.
Dima Slobodeniouk conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra in Beethoven Symphony No. 3 (Eroica).
Fawzi Haimor conducts Chineke! Orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No.7.
Osmo Vänskä conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra and soloist Jeremy Denk in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4.
Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard performs Beethoven’s ‘Hammerklavier’ Sonata in B flat, Op.106, alongside Ives’ Sonata No. 2 (Concord).
Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin), Khatia Buniatishvili (piano) and Pablo Ferrández (cello) join London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Robin Ticciati, for a performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano.
Philharmonia Beethoven Day, including Insight morning and recreation of famous 1808 concert conducted by Beethoven. Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, No.6, Piano Concerto No. 4 (soloist Andreas Haefliger) and Choral Fantasy, with soloist including Clare Presland (mezzo-soprano), Ashley Riches (baritone), Philharmonia Voices and Rodolfus Choir.
Omar Meir Wellber conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra in Beethoven Symphony No.4.
Anne Sophie Mutter is joined by Principal members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra for Beethoven’s String Trio, String Quartet in E flat, Op. 74 (Harp) and the UK premiere of Jorg Widmann’s Study on Beethoven (String Quartet No. 6).
Edward Gardner conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra in Beethoven Symphony No. 5.
Vladimir Jurowski conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra in Beethoven Symphony No. 6.
Vladimir Jurowski conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra and London Philharmonic Choir in Beethoven King Stephen Overture and Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II for solo soprano (Lise Davidsen) bass Andrew Foster-Williams) chorus & ensemble.
Marin Alsop conducts the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and 400 performers in Beyond Beethoven Nine, with Beethoven’s choral symphony interleaved with new music and words. Featuring a new version of Schiller’s Ode to Joy by Anthony Anaxagorou; directed/new music arrangements by Bill Barclay.
Vilde Frang, Lawrence Power and Nicolas Altstaedt perform Beethoven String Trio in D, Op.9 No.2; String Trio in C minor, Op.9 No.3 and Duo in E flat for viola & cello, WoO.32; String Trio in G, Op.9 No.1.
Kevin John Edusei conducts Beethoven Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano (soloists Adé Williams, Sterling Elliot and Stewart Goodyear).
Nicolas Collon conducts Aurora Orchestra and soloist Pierre-Laurent Aimard in Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4, and a performance by the orchestra from memory of Beethoven Symphony No.3 (Eroica).