Today is the 249th anniversary of the great composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday! Born on December 16th, 1770 in the city of Bonn, he first started performing concerts at age 7, lost his hearing at age 28 and spectacularly went on to have one of the longest-enduring and most important musical footprints of all time. To this day, his various compositions have garnished over a billion views on Youtube, been featured in movies and TV shows, been spun into countless electronic and disco remixes—the list goes on.
To celebrate the anniversary, the city of Bonn, Germany, where he was born, is planning a 365-day programmed celebration that culminates in an enormous festival next December for his 250th. If you can’t make it to the celebration overseas, then join us for Pacific Symphony’s own celebration!
On January 16-18 we will have the renowned violinist Clara-Jumi Kang joining us to perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto—the only concerto for that instrument he composed. It is called the “King of the Concertos,” and regarded as one of Beethoven’s greatest work.
Then, on March 19-21 we will be having an all-Beethoven weekend featuring all five of his piano concertos with the talented Alexander Romanovsky returning to join the Symphony. Each night, Romanovsky will be performing a different set of concertos—an incredible feat. In addition, we will perform different selections each day from his romance collection and overtures, as well as Symphony No. 8 on the last day.
Finally, on May 10 at 3 p.m., Café Ludwig wraps up with Beethoven’s “Razumovsky” Quartet (No. 7) and his Trio for Piano, Flute and Bassoon, all led by the series’ wonderful and longtime host, Orli Shaham. While the String Quartet No. 7 is notorious for its technical demands, we know our stellar principal musicians can handle it. Enjoy coffee, tea and pastries that afternoon in the intimate Samueli Theater as Shaham guides you through the program.
Once again, Happy Birthday Beethoven! The countdown to 2020, and his 250th, begins now.
Jacob Sanchez is an arts and culture writer based in Southern California. His work has been published in the “Inkslinger” and “River Voice” journals.