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Carnegie Hall's Beethoven Celebration Continues This Spring with Concerts at The Hall and Events Citywide at Prestigious Partner Organizations

Perspectives Series Artist Yannick Nézet-Séguin Leads The Philadelphia Orchestra in Complete Beethoven Symphony Cycle in March and April

Nine Internationally Renowned Pianists Give Recitals of Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas from March 31 to May 27

Quatuor Ébène Performs Complete Beethoven String Quartet Cycle from April 17 to May 2

Beethoven Celebration Presented In Honor of the 250th Anniversary of the Composer’s Birth

Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the Philadelphia Orchestra

(New York, NY, March 9, 2020)—This spring, Carnegie Hall’s season-long Beethoven celebration continues with a vibrant series of events featuring the complete Beethoven symphony cycle with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra, the complete piano sonatas by nine leading artists, and the complete string quartets by Quatuor Ébène, as well as workshops, lectures, and more. Beyond Carnegie Hall, public programming and events, including music, dance, exhibitions, and lectures at prestigious partner organizations across New York City highlight the many dimensions of the great music master. Together, the Beethoven celebration features more than 70 programs, creating an extraordinary view of this revolutionary composer.

Complete Symphony Cycle
Music director, conductor, and Perspectives artist Yannick Nézet-Séguin presents The Philadelphia Orchestra in the second complete Beethoven symphony cycle over four nights in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage.

In speaking of these upcoming performances with the orchestra, Mr. Nézet-Séguin said, “I’m curious what the cycle will teach me this time about countless details in my own life, but also about the struggles Beethoven had with authority, with the political climate of his own day. Through music, he made strong statements about unity and brotherhood/sisterhood that still vividly resonate today—perhaps even more so than when he composed these works.”

The four-concert cycle kicks off on March 13 with symphonies nos. 5 and 6, “Pastoral.” The cycle continues on March 20 with symphonies nos. 2 and 3, “Eroica,” with a pre-concert talk at 7:00 p.m. with Ara Guzelimian, Provost and Dean of The Juilliard School; On March 26, the orchestra performs symphonies nos. 4, 7, and 8 and the cycle culminates with symphonies nos. 1 and 9 on April 3. The soloists for the Ninth Symphony include soprano Angel Blue, mezzo-soprano Mihoko Fujimura, tenor Rolando Villazón, and baritone Quinn Kelsey alongside the Westminster Symphonic Choir under the direction of Joe Miller. There is a pre-concert talk at 7:00 p.m. with Harvey Sachs, author of The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824. Maestro Nézet-Séguin also leads The MET Orchestra in a program on June 12 that features virtuoso superstar Anne-Sophie Mutter in Beethoven’s groundbreaking Violin Concerto and Romance for Violin and Orchestra in F Major. These five Beethoven celebration performances are part of conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s nine-concert Perspectives series this season.

Complete Piano Sonatas
Acclaimed fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout launches a series of performances of Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas by nine leading pianists, on March 31 in Zankel Hall . Bezuidenhout’s program includes sonatas nos. 4, 10, and 18 from the composer’s early and middle period, as well as Thirty-Two Variations on an Original Theme in C Minor, WoO 80. Mr. Bezuidenhout also leads a workshop focused on historically informed performance of Beethoven sonatas for young keyboard players on April 3, presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, culminating with a public Beethoven Discovery Day on April 4 during which Bezuidenhout—joined by moderator Ara Guzelimian—gives a lecture and demonstration, exploring the ways Beethoven’s sonatas and concertos influenced the development of keyboard instruments. The day also includes performances of sonatas nos. 16, 19, 20, and 22 by outstanding young artists.

The Beethoven piano sonata cycle continues in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage with Sir András Schiff on April 2 and 5. The first evening’s program features piano sonatas nos. 12; 13, "quasi una fantasia;" 14, "Moonlight;" and 15, "Pastoral." The second recital includes piano sonata nos. 24 and 25—both written during Austria’s struggles with Napoleon; and nos. 27 and 28—among the crown jewels of the composer’s late career—as well as No. 26, "Les adieux.” On April 7, Mitsuko Uchida gives a recital of Beethoven’s epic masterpiece Thirty-Three Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120; Yefim Bronfman performs sonatas nos. 5, 6, and 7, as well as No. 23 “Appassionata,” which Beethoven wrote as he was wrestling with deafness, on April 21; Igor Levit makes his Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage recital debut on May 5, performing sonatas nos. 9; 10; 11; and 29, "Hammerklavier;" Emanuel Ax’s recital on May 14 features a program that includes Beethoven’s early piano sonatas nos. 1, 2, and 3, as well as Bagatelle in A Minor, WoO 59, "Für Elise;" Six Variations on an Original Theme in F Major, Op. 34. On May 17; Maurizio Pollini—whose mastery of Beethoven’s music has been a cornerstone of his career—will bring to life sonatas nos. 30–32; and Evgeny Kissin closes out the cycle on May 27 with sonatas nos. 8, "Pathétique;" 17, “The Tempest;” and 21, “Waldstein;” along with Fifteen Variations and a Fugue on an Original Theme in E-flat Major, Op. 35, "Eroica Variations."

Complete String Quartets with Quatuor Ébène
The charismatic French ensemble Quatuor Ébène performs Beethoven’s complete string quartets across six concerts—spanning early quartets inspired by Haydn’s masterworks to late ethereal works that influenced composers from Brahms to Bartók—in Zankel Hall, April 17–19 and 30 and May 1 and 2. The group, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020, is performing these works around the world, a journey from April 2019 to January 2020 during which they will give 40 concerts in 18 countries across six continents.

Additional Beethoven Celebration Events at Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall Debs Composer’s Chair Jörg Widmann—one of the most enthralling composers of our day—speaks about his fascination with Beethoven and his musical responses to the great master in a program entitled The Widmann Lectures: Thoughts on Beethoven in Weill Recital Hall on March 29.

New Yorkers of all ages will take the Zankel Hall stage on April 5 for All Together: Songs for Joy, a special evening that marks the culmination of a citywide creative learning project featuring original music in multiple genres inspired by a new adaptation of Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” by former US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. The concert will also feature celebrated mezzo-soprano and Perspectives artist Joyce DiDonato and members of Ensemble Connect conducted by James Ross. All Together: Songs for Joy is part of an ambitious yearlong project All Together: A Global Ode to Joy.

Highlights of Beethoven Celebration Partner Events Citywide from March through May include:

  • France’s treasured Lyon Opera Ballet performs Trois Grandes Fugues at The Joyce Theater. This stunning triple-bill features the work of trailblazing choreographers Maguy Marin, Lucinda Childs, and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. These women each undertake the musical complexity of Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge, Op. 133, in three different choreographic imaginings (March 18–22);

  • St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, joined by pianist Paavali Jumppanen, performs Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55, “Eroica” (in a chamber arrangement by Beethoven’s friend and student, Ferdinand Ries) and Quintet for Piano and Winds in E-flat Major, Op. 16 at The Morgan Library & Museum (March 25). Running in conjunction with this performance is the Morgan’s collection of autograph manuscripts by Beethoven which are on view through April 26;

  • In celebration of the reopening of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s British Galleries, MetLiveArts presents two intimate, in-gallery performances featuring music that would have been originally heard in London’s opulent homes. The first of these two performances features the Spektral Quartet performing a program that includes Beethoven’s last major work, the String Quartet in F Major, Op. 135—an intellectually confounding and emotionally ravaging piece with sharp contrasts of lightness and darkness (March 28);

  • The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research presents a daylong symposium titled Beethoven and Beyond at the Goethe-Institut New York that explores the composer’s transformational impact on Western music, artistry, culture, and sensibility (March 28). Participants will include BISR faculty, Susan Buck-Morss, Scott Burnham, Bora Yoon, Du Yun, Kate Wagner, Elaine Sisman, Olivier Glissant, and the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra—with more to be announced;

  • The following month, Can & Able! The Resilience of the Gift, presented by The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and the National Black Theatre, brings together differently abled Black artists for an evening of new, multidisciplinary micro-commissions inspired by Beethoven’s resilience to create in spite of his health challenges. Drawing from the composer’s personal journal and his late period “Archduke” Trio, the artists celebrate how art can change the world “in spite of” (April 13);

  • YIVO Institute for Jewish Research at the Center for Jewish History presents Beethoven in the Yiddish Imagination—a celebration of Beethoven in the Yiddish imagination, including a Yiddish translation of “Ode to Joy” and a bilingual reading of a Yiddish story about the “Moonlight” Sonata. An die ferne Geliebte and the String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131, will also be performed following a discussion of the largely unknown Jewish influences on these works (April 20);

  • Beethoven’s Literary Afterlife explores the composer’s literary afterlife through the lens of chamber music, examining the formation of a musical legacy. Presented by The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities and the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University, the event features lectures by Columbia professors Nicholas Dames and Arden Hegele, and Rutgers professor Nicholas Chong, as well as a performance of the Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 7, Op. 30, No. 2, featuring violinist Chad Hoopes and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott (April 20);

  • Company members of Mark Morris Dance Group will teach a class for families accompanied by live music. People of all ages and dance levels, with and without disabilities, will learn excerpts of the vignettes from Morris’s The Muir, set to Beethoven’s arrangements of Irish and Scottish folk songs (May 9).

For a full schedule and details about Beethoven celebration events at Carnegie Hall and partner organizations, click here.

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Lead support for the Beethoven Celebration is provided by The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund.

Public support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.

In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music. 

For high resolutions images of Beethoven Celebration artists, please contact the Carnegie Hall Public Relations Office at 212-903-9750 or publicrelations@carnegiehall.org.

Photo credits: Yannick Nézet-Séguin by Chris Lee; Mitsuko Uchida by Geoffroy Schied; Quatuor Ébène by Julien Mignot; Trois Grandes Fugues by Bernard Stofleth; and portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven when composing the Missa solemnis, 1820, by Joseph Karl Stieler, Beethoven-Haus Bonn.


Ticket Information

Tickets for events taking place at Carnegie Hall are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.

For tickets to Beethoven celebration partner events, please contact the specific venue. 


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