In the year that marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven (Bonn, 1770 - Vienna, 1827), L’Auditori presents the Beethoven250 Festival, a season inspired by this German genius’ prolific musical legacy.
The programme will start with an extraordinary Beethoven Marathon in which leading Catalan artists will perform 14 hours of uninterrupted chamber music by the German composer. This will include all his piano trios, violin and piano sonatas and cello and piano sonatas, featuring artists such as the Ludwig Trio, Vera and Claudio Martínez Mehner, Miguel Colom, Arnau Tomàs, Enrique Bagaría, Josep Colomer and Trio Fortuny, among others.
The Beethoven Marathon, which is free to attend, will take place this coming Saturday, 11 January in L’Auditori’s Sala 2 Oriol Martorell. Additionally, Sala 3 Tete Montoliu will be showing 9 Beet Stretch during the whole of Saturday, also with free admission. This is a sound installation in which the Scandinavian artist Leif Inge stretches out Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to last 24 hours and which will also be streamed on L’Auditori’s website.
In addition to the Beethoven Marathon, the Chamber Music season will welcome, as part of the Beethoven250 Festival, pianists Evgeny Kissin, who will perform a programme exclusively devoted to Beethoven’s sonatas and variations, and Nikolai Lugansky, who will be returning to L’Auditori in a co-production with BCN Clàssics. The Calidore String Quartet, accompanied by oboist Cristina Gómez Godoy, and the Barragán-Soltani-Floristán Trio will also take part in this celebration of Beethoven.
At the Beethoven250 Festival, the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra will perform a large part of Beethoven’s symphonic works under the batons of Kazushi Ono, Jan Willem de Vriend and Rudolf Buchbinder. These will include his symphonies, the Violin Concerto, the Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano, and the complete piano concertos. These works will be performed by renowned soloists Alisa Weilerstein, María Dueñas, Guy Braunstein and Michaela Kaune, along with others. The OBC will also perform outside L’Auditori, accompanied by the Orfeó Català, in a special concert at the Palau de la Música.
The Barcelona Symphony Band will perform the full set of Beethoven’s incidental musical pieces for the stage performance of Goethe’s play Egmont. It will be narrated by the actor Alex Casanovas.
As far as orchestra music is concerned, L’Auditori will welcome the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Pinchas Zukerman, in a joint production with Ibercamera.
The Jazz Sessions explore the Beethoven250 Festival with Xavi Torres, one of the most acclaimed jazz musicians on the Catalan music scene. L’Auditori has decided to mark this anniversary by commissioning him to rework some of the composer’s sonatas in trio format. With great respect for the original work, Torres will make it his own and explain it to us through the rhythmic exuberance, timbric richness and textural depth that characterise his language.
As part of the Early Music season, Jordi Savall will conclude the performance of Beethoven’s complete symphonies with Le Concert des Nations, offering a performance with period techniques and instruments in contrast to the OBC’s modern symphonic approach to Beethoven’s work. Next season, there will also be the chance to enjoy the opera Fidelio in concert and a special performance by the Cuarteto Casals during the OBC season.
The Sampler Series will include projects based on the figure of Beethoven: David Lang’s opera prisoner of the state, which is a re-imagining of the original libretto of Fidelio – jointly commissioned with institutions of the calibre of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra – and the premiere of a work by sound artist Christine Sun Kim – who was born deaf – presented by Ensemble Contrechamps, as well as Leif Inge’s installation work which you can experience this Saturday.
In the Escenes season, sisters Clara and Ariadna Peya will present TOC SUITE No. 6, a reflection on the isolation of various groups, such as people with mental disorders or impaired hearing, and their perception of art and reality.
L’Auditori’s Servei Educatiu (Education Service) will also be present during the Beethoven250 Festival with the family concert ZOOM, featuring the youngest members of the National Youth Orchestra of Catalonia conducted by Manel Valdivieso, and with choreography and stage direction by Cesc Gelabert. This is a show in which Gelabert challenges the young performers’ technical abilities and their imagination with music by Britten, Stravinsky, Toldrà, Rameau and, of course, Beethoven, showcasing the musicians, their movements and their emotions.
Rethinking Beethoven: The Beethoven250 Festival at the Museu de la Música
Jonathan Brown, violinist and professor, will present a series of three conversations with dancer and choreographer Cesc Gelabert, sommelier Josep Roca and philosopher Eulàlia Bosch.
Rethinking Beethoven will bring together these three eminent figures from the cultural and creative world to talk about the character of the German composer, in dialogue at the Museu de la Música with the Cuarteto Casals violinist.
Furthermore, the Museu de la Música is preparing the exhibition “Muzio Clementi, The Father of the Pianoforte” which, in addition to the life and work of this great musician who was key to the history of the piano, retraces his relationship with Beethoven. The exhibition will be open from 13 February to 12 April.
An Accessible Festival
The Beethoven250 Festival is committed to providing accessibility services for most of the festival’s events and adapting them to meet their artistic and theatrical characteristics. This idea was inspired by Beethoven’s deafness and his own personal perception of art.
During the festival, there will be subtitling, sign language interpreters and a hearing loop for people with impaired hearing and audio descriptions and programmes in Braille for blind and visually-impaired people. In addition, the areas reserved for wheelchair users will be increased. The programmes will be designed for optimum legibility, and pictograms will be used to indicate which services are available at each concert.
L’Auditori wants to take another step towards universal accessibility and create a cultural space for everyone. For this reason, it is working (among other projects) on the creation of two relaxation areas for people with special needs. These will be located in the lobbies of Sala 1 Pau Casals and Sala 2 Oriol Martorell.
This project has been co-funded (65%) by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra cooperation programme (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The aim of POCTEFA is to strengthen the economic and social integration in the Spanish, French and Andorran border area. It focuses on carrying out cross-border economic, social and environmental actions by means of joint strategies to achieve sustainable territorial development.
Beethoven Festival Programme
Beethoven Marathon Programme
Beethoven250 Festival Image
Aleix Palau | 9 January 2020
A 14-hour non-stop music marathon starts the Beethoven250 Festival
Beethoven’s extensive legacy will be revisited by more than 500 artists, with 60 works, 37 concerts, ten talks and discussions and an exhibition, with great symphonic cycles, vocal pieces, productions, and renowned conductors and soloists. In addition, there will be premieres of commissioned works inspired by the figure of the genius from Bonn. Some of the Festival events will have enhanced accessibility to reach groups that perceive art from different perspectives. This will be done through a wide-ranging service encompassing subtitling, hearing loops, audio description and programmes in Braille.