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Beethoven 250

In the year that marks 250 years since the birth of one of the most influential figures in classical music, Cardiff’s music community brings together Beethoven’s most iconic works in 2020. 

Across a year of celebrations BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW), Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), Sinfonia Cymru, St David’s Hall, and Welsh National Opera (WNO) present Beethoven 250.

Highlights include:

  • A recreation of Beethoven’s epic 1808 concert at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien. BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales and Welsh National Opera Orchestra share the honours in performances of the fifth and sixth symphonies, Piano Concerto No. 4, excerpts from Mass in C Major, and the Choral Fantasy [19 January 2020]
  • BBC Radio 3’s Tom Service with the Aurora Orchestra present Beethoven's Eroica from memory at St David’s Hall [18 May 2020]
  • Sinfonia Cymru perform all five Beethoven piano concertos in one weekend at BBC Hoddinott Hall [21st &  22nd March 2020]
  • RWCMD Symphony Orchestra introduce young people to Beethoven, the musical superhero in Orchestradventure! at St David’s Hall [4 February 2020]
  • Conductors and artists will include: Alwyn Mellor, Carlo Rizzi, Gábor Tákacs-Nagy, Jaime Martín, Llŷr Williams, Nicola Benedetti, Pavel Kolesnikov, Steven Osborne, Tadaaki Otaka and WNO Music Director, Tomáš Hanus. 

Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury said:  “Cardiff is a city bursting with creativity, from its grassroots venues to its concert halls and beyond.  This collaborative year of celebration, marking 250 years since Beethoven’s birth, will be a real showcase for the considerable musical talent, the fantastic venues we have here, and the reasons why we believe the city has the potential to become the UK’s first genuine Music City.”

The year will begin in January with Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D major ‘Ghost’ [10 January 2020] at RWCMD and runs through to November with WNO Orchestra performing Beethoven’s ground-breaking choral Symphony No 9 [8 November 2020].

As part of the anniversary, composers from RWCMD have been invited to write new works inspired by Beethoven’s Ghost Trio. The Gould Piano Trio will select one of these works to receive its premiere in the Dora Stoutzker Hall, RWCMD [10 January] alongside a performance of the original piece. 

BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales and WNO Orchestra come together in a monumental event at St David’s Hall, the national concert hall of Wales, to recreate Beethoven: The 1808 Concert [19 January]. Organised by the composer himself, the performance took place in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna 1808 and was considered one of Beethoven’s most remarkable concerts. It featured the public premieres of the fifth and sixth symphonies and was the final time that Beethoven appeared as a soloist, performing his fourth piano concerto. Opening the concert, WNO Orchestra conducted by Carlo Rizzi will perform Symphony No. 6, Ah! Perfido, Gloria from Mass in C Major, and Piano Concerto No. 4 with Steven Osborne. The second half performed by BBC NOW, with conductor Jaime Martín and pianist Llŷr Williams, features Symphony No. 5, Sanctus from Mass in C Major, Fantasy Op. 77 and Choral Fantasy. 

In February, RWCMD Symphony Orchestra and animateur Ruth Rosales take audiences on an interactive journey through time to meet Beethoven, the musical superhero at St David’s Hall. Orchestradventure! [4 February 2020] specially devised to capture the imagination of schoolchildren through the power of a live symphony orchestra, will discover more about the deaf composer, exploring if he could hear the future in his mind! RWCMD Symphony Orchestra will tell Beethoven’s incredible story, linking his music to modern masterpieces from film music favourites. 

Heading into spring, Sinfonia Cymru will present the Complete Beethoven Piano Concertos across a single weekend [21st & 22nd March 2020], performed by Pavel Kolesnikov. The former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, who has only just turned 30, is emerging as a leading artist on the world stage. Presented across three concerts at BBC Hoddinott Hall, Sinfonia Cymru is conducted by Gábor Tákacs-Nagy

In May, St David’s Hall welcomes the Aurora Orchestra to perform Beethoven's Eroica from Memory [18 May 2020]. An ensemble celebrated for its memorised performances of complete symphonies, Aurora Orchestra will perform the bold and expressive Symphony No. 3 ‘Eroica’, that re-wrote the symphonic rulebook for all time.BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service and conductor Nicholas Collon dismantle and rebuild Beethoven’s masterpiece in an interactive introduction ahead of the performance. The concert opens with a return to Cardiff by Nicola Benedetti, who will be performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. 

The Beethoven 250 season in Cardiff culminates in two Beethoven essentials: the choral masterwork Missa Solemnis [5 June] with BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales conducted by Tadaaki Otaka at BBC Hoddinott Hall, and concludes with Beethoven Symphony No. 9 Choral [8 November] performed by WNO Orchestra & Chorus, WNO Community Chorus and BBC National Chorus of Wales at St David’s Hall under the direction of WNO Music Director, Tomáš Hanus


Beethoven 250 Listings 

Fri 10 Jan 2020 
Beethoven Piano Trio in D major - No. 1 'Ghost'
New work by RWCMD composer
1.15pm     Dora Stoutzker Hall, RWCMD
Gould Piano Trio               

Tues 14 Jan 2020
Lunchtime Concert
Lauren Zhang, Piano
Beethoven   Sonata no 31 in A flat Major op.110

1pm      St David's Hall, Cardiff

Sun 19 Jan 2020
In Search of Beethoven
Film screening
In Search of Beethoven addresses the romantic myth that Beethoven was a heroic, tormented figure battling to overcome his tragic fate of deafness and who searched for his ‘immortal beloved’ but remained unmarried. It delves beyond the image of the tortured, bad-tempered, unhinged personality, to reveal someone quite different and far more interesting.  Event is free but ticketed.
Doors 11am
11.30am - 1.50pm
Level 1 | St David's Hall, Cardiff

Sun 19 Jan 2020
Discover More – Beethoven, Wine and the musical ideas behind the 1808 concert
Pre-Concert Talk

In a Discover More special, BBC NOW Discovery Guide, DrJon James meets American wine and music expert, Ron Merlino. 

To open, Ron Merlino investigates Beethoven’s close relationship with wine, in particular making connections between the wine he drank and the Viennese vineyards he knew with his epic, middle-period works. Following this composer insight, Dr Jon James takes a look at the monumental 1808 concert in Vienna organised by Beethoven himself, and discusses the musical ideas that bind it together.
3pm - 3.45pm
Lefel 1 | St David's Hall, Cardiff

Sun 19 Jan 2020 
BBC NOW and WNO Orchestra present Beethoven: The 1808 Concert
4pm    St David's Hall, Cardiff

Jaime Martín conductor
Carlo Rizzi conductor
Steven Osborne piano
Llŷr Williams piano
Alwyn Mellor soprano

Sun 19 Jan 2020
 Hannah French presents interval features live on Radio 3 including: 
Dueling Pianos with Zoe Rahman & David Rees Williams
Circa 6.30pm - 7pm 
Level 3 | St David's Hall, Cardiff

Sun 19 Jan 2020 
Hannah French presents interval features live on Radio 3 including:
Dueling Pianos with Zoe Rahman & David Rees Williams 
Beethoven famously took part in improvisation duels. Here, we bring Beethoven themes right up to date through the art of piano improvisation – 21st century style.
Circa 6.30pm - 7pm
Lefel 3 | St David's Hall, Cardiff

Sun 19 Jan 2020
 Geraint Lewis - Noson Fawr Beethoven (Beethoven’s Big Night)

Welsh language event 
Circa 6.50pm - 7.20pm  
St Asaph Room, St David's Hall, Cardiff

Tues 4 Feb 2020 
Orchestradventure! Beethoven - Musical Superhero
A family concert presented by RWCMD Symphony Orchestra and animateur Ruth Rosales.
11am      St David's Hall, Cardiff
RWCMD Symphony Orchestra
Ruth Rosales animateur

Tues 17 Mar 2020
Lunchtime Concert
Ivan Llić
Beethoven  Sonate no 8 Opus 13 pathétique
1pm      St David's Hall, Cardiff

Sat 21 Mar 2020  
The Complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with Pavel Kolesnikov and Sinfonia Cymru
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1
3pm        BBC Hoddinott Hall
Gábor Takács-Nagy conductor
Pavel Kolesnikov piano

Sat 21 Mar 2020 
The Complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with Pavel Kolesnikov and Sinfonia Cymru
Beethoven:  Symphony No. 2
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3
7.30pm     BBC Hoddinott Hall
Gábor Takács-Nagy conductor
Pavel Kolesnikov piano

Sun 22 Mar 2020
The Complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with Pavel Kolesnikov and Sinfonia Cymru
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5
2pm        BBC Hoddinott Hall           
Gábor Takács-Nagy conductor
Pavel Kolesnikov piano

Tues 31 Mar 2020
Lunchtime Concert
Sinfonia Cymru
Beethoven  String Trio Op.9 No. 3 in C minor
1pm      St David's Hall, Cardiff

Mon 18 May 2020              
Beethoven's Eroica from Memory
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
Introduction to Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 Eroica with Nicholas Collon and Tom Service
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 Eroica
7.30pm     St David's Hall
Aurora Orchestra
Nicolas Collon conductor
Nicola Benedetti violin
Tom Service presenter

Wed 5 June 2020
Beethoven's Missa Solemnis         
7.30pm     BBC Hoddinott Hall
Tadaaki Otaka conductor
Jacquelyn Stucker soprano
Kathryn Rudge    mezzo
Ed Lyon tenor
Cody Quattlebaum bass
BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales

Sun 08 Nov 2020
Beethoven 9 with Welsh National Opera Orchestra              
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 Choral
3pm     St David's Hall, Cardiff
Tomáš Hanus conductor
WNO Orchestra & Chorus
WNO Community Chorus
BBC National Chorus of Wales 




July 2020

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