GERMANY: Since December 16th of 2019, Germany has been celebrating what will amount to a year-long tribute to the life of Ludwig van Beethoven. All honoring the 250th anniversary of his birth.
Widely regarded by many as the greatest composer who ever lived, Ludwig van Beethoven dominates a period of musical history as no one else before or since. Born in Bonn, Germany, Beethoven exhibited musical prowess at an early age, prompting his father and teacher Johann van Beethoven to be a severe and intense mentor. The father – teacher believing a disciplinary approach would enable his son to become a child prodigy like Mozart.
Beethoven, like many people of superior intelligence in a given field of endeavor, was a complex individual who was further influenced by the onset of deafness. At the age of 44, the great composer was completely devoid of the ability to hear, thus making his frequently irascible personality even more confrontational than ever before.
Close friends and academic sources show Beethoven’s disdain for authority and social rank.
Sometimes he would stop while performing at the piano if the audience chatted among themselves or afforded him less than their full attention. At soirées, he refused to perform if suddenly called upon to do so.
Eventually, after many confrontations, Archduke Rudolph decreed that the usual rules of court etiquette did not apply to Beethoven.
Beethoven – mercurial composer and kind artist
There was another side to Beethoven, however, for he was also an artist, humanist, visionary, nature lover and a citizen of the world.
Indeed, Beethoven was revolutionary. He was visionary and cosmopolitan, not to mention one of the most frequently played classical composers. Ludwig van Beethoven was an extremely talented artist. Proven by the fact that to this day, his music still unites people all over the world some 250 years after his birth.
For travelers planning to visit Germany in 2020, here is a partial list of events taking place throughout the country this year. Combined with Passion Play in Oberammergau, 2020 promises to be an ideal year for making a pilgrimage to Beethoven’s homeland.
#DiscoverBeethoven is all about German destinations, scenery, and visions that influenced the grandmaster. Take a stroll in Beethoven’s footsteps. Throughout the year, you can be inspired by milestones in history, personal stories, outstanding events, innovative sound sensations, and unexpected perspectives:
NOW – Dec 17, 2020: Freiburg:
The city of Freiburg is home to a remarkable variety of orchestras, run by students for students. Eight of the best student symphony orchestras will be performing a series of concerts featuring all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies.
Mar 14 – May 3, 2020: Beethoven’s Mother’s House, a play, Koblenz, My son Ludwig:
#DiscoverBeethoven through this evocative play, performed in the house where Beethoven’s mother Maria Magdalena was born and where she died, features a pianist and the composer’s music.
Apr 14, 2020: Osnabrückhalle:
The German National Youth Orchestra begins its Easter session with Beethoven’s Third Symphony, Eroica, along with a new work by Mark Barden that was specially commissioned for BTHVN 2020 by the German Music Council.
Jun 12, 2020: Open-air opera at Schwerin Castle, Fidelio:
For the Schlossfestspiele festival, Beethoven’s only opera is performed against the magnificent backdrop of this historic residence set in the middle of a lake.
Jun 20, 2020: A celebration of #DiscoverBeethoven in the gardens of Rheinsberg Palace:
Distinguished ensembles and the up-and-coming young soloists of the Rheinsberg Chamber Opera perform in an outstanding event for the Beethoven anniversary year that links music and nature and features both famous and seldom-heard works.
Jul 5, 2020: MDR Summer of Music, Schloss Waldenburg, Young Talent 3:
Winners of the EnviaM music competition perform works by Beethoven and Dvořák with two MDR musicians, Vera and Norbert Hilger, at Schloss Waldenburg.
Aug 14, 2020, Kurhaus Wiesbaden / Aug 15, 2020, Tauber Philharmonic, Weikersheim / Aug 16, 2020, Kongress Palais, Kassel:
The German National Youth Orchestra and the World Youth Choir start their 2020 summer tour in Bonn. They will be combining Beethoven’s masterpiece with the premiere of a work by Chinese Composer Tan Dun.
Aug 30, 2020: #DiscoverBeethoven at The Ninth Symphony at the Festival Theatre, Bayreuth:
In 1872, Richard Wagner conducted the NinthtSymphony at the Margravial Opera House. The performance celebrating the laying of the foundation stone for the Festival Theater. There were further performances to mark the resumption of the festival in 1951. These were for the 150th anniversary of Wagner’s birth in 1963, and in 2001 for the 50th anniversary of the New Bayreuth.
Sep 6, 2020: Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg: Heiner Goebbels:
New Work. A cycle for the Ensemble Modern Orchestra (2020).
Dec 17, 2020: Final Concert of #DiscoverBeethoven Bonn Opera House:
Daniel Barenboim conducts the IX. Symphony with the West-Eastern-Divan Orchestra and the European Choral Association – Europa Cantat
Travelers interested in Beethoven the Man may want to view a large collection of Beethoven’s hearing aids. Including the special ear horn. The hearing devices can be viewed at the Beethoven House Museum in Bonn, Germany.
For more information contact the German National Tourist Board (GNTB)
When it comes to music, Ludwig van Beethoven was truly a sublime “symphony for the soul” in more ways than one.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
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