The activities of the Wiener Symphoniker in the anniversary year 2020 will be as lively, varied and versatile as the works of Ludwig van Beethoven. “Beethoven belongs to all” will be the theme of the Vienna celebrations on the 250th anniversary of the birth of the godfather of classical music, pervading also the offering by the orchestra, be it through outstanding concerts or opera performances, music education projects or the use of the (latest) media. No wonder: after all, with its “Road to Beethoven” project, the City’s Orchestra has been preparing for these celebrations meticulously for several seasons. By way of example, the first symphony cycle recorded on CD will be available right on time for the beginning of the celebrations, directed by Chief Conductor Philippe Jordan in concerts at the Musikverein concert hall, which were frenetically celebrated both by international critics and the audience.
The most popular symphonies will also take centre stage in the concert activities of the Orchestra in 2020, besides the instrumental concertos. After the traditional New Year’s Concerts with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the Wiener Symphoniker will perform Symphonies Nos. 3, 5, 6 and 7, along with the Piano Concertos and the Violin Concerto, in Vienna and on international tours, under the direction of Philippe Jordan and with the collaboration of other world stars, such as Rudolf Buchbinder, Igor Levit, or Isabelle Faust. The first big highlight of the programme at the beginning of January will be the reconstruction of the legendary Orchestral Academy of 1808 at the Wiener Konzerthaus and also in Paris. At the traditional TV-Easter Concert, “Springtime in Vienna”, seldom heard songs by Beethoven will be presented under the baton of Manfred Honeck, and Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, will be staged at the Theater an der Wien by Academy-Award Winner Christoph Waltz.
Moreover, the Orchestra will also leave its well-established venues and set up new educational offerings and platforms with the aim of bringing Beethoven’s music to the City and to the people: for instance, Beethoven’s works will feature prominently in the traditional free open air concert “Festival of Joy”, held at Heldenplatz square in Vienna on 8th May.
Young Symphony, the music education project of the Wiener Symphoniker, will explore, amongst other things, the links between Beethoven and Syrian folk music on the music freighter BTHVN2020. Also, there will be music education programmes set up in cooperation with the Wien Museum / Beethoven House, visits to dress rehearsals and artist talks for Vienna school classes.
But, in addition to the TV transmissions of its concerts on ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) and Arte (European culture TV channel) during the Beethoven year, the Wiener Symphoniker will also break new ground on the media front: in 2020, in an immersive experience, visitors to the Vienna Secession Building can also admire Gustav Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze, which will be accompanied by the final movement from Symphony No. 9.
Furthermore, a voice application for Alexa and Google Home, developed in conjunction with the Vienna Tourist Board, will offer an opportunity to track the most important stations of Beethoven’s life in Vienna in an exciting and fanciful radio play full of music examples.
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