RADAR

Beethoven 2020: A Recap

During one year, the world of classical music has talked of no one else: Beethoven. A giant in the history of western music, there was no circumventing his 250th anniversary! From Fidelio, staged by the Salzburg Puppet Theatre, to the Beethoven Pianoforte Sessions and their series of online concerts, and the Hotel Beethoven exhibition, BOZAR’s anniversary programme bears witness to a year, which, despite the hardships caused by the COVID-19 crisis, that offered you memorable times. Here are a few photos of event highlights. Feel free to also share your best memories.

BOZAR did not wait until 2020 to pay tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven. As early as 2016, and for two consecutive seasons, Russian pianist Igor Levit performed the composer’s complete 32 piano sonatas. Then in 2018-2019, the nine symphonies took centre stage in a cycle of concerts involving all three federal cultural institutions: BOZAR, the La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra and the Belgian National Orchestra.

View this post on Instagram

#fernandleger

A post shared by C.G. Vasile (@lajorjetos) on

The Beethoven year at BOZAR began with an extraordinary project: the opera Fidelio, staged by the Salzburg Puppet Theatre. The prisoners’ chorus, and the famous arias of Leonore, Florestan and Marzelline were displayed by the breathtakingly lifelike pantomime of the wooden puppet troupe. The Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Choir also performed Beethoven’s only opera, in a semi-concert version.

View this post on Instagram

#fernandleger

A post shared by C.G. Vasile (@lajorjetos) on

Belgian and international orchestras, conductors and soloists, all paid tribute to Beethoven’s talent as a symphonist. The majestic chords of the Eroica surged from the brass of the Belgian National Orchestra; his Violin Concerto was revealed in all its grace in the hands of Stephen Waarts, accompanied by the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra; and the poignant cantabile of the Piano Concerto No. 3 found the perfect interpreter in Khatia Buniatishvili.

View this post on Instagram

#fernandleger

A post shared by C.G. Vasile (@lajorjetos) on

Alongside the symphonies, there was chamber music. Audiences were thrilled by the Faust-Queyras-Melnikov trio and the Zimmermann-Helmchen duo. The Quatuor Ébène made two memorable visits: in January 2020, as part of their tour of six continents, Beethoven around the World; and in December, the closing concert of the project was streamed live from the beautiful Henry le Bœuf Hall, sadly bereft of its beloved audience.

View this post on Instagram

#fernandleger

A post shared by C.G. Vasile (@lajorjetos) on

Unclassifiable projects, such as the fusion of film and music by Ana Torfs and the Ictus ensemble, or Aka Moon’s Opus 111, in which Beethoven’s last piano sonata provided the starting point for new, ultra-swinging jazz compositions, cast a contemporary light on the master’s music.

View this post on Instagram

#fernandleger

A post shared by C.G. Vasile (@lajorjetos) on

The highlight of the Beethoven Year was undoubtedly the Hotel Beethoven exhibition, organised as part of the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union, an immersion into the heart of the myth, an exploration of the relationship with deafness, and an ode to the composer’s humanist spirit.

View this post on Instagram

#fernandleger

A post shared by C.G. Vasile (@lajorjetos) on

To make up for the absence of concerts, the Beethoven Pianoforte Sessions and the Roll over Beethoven video brought the unique sound of the replica pianofortes – on display in the exhibition – into your home, with famous and emerging musicians displaying their inspiring technique and artistry.

View this post on Instagram

#fernandleger

A post shared by C.G. Vasile (@lajorjetos) on

To crown it all, musical events were topped off by inspiring discussions in the From here to Ear series, as well as a range of fun theme-based activities for young and old alike.

View this post on Instagram

#fernandleger

A post shared by C.G. Vasile (@lajorjetos) on

What about you? What were your highlights of the Beethoven 2020 programme at BOZAR? Tell us about them! Did you take photos before or after a concert? Did you try out our Hotel Beethoven activity sheets? Send us your best pictures. We’ll post them on Instagram.

See also

  • VISIT OUR EXHIBITIONS VIRTUALLY IN 3D

    You can now visit our exhibitions virtually. Via a 3D scan, your laptop or tablet screen will catapult you straight to the halls of one of our current exhibitions, but also past exhibitions can still be viewed here in 360°. Pick one, pick them all... but most of all, enjoy the ride!

    — published on
  • Online Concerts Series

    BEETHOVEN PIANOFORTE SESSIONS

    Listen to Beethoven’s music as it would have sounded in its day! The Beethoven Pianoforte Sessions, part of the HOTEL BEETHOVEN exhibition, offer the audience the subtle sounds of the fortepiano, the ancestor to the modern piano.

    — published on
  • Livestreams

    Beethoven - From Ear to Here

    What do orchestra director Philippe Herreweghe, writer Claudia Durastanti and psychiatrist Dirk De Wachter have in common? Undoubtedly, their passion for Beethoven’s music! The conference series Beethoven. From Ear to Here provides a kaleidoscope of perspectives. From the standpoint of Beethoven and his work, ten leading figures from wide-ranging backgrounds will reflect on the role of art in society, on artist engagement, and on listening and its role in democracy. The multiple viewpoints will give rise to a subjective and nuanced portrait of the German composer, as the world marks his 250th anniversary in 2020. The eight conferences will provide an in-depth look at Beethoven’s iconic stature and put his work into a present-day perspective.

    — published on
  • Beethoven Pianoforte Sessions for Kids

    Roll over Beethoven

    BOZAR joins forces with Jeugd en Muziek Brussel and the Jeunesses Musicales de Bruxelles to put together a video geared for children, their parents and grandparents, teachers and all those who want to experience Beethoven’s piano music other than just by listening. Explore the music with your hands, your body, through singing, playing or admiring the visual creations of illustrator Larissa Viaene.

    — published on
  • THEME 1: UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVITY

    EXPLORE OUR FAMILY ACTIVITIES AROUND BEETHOVEN

    This winter, take a family dive into the musical world of Beethoven. Our guides Laryssa, François and Adi have put together 3 thematic activity sheets – they will be available one at a time – about the Hotel Beethoven exhibition. Have a look at the first one and unleash your boundless creativity!

    — published on
  • BONN KICKS OFF BEETHOVEN 2020

    2020 will be Ludwig’s year. The world will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, and his native city of Bonn started early with the unveiling of a major exhibition about the composer on 17 December.

    read more
    — published on
  • Hotel Beethoven: A World Theatre

    With a major exhibition, numerous concerts, and a string of talks and literary events, birthday boy Beethoven is definitely the centre of attention at BOZAR this autumn. The ever changing icon is also the subject of 6 radically contemporary visual interpretations by artists from all over the world. The series of short films kicks off with a live-streamed event on September 29, 2020.

    — published on