The Philadelphia Orchestra celebrates Beethoven’s 250th birthday by performing his symphonies in dialogue with music by composers of today.
Experience all nine of Beethoven’s masterworks in a concentrated four-week period. And don’t miss all five piano concertos in three binge-worthy weeks with three of the world’s greatest pianists: Yefim Bronfman, Daniil Trifonov, and Emanuel Ax.
Reserve your individual tickets below, or create your own 3-concert package of BeethovenNOW performances.
You can also purchase a Beethoven Sunday Symphony Series package.
The Orchestra returns to the Academy of Music for its first subscription concerts since moving to Verizon Hall in 2001. It's a fitting venue for Rachmaninoff's nostalgic, romantic Symphony No. 3, premiered by the composer's cherished Philadelphians in 1936 on that very same stage, with Leopold Stokowski conducting. The gentle, lone piano chords that open the Fourth Concerto were a radical construct when Beethoven premiered the wide-ranging and emotional work in 1808. Yefim Bronfman says he's always been drawn to its tenderness.
Daniil Trifonov, the Orchestra's Grammy-winning recording partner, returns for four performances. Amplifying the programs are two underappreciated works by formidable women composers: Lili Boulanger, the first woman to win, in 1913, the prestigious Prix de Rome composition prize, and Louise Farrenc, whose Symphony No. 2 dialogues with Beethoven, and leaves us asking why her works are not a more integral part of the canon today.
Beethoven composed “the most positive music ever written,” with every work containing “every emotion known to man,” says Emanuel Ax, who completes our piano concerto cycle. Beethoven made his public debut with his Second Concerto, a dramatic, humorous, ebullient work that announced the young artist's arrival.
The indelible four-note opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony lays the foundation for a truly fateful symphonic journey. Written in 1804, and on the program when The Philadelphia Orchestra gave its first concert in 1900, it's an epic tour de force that resonates in 2020. Following its rousing conclusion come the verdant valleys and sweet smells of the woods and the Austrian countryside, an exposition of Beethoven's love of nature.
Beethoven was just beginning to go deaf when he wrote his Second Symphony and though he was losing his hearing, he was finding his voice. He could have composed a manifestation of despair, but instead gave the world one of his most ebullient and life-affirming works. The Third Symphony was groundbreaking, a turning point in the composer's oeuvre and a watershed in musical history.
Buoyant and humorous, the Eighth Symphony belies none of the composer's worsening health issues or what had to be the devastating end of a love affair, detailed in a famous letter written around the same time to his “Immortal Beloved.” Perhaps the least known, the Fourth was widely admired: Schumann compared it to “a slender Greek maiden” between the two “Norse giants” of the Third and Fifth; Berlioz insisted it was the work of an angel.
Beethoven was just 25 when he wrote his First Symphony. Delightful and high-spirited, floating on strains of Mozart and Haydn, it's a fascinating glimpse of the greatness and genius to come—all on full, glorious display in the climactic Ninth. Written just a few short years before his death, Beethoven's profound ode to brotherhood, salvation, and pure joy reminds us why we are here as an orchestra, says Yannick, and why we constantly try to make our world better by playing music.
In a season presenting all nine of Beethoven's symphonies, and all five of his piano concertos, we can't ignore his solo piano pieces, some of the most unforgettable music ever written. From the “Pathétique” with its echoes of Mozart to the “Eroica” Variations, using thematic material from his Third Symphony, to the innovative D-minor and the heroic and technically challenging “Waldstein,” this brief survey underscores yet again Beethoven's monumental musical genius.
Please note: The Philadelphia Orchestra does not perform on this concert.
This concert is a co-presentation from Kimmel Center and The Philadelphia Orchestra.
Yannick reprises a highlight of our season's Beethoven celebration for a special, one-night-only performance of two masterpieces. The indelible four-note opening of the Fifth Symphony lays the foundation for a truly fateful symphonic journey. Written in 1804, and on the program when The Philadelphia Orchestra gave its first concert in 1900, it's an epic tour de force that resonates in 2020. Following its rousing conclusion come the verdant valleys and sweet smells of the woods and the Austrian countryside, an exposition of Beethoven's love of nature.