Wigmore Hall builds towards the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth in December 2020 with Beethoven 250, an ambitious, season-long celebration, covering almost all of Beethoven’s instrumental and chamber works, and examining the composer’s legacy. This major Beethoven strand is the most comprehensive of its type in the country during this anniversary year.
The Beethoven 250 celebrations commence at the start of Wigmore Hall’s 2019/20 season with a Beethoven Festival Weekend on 14 & 15 September. The weekend features leading artists offering a wide range of perspectives on Beethoven – his music, his health, and the composers who were influenced by him.
Steven Isserlis and Robert Levin (on fortepiano) open the Beethoven Festival Weekend on 14th September, performing Beethoven cello sonatas and variations. The innovative O/Modernt chamber ensemble, directed from the violin by Hugo Ticciati, give five themed recitals over the weekend exploring Beethoven’s convalescence from illness (in his Heiliger Dankgesang), his immortal beloved, and also the influence Beethoven had on Brahms and composers stretching into the 20th century. Guest artists joining the ensemble include baritone Benjamin Appl, pianists Tim Horton, Kristian Bezuidenhout and Cédric Tiberghien, violinist Carolin Widmann, soprano Soraya Mafi, the Škampa Quartet, and baritone Mark Stone.
The Beethoven Festival Weekend also welcomes Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien performing violin sonatas by Beethoven and Janáček, and the Škampa Quartet with Jakub Fišer performing two of Beethoven’s string quartets.
A particular highlight of the Beethoven Festival Weekend promises to be a varied programme of Beethoven’s works conceived for unusual combinations of instruments presented by a glittering line-up of prominent musicians including Michael Collins (clarinet), Janne Thomson (flute), Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Amy Harman (bassoon), Alec Frank-Gemmil (horn), Benjamin Baker (violin), Timothy Ridout (viola), Isang Enders (cello), Jordi Carrasco-Hjelm (double bass) and Aleksander Madžar (piano).
The Beethoven Festival Weekend draws to a close on 15 September with a late-evening performance by Elisabeth Leonskaja, widely-regarded as one of the finest Beethoven interpreters, playing the composer’s final three piano sonatas.