International Beethoven Festival Returns To Chicago

Whether you know classical music or not, you do know Beethoven. The legendary composer is worthy of his own festival, and he’s got one. This year the Beethoven Festival returns to Chicago from September 8 through September 16 at the National Pasttime Theater in Uptown, and the theme is Revolution 2012. The schedule is yet to be announced, but today they unveiled the opening and closing concerts. If these are any indication, this is one festival that’s not to be missed.

Maestro Daniel Boico, returning from last year, and the Beethoven Festival Orchestra will kick off the nine day festival with a specially commissioned World Premiere: “Festival Overture” by New York City’s prize-winning composer David Winkler, who will be in attendance. Grammy® Award winning Canadian violinist James Ehnes – a favorite of Chicago audiences – will then take the stage to perform Beethoven’s beloved Violin Concerto, Opus 60. After an intermission, the Beethoven Festival Orchestra will conclude the evening with Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Opus 62 and the composer’s Second Symphony, Opus 36.

The Closing Concert on the afternoon of Sunday, September 16th will feature the (family-friendly)Chicago Premiere of the fully-staged production of Beethoven’s ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, Opus 43, two hundred and eleven years after its first staging in Vienna. Dancer and choreographer Ted Seymour will create a unique choreodrama inspired by the original choreography of Salvatore Vigano, with guest star dancers including Joffrey Ballet’s Abigail Simon and members of Ballet Chicago. Maestro Matthias Pintscher, prize-winning German composer and newly-appointed Music Director of the Ensemble InterContemporain of Paris (founded by Pierre Boulez), will make his Chicago conducting debut at the head of the Beethoven Festival Orchestra for Beethoven’s ballet, followed after an intermission by Beethoven’s Symphony Nr. 3, “Eroica” Opus 55. The pairing of the complete Creatures of Prometheus with the Eroica Symphony will also be a first in Chicago, showcasing the very close musical and socio-political connections between the two revolutionary masterpieces.

To cap the Closing Concert and festival in a grand celebration, Beethoven’s ecstatic Choral Fantasy for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra Opus 80 will be performed with Beethoven Festival Artistic DirectorGeorge Lepauw at the piano, the Chicago Children’s Choir and the Beethoven Festival Orchestra led by Josephine Lee.

Tickets will go on sale at the beginning of August, and you can find more information at the International Beethoven Project.


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