June 11–28, 2020
Born in a time of revolution and upheaval, Ludwig van Beethoven transformed the role of an artist in society. In celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday in the year 2020, Thomas Dausgaard invites community members to the stage as artists, composers and performers. Over three weeks, the orchestra will perform all nine symphonies alongside music created, inspired or performed by the community. Together we will hear Beethoven’s music through the lens of four world premieres which uniquely reflect our time and place. PLUS: Beethoven Festival passes now available! Choose 3, 4 or 6 concerts and enjoy special benefits like FREE ticket exchanges, restaurant discounts and savings over single ticket prices.CALENDAR
Why Beethoven, Why Now?
In celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday in the year 2020, the Seattle Symphony joins musical organizations around the world in mounting anniversary celebrations. The Seattle Symphony’s Beethoven Festival promises to be a major event for the community, culminating in season-long creative work that puts community members at the forefront in exploring Beethoven’s continued relevance to modern society. In the space of three weeks, the orchestra will perform all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies alongside new works created, inspired or performed by community members.
Expanding the Canon
Born out of a time of revolution and upheaval, Beethoven transformed the role of an artist in society and the fundamental role of music as a mode of self-expression. In Seattle, we’re exploring the role of an orchestra in its community and using composition to connect with our region, which is in a period of dramatic change. Audiences will hear Beethoven’s symphonies through the lens of four world premieres which reflect our time and our place, and that we hope will transform our understanding of who we are and why symphonic music is such a critical component of modern self-expression.
Benaroya Hall and the Seattle Symphony live on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish people. As we reflect on the past 250 years of Beethoven’s legacy, we also reflect on the past of our region and look ahead towards the future of music. We’re asking what it means to be in and of this time in history, what it means to be a Pacific Northwesterner and who is granted access to a place in the Symphony’s program book. To tell these stories, we’re partnering with regional native tribes, teens across King County, local composers, Northwest Center and Best Buddies.
Ludwig van Beethoven was inspired by the natural world, which you can hear reflected in his works. Many of the community compositions are also inspired by nature — from youth exploring their anxiety around climate change to the ancient promises of the Coast Salish peoples to our Earth, Beethoven inspires us to think critically about our shared planet.
"How happy I am to be able to wander among bushes and herbs, under trees and over rocks; no man can love the country as I love it. Woods, trees and rocks send back the echo that man desires." – Ludwig van Beethoven