Few composers changed the course of western music history like Ludwig van Beethoven. Today, he remains one of the world's most admired and recognizable composers. Having started composing in 1783 at 12 years old, Beethoven composed over 770 pieces of music, including nine famous symphonies. Could you imagine writing over 17 new works every year for 44 years? Well, from concert halls to cartoons and TV commercials, Beethoven's music ranks amongst the most performed of the classical repertoire.
This December 2020 marks Beethoven's 250th Birthday, although no one knows the exact day of his birth. What we do know is that Beethoven was baptized, on December 17, 1770, at his family's church in Bonn, Germany. Beethoven was born into an ordinary middle-class 18th-century family. His mother, Maria Magdalena van Beethoven raised him and his five siblings, and his father, Johann, was a court musician.
Throughout his entire life, Beethoven was an enterprising composer and musician. Beethoven was an entrepreneur and a maverick who knew that music needed to change, excite, and evolve. He knew what audiences liked to hear and found ways to make it better. Critics often say that Beethoven found ways to take tired music traditions and transform them into grand centerpieces. While Beethoven wasn't rich, he knew how to manage his finances and sell his music to make a living. Like today, Beethoven and many other composers relied on patrons to commission new compositions. Beethoven built working relationships and partnerships with patrons who valued his music and maverick spirit. After he failed at his first attempt to write a symphony, Beethoven persevered and tried again several months later. The result was Symphony No. 1, op. 21. He dedicated the work to his most clamorous supporter, Baron Gottfried van Swieten.
Beethoven began working on his first symphony in the spring of 1797 when he was 27 years old. The composition premiered three years later on April 2, 1800. You can hear the influences and traditions of Beethoven's teacher, Franz Joseph Haydn, and his predecessor W.A. Mozart. But, "Beethoven's First" was uniquely Beethoven and composed for the new century. This monumental work would be the beginning of a legacy that span over two centuries.
Celebrate the genius of Beethoven on Thursday, December 3, 2020 with ESYO at the Tutti! Virtual Festival. Music Director Carlos Ágreda and ESYO Symphony Orchestra's Symphony Classical return to the stage to perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 1, just days before Beethoven's 250th Birthday.
Tickets on sale now at esyo.org. All concerts are live-recorded at Proctors Mainstage and streamed to audiences in ESYO's Virtual Concert Hall. Buy your ticket for as little as $1 and enjoy the performance from the comfort of your own home.