Thursday 11 October 2012

"It seemed to me impossible to leave this world before I had completed that for which I was destined"

You may recognise the title of this post as a quotation from Beethoven's Heiligenstadt Testament. There is a conference at the Southbank on 27 and 28 October 2012 which seeks to explore Beethoven's dilemma. Entitled The Beethoven Question: Can Art Make Life Worth Living, the conference organised by The Musical Brain, is led by the writer and broadcaster Stephen Johnson and the artistic director is Ian Ritchie, director of the City of London Festival.

Speakers will include TV and radio presenter John Suchet, composers Nigel Osborne and Lloyd Coleman, members of the department of Biosystems Data Analysis at Amsterdam University, Dr Paul Whittaker founder of Music and the Deaf, Professor Richard Stokes and many more. Nigel Osborne has pioneered the use of music therapy to help children traumatised by war, and Lloyd Coleman, who was a prize-winner three years running in the BBC Young Composers' Competition, has a moderate to severe hearing impairment.

The talks include recent research into Beethoven's deafness, the role of art in coping with sensory impairment, panel discussions on the need to compose, the need to perform, the need to listen and can art make life worth living.

Just to prove that music can make life worth living, the Sacconi Quartet will be playing Beethoven Quartets, along with Lloyd Coleman's String Quartet, and Beethoven folk song arrangements with Stephan Loges. Loges will also sing An die ferne geliebte and Ian Brown will be playing two Beethoven piano sonatas.

Further information from the Southbank Centre website and The Musical Brain website

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