Wednesday 8 January 2020

Why is Beethoven still relevant today? - Royal Northern Sinfonia's Beethoven 2020: The Next Generation series in Middlesbrough Town Hall

Royal Northern Sinfonia: Beethoven 2020 The Next Generation
On 23 January 2020, the Royal Northern Sinfonia will launch a five-concert series at Middlesbrough Town Hall celebrating Beethoven's Centenary, Beethoven 2020: The Next Generation performing all nine symphonies over the course of 11 months. As part of the series, the orchestra held a Young Composers Competition involving university and conservatoire students from across the UK and the winners, who each wrote a piece influenced by Beethoven's body of work, will see their pieces performed alongside Beethoven's symphonies at the concerts. Each concert is being directed by a young conductor, under 35.

The series of concerts aims to elicit a contemporary response to both interpretation and relevance of Beethoven’s work by asking the next generation of conductors and composers: 'Why is Beethoven still relevant today?'.

Thorben Dittes, director of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, answers the question thus, 'Beethoven’s music still inspires young conductors and composers today and has the potential to engage the widest possible audience. The aim of Beethoven 2020: The Next Generation is to involve emerging artists passionate about Beethoven, to take this music out into the region, and to spark a response to the interpretation of these masterpieces.'

The opening concert on 23 January 2020 sees Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 3 'Eroica'  performed with one of the competition winners, conducted by Dinis Sousa. The final concert of the series on 12 November 2020 will feature Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3 and Symphony No. 9 Choral, plus a new commission from Kristina Arakelyan.

Middlesbrough Town Hall (Photo Brian Stubley)
Middlesbrough Town Hall (Photo Brian Stubley)
A Grade 2 listed building, Middlesbrough Town Hall was built in 1889; in the French Gothic style it was one of the last major Gothic Revival town halls to be built. The Victorian concert hall still has its original 1898 organ and it has hosted Sergei Rachmaninov, Johann Strauss and Sir Edward Elgar. Reopening after refurbishment in 2018, the Town Hall is now a cultural hub. It holds a Classical Café event each month consisting of musical events in an informal, relaxed setting, aiming to open up the world of classical music to everyone.

Full details from Middlesbrough Town Hall website.

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