Wednesday 5 May 2021

Beethoven 251: celebrating both Beethoven's symphonies and London's talented young musicians

Palais Lobkowitz (on the left) in Vienna; painting by Bernado Bellotto, about 1760
Palais Lobkowitz (on the left) in Vienna, location of the first private performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3
painting by Bernado Bellotto, about 1760

When I read about this concert series, my first thought was what a brilliant idea. Across a week (28 June to 2 July), James Henshaw and the Outcry Ensemble are presenting Beethoven 251: Festival of Symphonies, performing Beethoven's first eight symphonies, two each evening at St John's Waterloo.

The project is as much about the musicians as it is about Beethoven and his music. The Outcry Ensemble is made up of young professionals who will be returning to work after, for many, a year of no live music, and every pound from ticket sales will go directly towards the musicians’ fees. As all of the musicians who play for the ensemble are self-employed, this project wants to kickstart the return to live music-making and look forward to a recovery of London’s musical ecosystem, which is so reliant on the freelance workforce.

Each concert will be preceded by an informal talk between James Henshaw and an invited guest, discussing the pairings, as well as the overall journey of the symphony cycle. The Outcry Ensemble hopes to finish the cycle with the seminal ninth symphony in a special community event in late summer. 

Full details from the festival website.

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