Ludwig van Beethoven

Imagine you're a teenager in Beijing in the 1960s and '70s, during the Cultural Revolution. Everything that's deemed Western and bourgeois is banned — so listening to a 78 rpm recording of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, powerfully transformative as it might be, is off limits.

Credit Mathias Botho

Join us to hear the first concert in The Philadelphia Orchestra’s "Music of Vienna" series, recorded live last January at Verizon Hall. Pianist Jan Lisiecki, an audience favorite at only 20 years old, will be the soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4.

Mention the music of Vienna, and some of us automatically think of a waltz. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, the city was a musical magnet for composers, especially from the late 18th century through the 19th and beyond.


Portrait by Thomas Hardy, 1791

Join us on Sunday from 5 to 6 pm as we present August’s concert broadcast by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, opening with an archival recording made at the Walnut Street Theater, with the orchestra’s founder and then–music director Marc Mostovoy conducting. Current music director Dirk Brossé conducts the second half of the program, which was recorded at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater in February, 2011.

Discovering Beethoven?

Mar 2, 2016

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday, March 5th, 5 to 6 pm... It's a composer we’ve barely touched on in Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, and with good reason. Beethoven isn’t a discovery to us (although, thankfully, people new to classical music discover him all the time).

The Heiligenstadt Testament, a letter and directive written by Beethoven to his brothers in October, 1802, is an important missive, opened after the composer's death in 1827.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s "Les Adieux" or "The Farewell" sonata (Piano Sonata No. 26) is considered the composer's most significant work from the period between 1809 - 1810. It was a time when the Napoleonic Wars continued to bring upheaval to Beethoven’s adopted city of Vienna, the surrounding region, and beyond.

All composers have obsessions. For John Adams, a composer who decidedly broke with the past, that obsession is Beethoven, as heard in the new album Absolute Jest.

Every great piece of music has a story behind it. Telling those stories and performing those works has become an all-consuming career and a popular concert format for pianist Jeffery Siegel.  WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Siegel's Keyboard Conversations.


Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts works by Haydn, Beethoven, and Vaughan Williams on this Sunday's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast - a live concert recording from March, 2015 at Verizon Hall.

You'll hear one of Haydn’s most ambitious essays, the Symphony No. 92, known as the “Oxford” because he conducted a performance at the illustrious University in July 1791, when he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music.

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