Seattle Symphony kicks off “Digital Beethoven Fest” on June 22, 2020. The week-long celebration will commemorate Beethoven’s 250th birthday.
The online Beethoven festival features hosted panel discussions by Symphony musicians and staff with local artists and composers. There will also be special symphony performances throughout the week.
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About Seattle Symphony Beethoven Festival
Before Benaroya Hall’s closure due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Symphony’s Beethoven Festival was originally planned as a major feature of the 2019–2020 season. The original festival included four commissioned compositions to have their world premieres alongside performances of all nine Beethoven symphonies.
In recent years, the Symphony has curated community-driven artistic projects to amplify the voices and stories of marginalized populations here. Past collaborations include Prism Project with youth from Accelerator YMCA, Lost and Found with Path with Art, We Are the Art with Plymouth Housing Group, and Lullaby Project in partnership with Mary’s Place.
As originally conceived, Music Director Thomas Dausgaard and the Seattle Symphony worked in close collaboration with many valued partners to perform at the Beethoven Festival. These partners included the Seattle Symphony Community Youth Chorus, local Native American communities, and Northwest Center & Best Buddies.
Of the four commissioned works that were to premiere during the original Beethoven Festival, three are Community Compositions created in partnership with local composers alongside high school vocal students, members from local Native American communities, and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The commissioned works included:
- Local composer Angelique Poteat and the Seattle Symphony Community Youth Chorus commpleted “Dear Humanity” for Youth Chorus & Orchestra, through a series of workshops with students aged 14–18.
- Local composer Janice Giteck, in partnership with Native American artists Swil Kanim and Paul Chiyokten Wagner, completed a new piece, “Potlatch Symphony 2020”, through a series of collaborative cultural exchanges.
- Local composer Charles Corey and clients of Northwest Center & Best Buddies partnered to compose a new work, Together, This Journey.
- The fourth commission features a collaboration between the Symphony’s Composer in Residence Tyshawn Sorey and Artist in Residence Seth Parker Woods in a new work for cello and orchestra by Sorey titled “For Roscoe Mitchell”.
While the orchestra cannot gather as originally planned, the artists and community partners will join virtually for “Digital Beethoven Fest” to share in music and conversation that explores Beethoven’s legacy and his continued relevance in the present day.
As our community confronts the current global health crisis, the Seattle Symphony will continue sharing performances that provide strength, comfort, and joy through video rebroadcasts and livestreams until the orchestra can return to the Benaroya Hall stage. For information, visit seattlesymphony.org/live.
Donate to Seattle Symphony
Inspired by the orchestra’s dedication to serving the community, more than 6,000 people have stepped forward with a donation since the closure of Benaroya Hall. These funds support the Seattle Symphony Future Fund, providing critical resources to ensure a bright future for symphonic music in our community.
The Seattle Symphony looks forward to welcoming audiences back to Benaroya Hall again very soon and wishes everyone health and comfort in the coming weeks.
To learn more about how to support the Seattle Symphony or to make a donation, visit seattlesymphony.org/give.
About Digital Beethoven Fest
Though the originally scheduled concerts cannot proceed at this time, the Seattle Symphony invites the public to partake in free online events and performances for the weeklong “Digital Beethoven Fest”.
The Seattle Symphony’s Digital Beethoven Fest is presented in partnership with Goethe Pop Up Seattle, supported by a grant from the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts.
In addition to the their regular broadcast lineup on the Seattle Symphony’s YouTube channel, three panel discussions will be hosted by Seattle Symphony Vice President of Artistic Planning Raff Wilson:
- Monday, June 22, at 2 p.m. Music Director Thomas Dausgaard opens Digital Beethoven Fest by introducing audiences to background on the festival, ongoing community partnerships, and Community Composition projects. Native American musician, storyteller and activist Paul Chiyokten Wagner, who is a collaborator on Potlatch Symphony 2020, will join Dausgaard in conversation around culture, place and shared humanist values at the core of Beethoven and local Native American narratives. Join the discussion on the Seattle Symphony YouTube channel.
- Wednesday, June 24, at 2 p.m. Composer Angelique Poteat and Community Youth Chorus Director Megan McCormick will lead a discussion on Dear Humanity, the new work composed by Poteat and the chorus. Dear Humanity focuses on climate change and its effects on youth today. Christine Siegert, Beethoven scholar and Publishing Director at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany, will also join the conversation to share her expertise. Join the discussion on the Seattle Symphony YouTube channel.
- Friday, June 26, at 2 p.m. Composer Charles Corey and Seattle Symphony Principal Oboe Mary Lynch join to discuss Together, This Journey, the composition written by Corey in collaboration with clients of Northwest Center and Best Buddies. Lynch, who has worked with the program this season along with fellow musicians, will share her personal experience of her Best Buddies partnership. The conversation will explore how Beethoven challenged the traditional role of the composer and how Together, This Journey challenges the idea of who gets to be a composer today. Join the discussion on the Seattle Symphony YouTube channel.
In addition to these special panel discussions, the Symphony will share performances by members of the orchestra and Beethoven Festival partner artists throughout the week. Find these special performances on the Seattle Symphony YouTube channel.
- Thursday, June 25, at 7:30pm. Selections from Dvořák New World Symphony. Listen to the performance on the Seattle Symphony YouTube channel.
- Saturday, June 27, at 8pm. Selections from Dvořák New World Symphony. Listen to the performance on the Seattle Symphony YouTube channel.
- Sunday, June 28, at 2pm. Selections from Dvořák New World Symphony. Listen to the performance on the Seattle Symphony YouTube channel.
For more information about Digital Beethoven Fest, visit: https://seattlesymphonypress.squarespace.com/pressreleases/2020/digital-beethoven-fest.
Calendar of free live music events
The following events include free and no cover live music events in all genres. We try to have a few free live music events on the calendar every weekend.
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Sunday, September 26, 2021
Sunday, October 3, 2021
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Sunday, October 17, 2021
Sunday, October 24, 2021
Sunday, October 31, 2021
Sunday, November 7, 2021
Sunday, November 14, 2021
But wait, there’s more!
- Our big list of live music venues (all genres).
- Our big list of music festivals in Washington State.
- Here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- More free and cheap things to do every day: Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Still more ideas for frugal fun: Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page.
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