Symphony Wants Houstonians to "Experience Beethoven"

Beethoven is coming to town for a full-day musical experience at the Houston Symphony. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports, the Symphony is delving into the music and life of the world's most famous composer.

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Beethoven's music is among the most recognized, loved and over-played. But Houston Symphony Music Director Hans Graf says Beethoven was the obvious choice to showcase on March 8th in an all-day festival of performances and lectures. When asked "why Beethoven?" Graf's answer is "why not?"

"Beethoven probably is, besides his music, an incredible example of overcoming trouble in life -- physical, social, trouble with authority which he could not stand -- and still in a very unstable phsyical condition of his body, of his aging body, writing some of the most stable music of music history."

The day-long Experience Beethoven festival will explore some of the composers most famous works, including a deconstruction of Symphony No. 5.

"This day is not just about Beethoven's music as we currently know it, it's about the stories and the context behind the music."

That's Houston Symphony Executive Director Matthew VanBesein. He says this program is designed to appeal to classical music afficianado's and long-time symphony supporters, but also expose the genre to newcomers.

"It's going to be a very friendly day in terms of the environment, in terms of the way the concerts and lectures are set up. People will be able to come and go. We'll have food and refreshments available here in the hall. We want to create the most friendly environment so that people can really experience Jones Hall and the Houston Symphony maybe for the first time."

The Beethoven Experience will also include a morning program for children, an exhibit of Beethoven artifacts and an evening viewing of the film Immortal Beloved. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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