Beethoven 250 programme 2020

A series of concerts, masterclasses and lectures Lent and Summer Term 2020

Masterclass with Gina McCormack Tuesday 25 February 3.00pm Recital Room

A Message from the Master

The musicians of Dulwich College are delighted and honoured to be playing their part in the 250th anniversary commemoration of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. In celebrating Beethoven, we are doing far more than drawing attention to the life and work of a great composer. We will be exploring the Romantic ideal of the Artist as Hero and considering the nature of Revolution (both cultural and political) and the idea of Liberty. I might also suggest we will be made to reflect on what it is to be European, at an important moment in our national history and in the history of the progress (or otherwise) of humanity.

Violinist Gina McCormack has given regular solo performances at Wigmore Hall, South Bank Centre and internationally. She was the leader of the Sorrel and Maggini Quartets before joining the Brodsky Quartet as first violin in May 2019. She is a professor at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Lunchtime Concert Wednesday 26 February 1.30pm Christ’s Chapel Dulwich College chamber groups perform a varied programme of Beethoven and his contemporaries. Music Award Holders annual trip: Brodsky Quartet Concert Thursday 27 February 6.45pm Kings Place Dulwich College’s music award holders will head to Kings Place to hear Gina McCormack and the Brodksy Quartet perform Beethoven’s sublime String Quartet Op 132 as part of their Rush-Hour Lates series. Tickets free for Music Award holders. General tickets available via Kings Place.

That leads me to another consideration. Albeit composing at the beginning of the age of nationalism, Beethoven’s work transcended national and ethnic boundaries. His vision was more spacious than that of composers whose work, however universal it became, was defined by their advocacy of their own national heritage, be it Verdi in Italy or Wagner in Germany or Dvorak or Janacek in their homelands. I hope you will engage with and enjoy as many aspects of our Beethoven 250 programme as possible, be it the masterclasses and lectures, or the performances by eminent musicians or the opportunity to hear our own musicians play Beethoven’s music. What I hope we capture in this wide-ranging programme of talks and concerts is the extraordinary scope and variety of Beethoven’s work. The popular image of the composer can be of the Promethean tortured artist and evidence to support this view can be found if the one hears only the sturm und drang works in Beethoven’s vast repertoire. That there was more to his work than this, and that his innovations and influence went beyond early 19th century German Romanticism, is captured beautifully in lines from the poet Gabriel Seidl: “He teaches us new jubilation, new laments, new prayer and new jests”. My grateful thanks to Mr Luis Pares, Dulwich College’s Head of Keyboard and Music Partnerships co-ordinator, for the time and thought he has put into constructing our Beethoven 250 programme. It is very fitting that the opportunities we are providing for our own pupils and the wider Dulwich College community are also open to pupils and teachers from our many valued partner schools and I hope they take up our invitations in great numbers too.

Dr Joe Spence The Master, Dulwich College

Music Assemblies Wednesday 4 March - Lower School Monday 9 March - Middle School Wednesday 11 March - Junior School Monday 16 March - Upper School

Masterclass with Patsy Toh Monday 2 March 2.00pm Old Library Kicking off the Beethoven Piano Sonata week, we are delighted to welcome Professor Patsy Toh from the Royal Academy of Music, also Visiting Professor in conservatoires in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. Her performance career has taken her around the world and her students are regular prize winners in national and international competitions.

Aquinas Trio

Lunchtime Concerts: Beethoven Piano Sonatas From Tuesday 3 to Friday 6 March 1.30pm Lower Hall

Listen to Dulwich College’s pianists performing a selection of Beethoven Piano Sonatas in preparation for their marathon performance on Sunday 8 March in Oxford.

Aquinas Trio: Concert and Masterclass Wednesday 11 March 1.30pm, Old Library - Lunchtime Concert 2.45pm, Old Library - Masterclass

The 32 Piano Sonatas Sunday 8 March 9.30am - 10pm Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford Over 25 Dulwich College pianists and staff members of the Keyboard Faculty head to Oxford to join forces with Radley College, St Helen’s and St Katharine’s Oxford and St Paul’s Girls’ School to perform all 32 sonatas and the 3 early sonatas. International concert pianists Julian Jacobson and Sofya Gulyak will perform as special guests.

The Aquinas Trio was formed in 2009 and has become one of the UK’s leading ensembles. Their overall fluidity and confidence is matched with exquisite virtuosity from all players, flawless unity and movement. The Aquinas will work with selected chamber groups in the afternoon after their lunchtime concert, which will include Beethoven’s intricate Ghost Trio Op 70 No 1.

Lunchtime Concert Thursday 12 March 1.45pm Lower Hall

Tickets available at the door or at

Two of our senior Music Scholars perform their ARSM Diploma programmes (oboe and singing), taking us through a journey of music and poetry before and after Beethoven.

Lunchtime Concert Wednesday 18 March 1.30pm Christ’s Chapel

Beethoven Study Day The Pathétique Sonata Tuesday 17 March 4.00pm, Old Library

Orchestral Concert Friday 24 April 7.00pm, All Saints Church, West Dulwich Beethoven’s Symphony No 1 in C major starts in everything but the home key! A slow introduction displays a sequence of cadences, all in the “wrong” key, until the start of the Allegro con brio. The first movement of this ambitious symphony will be performed along other orchestral works by Mozart and other influential composers. Summer Term

Dulwich College singers perform songs by Beethoven and his contemporaries

Spring Choral Concert Friday 20 March 7.00pm Southwark Cathedral

Open to all SSLP schools, the afternoon will be dedicated to the study of Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata. The lecture has been designed to further develop the analytical skills needed for the Listening and Appraising units of GCSE and A Level and will consist of a detailed analysis of its structure, composition techniques and other major features with live examples at the piano.

Dulwich College Choir and Dulwich College Madrigal Choir perform Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia Op 80 and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem. The Choral Fantasia was written as the finale for an epic concert in December 1808, which saw the premieres of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies and Fourth Piano Concerto. Brahms, a composer deeply influenced by Beethoven, finished writing his extraordinary Requiem exactly 60 years later in 1868.

“From the heart……..”: the creation of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, op. 123’

Lecture by Professor Nicholas Marston Tuesday 17 March 6.30pm Auditorium

Tickets available at

Vice-Provost, Praelector, and Director of Studies in Music of King’s College, Cambridge, Professor Nicholas Marston will explore one of Beethoven’s greatest and most complex works, the Missa solmemnis Op 123, which he embarked on writing 200 years ago.

Founder’s Day Concert Saturday 27 June

Tickets available at

Tickets available at

Beethoven 250 festival comes to a conclusion with a performance of the last movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, arguably his most famous work.

Spring Chamber Concert Monday 23 March 7.00pm Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square

Tickets will be available in the Summer term

The chamber music programme of this season ends with a celebration of Beethoven’s chamber works including his Piano Trio Op 1 No 1, Quintet for Piano and Winds Op 16, Clarinet Trio Op 11 and works by composers who influenced or were influenced by Beethoven, including Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, and Brahms.

Key to Events:

Alleynians only Open to the public -Ticketed Open to the public - Free

Dates and times are correct at time of going to press but please check the College Website or contact the Music Department on 020 8299 9258 for further details.

Tickets available at

With thanks to: Anthony Williams, Head of Keyboard and Instrumental Music, Radley College Coach House Pianos SSLP - Southwark Schools Learning Partnership Yamaha Music Europe

Dulwich College Dulwich Common, London, SE21 7LD Email: Web: Registered Charity No 1150064

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