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Happy 250th Birthday to Beethoven!


We have heard his music in countless movies, operas, pop songs and even Bugs Bunny cartoons, and now we can send a message to say #HappyBirthdayLudwig on Beethoven’s 250th birthday (you can write your own message here that will be stored permanently at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn). The International Beethoven Project (“IBP”) founded by classical musician and composer George Lepauw is celebrating Beethoven’s 250th Birthday as part of a global celebration taking places in countries all over the world. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, however, most of the celebrations will take place virtually. But that also allows you to join in the international festivities. In the United States, you can watch the stream on IBP’s Facebook page or on its website. The Birthday Bash streams at 1pm CT in Chicago today, December 17th, in the first video embedded below. (Beethoven was born on December 16th, and baptized December 17th.) 

The livestream events feature performances by George Lepauw, Christian Larumbe, Joel Styzens, Gilles Aniorte Tomassian and Damian el Diamantito Fatimi, Rashada Dawan and the Chicago Soul Spectacular (performing a song I wrote entitled “I Remember People“), Greg Spero, Juliette Journaux and Naomi Couquet, Brett Noel Klersfeld, Stéphane Delplace, Isaiah Robinson, Consuelo Lepauw, Jan Hugo and Silent Theatre. Films that will be screened during the festivities include Majd Nassan’s “Beethoven in Vienna” and Valentine Jongen’s “Beethoven in Love,” while today’s livestream concludes with Martin Mirabel’s “The Diabelli Variations,” which features a performance by George Lepauw that took place in Beethoven’s house. You can find a full list of the featured visual artists here.

Last year, I was proud to be the recipient of “The Beethoven Spirit Award,” received on the occasion of his 249th birthday (you can read all about it here). When presenting the award, LePauw said that ‘Spirit’ is about Beethoven, the man, the humanist who supported the French Revolution, who overcame deafness to write “Ode to Joy“, today’s anthem of the European Union, who gave charity concerts to support the families of fallen soldiers in the wars with Napoleon, who believed in liberté, egalité, and fraternité.”  

George Lepauw continued: “The Beethoven Spirit Award is given every year to an accomplished person that has lived a life of humanistic action connected to the arts,” he continued. “Chaz Ebert is a humanist who promotes justice and a better world through the arts, highlighting important voices in film, supporting young and emerging artists, caring for the urban environment. Chaz is a model citizen of Chicago and, through her many personal and philanthropic engagements across the globe, of the world.” 

I can only aspire to meet that standard, but I can say Happy Birthday Ludwig.

You may send your greetings to Beethoven on his birthday and also post something on social media using the hashtag #HappyBirthdayLudwig. The virtual festivities streamed on December 16th can be viewed below…

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