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Beethoven Year 2020

Beethoven-Inszenierung im Prunksaal der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; Atelier Wunderkammer, 2019 – © Österreichische Nationalbibliothek

Vienna is celebrating the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven, a master of Viennese classical music and a companion of romanticism, lived and worked in Vienna for 32 years. Here, he became a musical legend and today squares, streets and hiking trails are named after him. In 2020, Vienna is celebrating the outstanding composer all year long.

Throughout his life he was not only committed to music but was also engaged sociopolitically and was an advocate of the French ideal of freedom, equality and fraternity, but above everything else stood art. It is therefore incredibly fitting that his 9th symphony, the Ode to Joy, was edited by Herbert von Karajan in 1985 to become the official European anthem.

Beethoven production in the State Hall of the Austrian National Library; Atelier Wunderkammer, 2019 - © Austrian National Library

Beethoven production in the State Hall of the Austrian National Library; Atelier Wunderkammer, 2019 – © Austrian National Library

Special Exhibitions for Beethoven Year

In 2020, Vienna is commemorating the honorary citizen of Vienna, Ludwig van Beethoven, with numerous special exhibitions on the occasion of his 250th birthday, in addition to the permanent exhibitions that are already highly appreciated by visitors.

Austrian National Library

In the State Hall of the Austrian National Library, 130 original letters from the master are on display, as well as manuscripts from the 9th Symphony mentioned above. In addition, the Austrian National Library holds the “Hoboken Collection” and thus almost all the first and early prints of Beethoven’s works.
“Beethoven. World of the Man and Spark of the Gods”, until April 19th, 2020

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna (Art History Museum)

The exhibit in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien connects Beethoven’s time with the present in the form of paintings, drawings and sculptures using film, video and performance.
“Beethoven moves”, March 25th to July 5th, 2020

Mozarthaus Vienna

© Mozarthaus Vienna, David Peters

© Mozarthaus Vienna, David Peters

It is not known whether Beethoven and Mozart ever met. It would have been possible on one of his study trips to Vienna in 1786. Hayden, however, was his teacher and gave Beethoven composition lessons. All three composers shaped the “First Viennese School” in the classical period and the Mozarthaus Vienna deals with the similarities and differences of the three geniuses in its own special exhibition. (Feburary 13th, 2020 to February 27th, 2021)

Leopold Museum

The artists of the Vienna Secession already revered Beethoven. His 6th symphony, the Pastoral, inspired the Viennese Art Nouveau painter Josef Maria Auchentaller. A reconstruction of its monumental painting series for a jewelry manufacturer’s music room is on display for the first time in the Leopold Museum. (May 30th to September 21st, 2020)

Vienna Secession

Gustav Klimt Beethovenfries 1901 © Wien Tourismus, Paul Bauer

Gustav Klimt Beethovenfries 1901 © Wien Tourismus, Paul Bauer

In 1902 the artists of the Vienna Secession dedicated a whole show to Ludwig van Beethoven and none other than Gustav Klimt himself created the 34 m long and 2 m high Beethoven frieze on this occasion, which was based on Beethoven’s 9th symphony. The frieze is a permanent exhibition, but for the Beethoven Year it is being accompanied by music.

Beethoven Walk

All of the exhibitions listed here are located in the 1st district of Vienna and can easily be reached by foot from all Schick Hotels. Come see for yourself, and you will be sure to meet Ludwig van Beethoven on every corner in 2020. Don’t want to miss anything?

The Vienna Tourism Board has put together an individual (self-guided tour) city walk, starting at Stephansplatz, going to Beethoven’s apartments, the exhibitions, the Beethoven park, the Beethoven monument and finally to the final resting place in an honorary grave at the central cemetery (as an additional tour).

Beethoven died on March 26th, 1827 at the age of 56 following several serious illnesses. The funeral speech for the burial at the Währing local cemetery was written by Franz Grillparzer and Franz Schubert was one of 36 torch bearers. In 1888, Beethoven’s bones were moved to a grave of honor at the central cemetery with great public interest.

We will present another permanent exhibition on the subject of Ludwig van Beethoven in one of our upcoming blog articles.

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