Melissa Bradshaw

Beethoven Unleashed: BBC reveals further programming

9:00, 11th January 2020

The BBC has today revealed further programming as part of its year-long Beethoven focus, Beethoven Unleashed, marking the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

New programming includes:

  • Being Beethoven: a three-part series for BBC Four which tells Beethoven’s life story in the present tense, reimagining how he might have experienced day-to-day life
  • A Beethoven marathon on BBC Radio 3, presented by Donald Macleod, with 125 hours of Composer of the Week featuring insights from Sir Simon Schama, conductor Marin Alsop and more
  • New drama Beethoven Can Hear You, by Forest 404 creator Timothy X Atack and commissioned by BBC Radio 3, following the composer’s journey of hearing loss
  • BBC Radio 3’s Unseen Vienna shines a light on Beethoven’s female contemporaries, and Dissecting Beethoven seeks to learn more about the composer following the autopsy carried out after his death, with presenter Georgia Mann joined by neurosurgeon Henry Marsh CBE
  • Live performances of Beethoven’s music from the BBC Orchestras and Choirs will feature alongside new compositions inspired by the composer, including a recreation of his four-hour long 1908 concert and David Lang’s new opera Prisoner of the State (a modern re-telling of Beethoven’s Fidelio)

Jan Younghusband, head of commissioning at BBC Music TV, explains how the BBC has taken the opportunity to explore ‘the man behind the music’ more deeply in the composer’s 250th anniversary year, commenting: ‘I am certain that many of us can relate to the struggles Beethoven faced in his personal life – from tumultuous relationships to his eventual loss of hearing affecting him profoundly both personally and professionally.’

BBC Radio 3 controller Alan Davey adds: ‘This unique celebration will offer audiences an opportunity to explore the achievements of Beethoven afresh and understand his continued relevance today. From the latest research into his life to concerts of excellence, there’s something for everyone.’


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