Pianist Boris Giltburg has created Beethoven 32, a project which will see him learn all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 2020.
Giltburg will work with filmmaker Stewart French of ‘Fly On The Wall Productions’ to film the performances, sharing them at regular intervals throughout the year via his YouTube channel. A website dedicated to the project has been launched, where Giltburg will post additional supporting material to help his audience gain insight into the depth and scale of the project.
‘The 32 Beethoven Sonatas are widely regarded as one of the pinnacles of piano music, and I am excited about the huge challenge as much as the ensuing journey of discovery,’ Giltburg comments. ‘I have played nine of the sonatas so far, so 23 will be completely new, including some of the most challenging.’
The sonatas were written over a period of almost 30 years: Beethoven composed the first three in 1795 and the final instalment, Opus 111: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, was written in 1822. By learning them in chronological order, Giltburg hopes to follow the composer’s original path of development. ‘I will attempt to view each sonata – or most of them, at least – as the highest point of what Beethoven could achieve at that time, which makes every sonata interesting in itself, not only for its position in the cycle,’ Giltburg explains.
In addition to the Beethoven 32 project, Giltburg is to complete his recording cycle of the Beethoven Piano Concertos, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko, for Naxos. The first volume will be released on 11 October 2019, with the second set for release in May 2020 and the third in October 2020. He will also perform all five of the concertos in Brussels with the Brussels Philharmonic directed by Thierry Fischer as part of the Flagey Piano Festival in February 2020.