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Festival: Ladies versus Beethoven

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Ladies versus Beethoven – orchestral festival

In 2020, the music world will celebrate the 250-year anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven. At Konserthuset Stockholm, the event is highlighted by more than 28 concerts during the year – and at the centre of the festivities is a large orchestral festival. All of Beethoven’s symphonies will be presented, but this time together with works by eminent women composers from the 19th century until today.

Over the course of two intensive weeks, Konserthuset Stockholm will present all nine symphonies, performed by the resident Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and six other Swedish orchestras. Beethoven’s symphonies comprise a unique and infinite universe that holds incredible discoveries for the first-time listener, but which can also be explored over and over again. At this festival, the symphonies will be placed in a new light through presentations with pieces by women composers from the nineteenth century to our own era. Thus, the festival is named Ladies versus Beethoven – which is of course also a twist of the abbreviation LvB.

Featured composers are Ethel Smyth, Amy Beach, Dora Pejacevic, Louise Farrenc; all born in the 19th century and pioneers in their time. The first three were active even during decades in the 20th century. Also featured is the Polar Music Prize winner Kaija Saariaho, and Sally Beamish, who was awarded the British Composer Award in 2018. The younger generation is represented by Swedish composer Britta Byström and Finnish Lotta Wennäkoski.

By pairing each Beethoven symphony with another masterpiece, by a woman composer, the festival follows in Konserthuset Stockholm’s clear ambition when it comes to programming: to build a more gender balanced repertoire. Ladies versus Beethoven is a Beethoven tribute which at the same time directs the spotlight onto composers whose music deserves to be performed more often and to reach a wider audience.

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo will perform symphonies No. 1, 5 and 9. In order of appearance, guest orchestras include the Gävle Symphony Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Swedish Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. In total, just over 600 musicians will participate in the festival.


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