The Seven Lives of Ludwig van B.

by Anne Payot-Le Nabour
Ludwig Van Beethoven

Mein Beethoven – Leben mit dem Meister: the pianist Rudolf Buchbinder chose the title My Beethoven – Life with the Master for his book on the founder of the so-called First Viennese School. The Philharmonie’s audience has an opportunity to establish a similarly close relationship with Beethoven this season, for there are no less than a dozen concerts exploring the oeuvre of this musical genius who has also come to be considered the epitome of a true European.

The centrepiece of this large-scale journey are the performances by the Luxembourg Philharmonic with Rudolf Buchbinder himself on Feb. 22 and 23, 2024, during which all Beethoven’s five piano concerti will be heard. The Austrian pianist may look back on a career spanning decades, but Beethoven’s output is as mesmerizing to him as it was the day he first discovered it. «Exploring Beethoven’s piano works presents new challenges all the time. When I prepare for my performances or study the scores, I keep finding new and surprising things. Even some pieces I’ve played hundreds of times still seem entirely fresh to me» -thus Buchbinder, whose Beethoven «score-card» is filled with one impressive success after another. He has played cycles of the 32 Beethoven sonatas more than 60 times in public; at Vienna’s Musikverein, he played all five piano concerti in one season during the year of Beethoven’s 250th birthday – a first for that venerable institution. «Life with the master», will not, however, be lived in Luxembourg by Rudolf Buchbinder alone. Other performers, equally inspired by Beethoven, will also contribute to this homage. The Berlin Philharmonic opens the season and the Beethoven focus on Sept. 3, 2023 with the cheerful Eighth Symphony, before Hélène Grimaud offers her perspective on the Piano Concerto No. 4 in the spring of 2024. In Early January 2024, the Japanese pianist Mitsuko Uchida adds her interpretation of Beethoven’s three last piano sonatas to the mix.

The master may have departed our world physically – but his spirit obviously has many lives yet to live…

We’ve got something similar coming up soon at the Philharmonie: