By Amy S. Eckert
On Dec. 16, 2020, music lovers around the world will celebrate the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven. Born in the German town of Bonn, Beethoven created nine symphonies and numerous other compositions that are considered among the most influential and beloved in the world. Visit Beethoven’s home town of Bonn and his adopted home of Vienna this year, where both cities host year-long celebrations, complete with museum exhibitions, historic house tours, Beethoven-themed city walks and, naturally, lots and lots of music.
Beethoven at Home: Beethoven’s handwritten sheet music, his writing desk, musical instruments and hearing trumpets are on display at the newly renovated Beethoven House Museum, where the composer was born in 1770.
Beethoven in Concert: Enjoy symphonies and oratorios, chamber music and sonatas performed by orchestras, ensembles, pianists and vocalists throughout 2020. Concerts take place at Bonn’s Chamber Music Hall (Kammermusiksaal) and the
Theater Bonn Opera House.
Beethoven at the Opera: Beethoven’s only opera, “Fidelio,” includes themes of liberty and justice. The piece will be performed multiple times throughout 2020 at the Theater Bonn Opera House.
Beethoven Gets Creative: Interactive displays reveal Beethoven’s life and work. Exhibitions take place at the Beethoven House Museum, the State Museum (Landesmuseum) of Bonn and the Federal Hall of Art (Bundeskunsthalle).
Beethoven Around Town: Follow in Beethoven’s footsteps, visiting 22 sites associated with the composer’s life in Bonn. The stations’ open-air multimedia displays feature images, film and sound. Want to learn more? Download a corresponding smartphone app.
Beethoven Fests: The International Beethoven Fest, typically held in September, takes place twice in 2020. Dozens of concerts include works by Beethoven, his contemporaries and those influenced by him. Festival dates are Mar. 16-22 and
Sept. 4-27, 2020.
Beethoven Hotels: Bonn’s budget-friendly Beethoven Hotel lies an easy walk from the Beethoven House, the Beethoven Memorial, the Theater Bonn Opera House and the Bonn train station.
Beethoven at Home: The Beethoven Museum and the Pasqualati House, both Beethoven residences for a time, feature manuscripts, pictures and multimedia displays. The Mayer am Pfarrplatz also served as his home for a time. Today, it’s a charming winery.
Beethoven in Concert: Enjoy a concert at the Theater an der Wien, where Beethoven once conducted his works, or catch a show at the Vienna State Opera, (Wiener Staatsoper), the Musikverein, the Vienna Concert House (Wiener Konzerthaus).
Beethoven at the Opera: The Vienna State Opera and the Theater an der Wien stage two versions of “Fidelio,” February-May.
Beethoven Gets Creative: The Art History Museum (Kunsthistorisches Museum) features a special exhibition of Beethoven-inspired works from March-July. The Leopold Museum’s music room, inspired by Beethoven’s 6th “Pastoral” Symphony and painted by Art Nouveau artist Jugendstil Auchentaller in 1899, is on display May-September.
Beethoven Around Town: Beethoven leads visitors through 19th-century Vienna thanks to 21st-century technology. Borrow a pair of free sunglasses with Bose AR Frames and pair them with a smartphone app via Bluetooth for a tour of musical sites in Vienna, accompanied by the composer’s music.
Beethoven Fests: The Beethoven Festival takes place at the Beethoven Museum and the Pasqualati House in June, with concerts, lectures and children’s programming. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra hosts the free Fest der Freude on May 8, celebrating both Beethoven’s birthday and the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII.
Beethoven Hotels: The 4-star Hotel Beethoven is located near Vienna’s Museum Quarter and the city’s premier music halls. Looking for the Beethoven era? Book the third floor.
(Traveler Spring 2020)