Calgary Philharmonic Commissions Five New Works For Year Of Beethoven

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The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra launches 2020: The Year of Beethoven with two performances on Valentine's weekend that will be live-streamed to a global audience. The concerts kick off a series of performances in honour of the game-changing composer's 250th birthday that includes his symphonies, piano concertos, and more, plus five new works by Canadian composers.

"We invite people to join us on this thrilling musical journey through Beethoven's legacy," says Music Director Rune Bergmann. "This is a chance to experience the evolution of this great composer who had tremendous impact on the music we enjoy today."

Starting this Season, the Orchestra presents Beethoven's first five symphonies, paired with his five piano concertos, at five concerts. Each concert will open with the premiere of a new work by a Canadian composer influenced by his legacy. The five composers selected for this project are Larysa Kuzmenko, Barbara Croall, Kelly-Marie Murphy, Jocelyn Morlock, and Dorothy Chang. "We wanted to select composers from across the nation, of differing backgrounds, and at different stages of their careers, to ensure we had a mosaic of voices," says New Music Advisor Vincent Ho. "They each have their own history with Beethoven and association with his music."

The CPO's 2020: The Year of Beethoven kicks off with two performances in February presented in partnership with Morningside Music Bridge (MMB), an international summer training programme connecting outstanding young musicians from around the globe. Both concerts feature artists with MMB connections and will be broadcast live at 7:30 p.m. (MST) via The series will continue through the spring and into the fall of the 2020/2021 Season.

Beethoven 1 On February 14, Beethoven 1: Immortal Beloved opens with the debut of Fantasy on a Theme by Beethoven, by Toronto-based composer and Juno nominee Larysa Kuzmenko, followed by Beethoven's Romance No. 1 in G Major for Violin and Orchestra with violinist Yesong Sophie Lee, Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major with pianist Clayton Stephenson, and Symphony No. 1 in C Major.

Beethoven 2 On February 15, Beethoven 2: Romance opens with the debut of Innenohr (Inner Ear) by acclaimed Odawa composer and musician Barbara Croall, followed by Beethoven's Romance No. 2 in F Major for Violin and Orchestra with violinist Yesong Sophie Lee, Piano Concerto No. 2 with pianist Krzysztof Jabłoński of Calgary, and Symphony No. 2. (Note: Krzysztof Jabłoński replaces Sa Chen as soloist due to potential for travel disruptions.)

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Beethoven 3 Beethoven 3: Heroic, on March 6 + 7, opens with the debut of On Rethinking Heroism in the 21st Century, by Ottawa-based composer Kelly-Marie Murphy, followed by Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor performed by award-winning Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin, and Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major (Eroica).

Beethoven 4 Beethoven 4: Bold, on May 29 + 30, opens with the debut of Interloper, by Juno Award-winning composer Jocelyn Morlock, who served as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's Composer-in- Residence from 2014 to 2019, followed by Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major performed by Honens Laureate Katherine Chi, and Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major.

Beethoven 5 The Season finale is Beethoven 5: Epic, on June 12 + 13. The concert opens with the debut of Skizzen (Sketches) by composer Dorothy Chang, a university music professor whose catalogue includes more than 70 works, followed by Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major (Emperor) performed by internationally renowned pianist Inon Barnatan, and Symphony No. 5 in C Minor.

This Season also features Beethoven's Missa Solemnis (May 8 + 9) and Beethoven Lives Upstairs (May 31), a family-friendly matinee. All evening performances are held at the Jack Singer Concert Hall starting at 7:30 p.m. (MST). For more information and to buy tickets, visit

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