The year 2020 marks the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven. The Philadelphia Orchestra celebrates this milestone by performing music by composers of today in dialogue with Beethoven’s symphonies in a concentrated four-week format, March 12 through April 5, 2020. The Orchestra has commissioned works by Composer-in-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank and a diverse group of composers from her Creative Academy of Music, who will offer newly written works that will challenge, inspire, and push boundaries, creating fresh perspectives on the relevance of Beethoven’s legacy today.
“Beethoven passionately decried the forces of intolerance at play in his own lifetime, and he coded both his dismay and ardent optimism in music. Without doubt, this is in line with the philosophical heartbeat of my Creative Academy of Music,” said Frank. “Through my Academy, I set out to create an environment where emerging composers from a vast array of styles can come together for mentorship, readings of works in progress, and world premiere performances from master musicians. While forming new friendships, diversity has proven to be both abundant and authentic as we embrace all contemporary voices to best honor the voices of the past. I am honored that for its inventive celebration of the nine symphonies of such a musical giant in a special year, The Philadelphia Orchestra is investing in the voices of three diverse alumni of my small school who demonstrate themselves to be Beethoven’s kindred spirits.”
The selected composers from Frank’s Creative Academy of Music are Iman Habibi, whose work will be paired with Symphonies No. 5 and No. 6; Jessica Hunt, whose work will be paired with Symphonies No. 2 and No. 3; Carlos Simon, whose work will be paired with Symphonies No. 8, No. 4, and No. 7; and Frank herself, whose work will be paired with Beethoven’s first and last symphonies (No. 1 and No. 9).