Travel and Culture

The NZSO Brings You the Best of Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven is considered one of the greatest composers of all time. Born in 1770, Beethoven was an influential figure in classical music and his music is still enjoyed and performed to this day. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is bringing you back-to-back Beethoven this August as they perform all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies in a marathon month across Auckland Wellington.

Led by world authority of Beethoven and NZSO Music Director Edo de Waart, audiences will be treated to the brilliance of the well known composer. “Beethoven was enormously popular in his lifetime and still is today because he speaks directly to the human condition. He speaks from the heart,” says Maestro de Waart.


NZSO Music Director Edo de Waart

“I have always felt that you are a richer person after hearing all of Beethoven’s nine symphonies. You gain a little bit more insight and you have been touched by greatness. It is an incredible high for me, the musicians and the audience.”

“I have always felt that you are a richer person after hearing all of Beethoven’s nine symphonies.”

From his First Symphony to Ninth and featuring choral spectacular of Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy, Beethoven lovers will be treated by a performance by a full-strength NZSO with four internationally renowned singers. Slovenian soprano Sabina Cvilak who has performed worldwide, New Zealand born and The Royal Academy of Music London trained mezzo-soprano Kristin Darragh. Cvilak and Darragh will perform alongside English tenor Oliver Johnston and local trilingual (English, French and German) bass Anthony Robin Schneider. The four singers will perform alongside the New Zealand Chamber Choir for the chorale finale of Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy.


From left, Ninth Symphony singers Sabina Cvilak, Kristin Darragh, Oliver Johnston & Anthony Robin Schneider

It is reported Beethoven said a great poem is difficult to set music to as the composer must rise higher than the poet.  Beethoven wrote “who can do that in the case of Schiller?”

“who can do that in the case of Schiller?”

The Beethoven Festival will also be a milestone for Maestro de Waart as 2019 marks his final year as NZSO Music Director. From 2020 which is also aptly the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Maestro de Waart will become NZSO Conductor Laureate.

Featuring the nine symphonies across four concerts each in Auckland and Wellington, audiences can choose their favourite symphonies or attend all four in order to experience 346 minutes of Beethoven classics. Composed from 1800 through to the Ninth Symphony which Beethoven composed after becoming deaf. A revolutionary and credited for changing perceptions of orchestral music, Beethoven’s music continues to be enjoyed today.

Find out more about the performances below:

EDO DE WAART Conductor

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op, 55 Eroica

AUCKLAND | Town Hall| Friday 16 August| 7.30pm
WELLINGTON | Michael Fowler Centre| Wednesday 28 August| 7.30pm

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

AUCKLAND | Town Hall| Saturday 17 August| 7.30pm
WELLINGTON | Michael Fowler Centre| Thursday 29 August| 7.30pm

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 Pastoral
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92

AUCKLAND | Town Hall| Friday 23 August| 7.30pm
WELLINGTON | Michael Fowler Centre| Friday 30 August| 7.30pm

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 Choral

AUCKLAND | Town Hall| Saturday 24 August| 7.30pm
WELLINGTON | Michael Fowler Centre| Saturday 31 August| 7.30pm

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