One ensemble unwrapping the composer in the year that marks 250 years since his birth in Bonn, Germany, is a Culture Whisper favourite – mouldbreaking The Little Orchestra.
Perhaps you can picture Beethoven in your mind's eye – a tousle-headed rather angry-looking man whose frustration at his loss of hearing is etched in his ageing face. But the composer's life started like any other, with a childhood that moulded him, and coloured his music.
A year-long series of Beethoven-themed performances by The Little Orchestra starts this month with Prologue – Childhood, in which the composer's sometimes traumatic early years are retraced. The concert on 24 January is the orchestra's first ever chamber performance, and it's one you'll want to catch.
If you’re new to the world of Beethoven, and wonder why he matters so much, so many generations later, this musical journey through his life with explain a lot. But this is not a time for sitting silently in rows and creeping home after the applause. The Little Orchestra challenges the orchestral music scene in London, attracting a new, fresh, young audience to classical music.
Immersive performances by The Little Orchestra breathe new life into the classical repertoire
Events are in alternative venues transformed by atmospheric lighting and design to reflect the inspirations of the music. A relaxed and social atmosphere is key, with double sofa seats, cocktails and memorable food.
In this relaxed atmosphere, conductor and artist director Nicholas Little introduces the audience to some of the stories and inspirations behind the music, with live orchestral demonstrations. Arrive early to make the most of pre-concert food and drink, including plenty for those doing Veganuary or Dry January.
Says Nicholas: 'The year 2020 marks the accumulation of years of work with The Little Orchestra and we are excited to showcase our experience and knowledge by celebrating Beethoven’s 250th anniversary in an unprecedented and unique way.
'Every step of your evening is carefully curated in line with our ethos of encouraging audiences who know little or nothing about classical music to connect to perhaps a new world. Beethoven is such an ideal and relatable gateway for this.’
|What||The Little Orchestra, Beethoven, Battersea Arts Centre|
|Where||Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Clapham Junction (overground)|
24 Jan 20 – 25 Jan 20, two performances
|Price||£60 a pair|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|