Main content
Emory celebrates 250 years of Beethoven with year-long event series

Emory will mark the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth with events throughout 2020. The Vega String Quartet will perform the first concert in the series on Saturday, Jan. 18. Photo: Nate Dorn/Dorn Brothers Photography

March 13, 2020 

Editor's note: Many events have been canceled or postponed in accordance with current university policy on the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit event websites for more details. Visit the Coronavirus Updates for the Emory Community website to learn more about how Emory is responding to COVID-19.


In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta (ECMSA), the Southeast's largest and most active chamber music organization,  presents “Beethoven 2020,” beginning Saturday, Jan. 18.

As part of this major, year-long project, ECMSA brings to Emory the iconic composer’s complete cycles of 18 string quartets (performed by the Vega String Quartet), 32 piano sonatas (with 28 pianists), 10 violin sonatas, five cello sonatas and more. 

“Whether you have never heard a Beethoven piano sonata, or whether you know every note of his late string quartets by heart, this project will offer something exciting for everyone,” says William Ransom, director of the ECMSA and Mary Emerson Professor of Piano. “It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear all of these great masterworks performed by a variety of brilliant musicians over a very short period of time, and will give listeners a new depth of insight into and enjoyment of the extraordinary creative genius of Beethoven.”

“Beethoven 2020” also will feature public masterclasses and lectures, and even family concerts designed for young listeners such as “Pajama Concert” on Friday, Jan. 31, and “Beethoven in Blue Jeans” on Sunday, March 29.

Many performers will be involved with the series, including the Vega String Quartet; violinists David Coucheron, Amy Moretti and Helen Kim; cellists Christopher Rex, Charae Krueger and Rainer Eudeikis; and pianists Norman Krieger, Michael Gurt, Julie Coucheron, Elizabeth Pridgen, Robert Henry and William Ransom. 

“In order to fulfill our mission of creating a new generation of passionate and educated music lovers who will cherish and support great music forever, all concerts and events will be free of charge to ensure as large and diverse an audience as possible,” says Ransom. “The ECMSA has become a model for interdisciplinary teaching and performance in a university setting, taking the arts across the curriculum and integrating them into the daily lives of students, faculty and community members.” 

“Beethoven 2020” kicks off Saturday, Jan. 18, with a 10 a.m. lecture from Stephen Crist, Emory professor of music history, in Tharp Rehearsal Hall of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. That evening at 8 p.m., the ECMSA presents Beethoven’s String Quartet Cycle I with the Vega Quartet in Emerson Concert Hall of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Both events are free and open to the public.

For more information and a complete listing of “Beethoven 2020” events, visit the Arts at Emory calendar.

Recent News