School of Music Celebrates Beethoven’s 250th with a look at “Beethoven & Modernity”

Beethoven & Modernity

Considered to be one the most influential composer of all time and the bridge between classical and romantic eras of music history, Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in Bonn in December of 1770. In celebration of his 250th’s birthday and in collaboration with the Morrison Chamber Music Center and the Frank V. deBellis Collection, Alexander String Quartet Cellist and School of Music Lecturer Sandy Walsh-Wilson has organized a semester-long celebration of his work entitled Beethoven & Modernity.

The project, funded through LCA’s Extraordinary Ideas initiative, explores and celebrates Beethoven’s enduring and vital influence through inter-related and multi-disciplinary presentations, exploration and discussion. The program will examine Beethoven's music, its historical context, and his legacy. The intent is to stimulate intellectual and personal development on campus by engaging students, faculty, and the wider community in inquiry and reflection. All events are free of charge and most are open to the general public including alumni and the wider Bay Area community.

Beethoven & Modernity Spring 2020 Events

Friday, January 31st

1pm Concert: “Beethoven: The Lineage” 
Knuth Hall, Creative Arts Building 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) String Quartet in C Major, KV 465, “Dissonant” – Alexander String Quartet
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 13 – Tower String Quartet 

4:15pm Lecture: “An Introduction to Beethoven’s String Quartet Cycle”
Knuth Hall, Creative Arts Building

Lecture by Paul Yarbrough. The Alexander String Quartet presents select movements from the Beethoven string quartet cycle.

Saturday, February 1st

4pm: “Beethoven and the Piano”
Special Collections 4th Floor, J. Paul Leonard Library

Presentation by professor Paul Ellison, featuring the De Bellis Collections’ extraordinary 1809 Clementi piano: and performances by Kindra Scharich, mezzo-soprano & Jeffrey LaDeur, piano plus viewing of Violins of Hope with Fred Lifsitz of the Alexander String Quartet.

7:30pm: 2020 Menuhin Seminar Gala Concert honoring Beethoven’s 250th birthday
Knuth Hall, Creative Arts Building

Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95 “Serioso” – Tower String Quartet
Ludwig van Beethoven An die ferne Geliebte – Kindra Scharich, mezzo-soprano & Jeffrey LaDeur, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven Welsh Songs, WoO 155 – Kindra Scharich, mezzo-soprano Jeffrey LaDeur, piano Frederick Lifsitz, violin Sandy Wilson, cello
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 – Jeffrey LaDeur, piano soloist Alexander String Quartet with Schuyler Karr, bass 

Sunday, February 2nd

Jane Galante Prize Chamber Music Competition
Knuth Hall, Creative Arts Building

10:00am – 12:00pm: Competition Semi-Finals
1:00pm: Announcement of the Ensemble Finalists
2:00pm – 3:00pm: Competition Finals
3:00pm: Presentation about Violins of Hope; String Quartet No. 135, Beethoven performed by the Alexander String Quartet on instruments from the collection
3:45pm – 4:30pm: Award Presentations and Grand Finale Performance of Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130 Cavatina. Adagio molto espressivo, performed by the massed forces including faculty, judges and competition participants and winners, featuring instruments from The Violins of Hope collection.

Additional information about the 2020 Menuhin Seminar and Galante Chamber Music Competition can be found on the Morrison Chamber Music Center site. 

Monday, February 24th

2pm: Romanticism into Modernism
Humanities Location TBD

English 461 with Professor Meg Schoerke. A survey of literary and artistic movements and changes from 1800 to the present with an emphasis on the shift from Romanticism into Modernism. There will be live performances by the Alexander String Quartet demonstrating parallel developments in musical expression. 

Tuesday, March 10th

12:30pm: 1800 to the Present Day - Literature Survey Illuminated by Musical Parallels  
Humanities 485

English 461with Professor Loretta Steck. Exploring parallel trends in literature and music in tandem, revealing the influence of contemporary politics, fashion and cultural habits and norms on the creative process, to include a performance and demonstration by the Alexander String Quartet 

Friday, March 13th

CANCELED: 1pm: Watching and Learning from Beethoven’s Creative Mind
Knuth Hall, Creative Arts Building

Live Performance + Live Video Animation followed by Q+A with Alexander String Quartet and special guest Stephen Malinowski

Stephen Malinowski is a distinguished musician, composer, inventor, and software engineer. He is celebrated for his animated graphical score project known as The Music Animation Machine. His more than 800 videos animations widely available on Youtube and other platforms are followed by nearly two hundred thousand subscribers worldwide.

The Alexander String Quartet has performed in the major music capitals of five continents, securing its standing among the world’s premier ensembles, and a major artistic presence in its home base of San Francisco, serving since 1989 as Ensemble in Residence of San Francisco Performances and Directors of The Morrison Chamber Music Center at SF State. Widely admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart, and Shostakovich, the quartet’s recordings have won international critical acclaim.

Tuesday, April 14th

2pm: Serialism - What is Modernity in Narrative
Humanities Location TBD

English 612  with Professor Sara Hackenberg exploring both the topic of modernity, and the discussion of silent film and the ways this incredibly modern form uses other, earlier harbingers of modernity including Beethoven’s music – including a performance and demonstration by the Alexander String Quartet

Monday, May 4th

1pm: Culminating “Premières”
Knuth Hall, Creative Arts Building

Our semester long celebration culminates with a live Alexander String Quartet performance accompanied by new choreography from the School of Theatre and Dance’s DANC432, Collaborative Composition II students. The Alexander String Quartet will also perform the première of the winning composition from "Beethoven and Modernity Student Composition Competition."