Panel Discussions

Leading scholars convene for three in-depth examinations of Beethoven, his background and influences and his legacy, which extends to how we experience music today. Moderated by Camerata Pacifica’s Artistic Director Adrian Spence, panelists will debate opinions on the composer’s history and impact. Following an intermission, questions from the audience will be addressed.

Presented in association with:

Santa Barbara City College School of Extended Learning

The Adult Studies Program at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music

With support from:

Bob Weinman and the Williams-Corbett Foundation

January 24, 2019 | Pasadena Conservatory of Music
January 25, 2019 | Santa Barbara City College

JANUARY 24, 2019, 7 – 9 PM
Barrett Hall, Pasadena Conservatory of Music

JANUARY 25, 2019, 7 – 9 PM
Fé Bland Forum, Santa Barbara City College

A product of the Enlightenment and of the French Revolution, Beethoven reached maturity as man and artist while the Napoleonic wars ravaged Europe. These regimes and epic, destabilizing conflicts created the modern world. What impact did these events have on Beethoven’s view of society, his sense of self, and his conception of music? At the same time the Romantics emerged to embrace Beethoven and his music, but was he a Romantic? Today his music is so iconic it has lost much of its impact, but just how radical was it in his time, and how has his music influenced the composition and reception of that which followed?


FEBRUARY 28, 2019, 7 – 9 PM
Barrett Hall, Pasadena Conservatory of Music

MARCH 1, 2019, 7 – 9 PM
Fé Bland Forum, Santa Barbara City College

Is Beethoven responsible for the notion of ‘serious’ music? Indeed, what is serious music? When we come to the late quartets, why are they so hallowed and just how forward looking are they — aren’t they firmly grounded in the 18th century? “By the late years, an uncanny duality develops: On the one hand, the sense that Beethoven might do anything harmonically, that he would venture to the far ends of the musical earth; on the other, always there, rock- solid, the triads, the tonic and the dominant, the familiar landmarks of classical harmony.” —Jeremy Denk


APRIL 4, 2019, 7 – 9 PM
Barrett Hall, Pasadena Conservatory of Music

APRIL 5, 2019, 7 – 9 PM
Fé Bland Forum, Santa Barbara City College

Grounded in the objectively classical world of Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven flourished in the era of Goethe and Kant, emerging as the archetypal genius for Romantics, who declared the artist to be a world-shaking demigod and hero. Was this deification the first step in a stultification of the concert experience, resulting in the imperious reverence of the concert hall and the rigid canonization of the 18th and 19th century masters? 250 years after his birth is part of Beethoven’s legacy a constriction of the concert experience that makes it harder for a contemporary audience to enjoy the music of today?


Daniel K.L. Chua Professor and Chair of Music at the University of Hong Kong
James Donelan Associate Director of the UCSB Writing Program
Lydia Goehr Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University
Derek Katz Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara
Andrea Moore Assistant Professor of Music, Smith College
Richard Yongjae O’Neill Principal Violist for Camerata Pacifica
Jan Swafford Composer, Writer, Author of Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph


Barry and Amalia Taylor
Bob Weinman
The Williams-Corbett Foundation

Jan Swafford’s “Anguish and Triumph” is the Beethoven biography recommended as the companion to our Beethoven Project.

“Impassioned and informed…Swafford’s exuberance is infectious, prompting the reader to revisit works both famous and obscure.” –The New Yorker

Purchase the book from Chaucer’s Bookstore in Santa Barbara (805) 682-6787 — an independent, arts-supporting bookstore — or through Camerata Pacifica. In both cases, all proceeds will benefit Camerata Pacifica