Panel Discussions

Complementing the musical programs, we will continue to present our series of in-depth panel discussions in which leading scholars explore topics related to “Why Beethoven?” 6 talks will be presented this season: 3 in Santa Barbara and 3 in Pasadena. Participating scholars include Lydia Goehr, author and Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, and Daniel Chua, Professor and Chair of Music at the University of Hong Kong.

Presented in association with:
Pasadena Conservatory of Music
With generous support from:
Chaucer’s Books.

Dates to be announced.


THE IMAGINARY MUSEUM OF MUSICAL WORKS
BEETHOVEN’S PIECES WERE WORKS OF ART. BACH’S WERE NOT.

Lydia Goehr, author of the book of 1992 that lends this discussion its title, talks with Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, about concert hall culture and the conditions that impact how music is made, heard, and packaged for a public. Goehr’s opening provocation was that “Bach did not intend to compose musical works,” to show that the idea of musical works fully emerged in the period after Bach: namely, with Beethoven. If, to add to the provocation, concert hall experience today still holds to the Beethoven paradigm, would we say that the concert going public is lagging far behind the times? Or should rather we better rethink the entire thesis? 


BEETHOVEN IN AMERICA, BEETHOVEN IN CHINA

Ever since the beginnings of a classical music scene in the New World, Beethoven has been the central figure.  The New York Philharmonic performed Beethoven’s 5th symphony at its first concert in 1842, and Boston’s Symphony Hall, which opened in 1900, has a proscenium surrounded by a series of plaques intended to display composers’ names. Beethoven’s is the only name displayed, above the center of the stage. To this day the other plaques remain empty. Today in China, Western art music has the stature it once had in America, and, again, it is Beethoven who is most highly revered. Why is that? Is it a question of specifically Chinese cultural values?  Professor Hao Huang suggests Confucian philosophy and classical music both privilege intellectual rigor, personal discipline and regular practice towards self-improvement. Or is it a question of China adopting European values and practices that have been questioned and problematized in America?


WILL BEETHOVEN SURVIVE INTO THE 22ND CENTURY

Modern concert etiquette developed in the 19th century as part of a culture largely shaped by reverence for Beethoven. At the beginning of the 21st century isn’t this model failing and if so, what will be the replacement? Will we be able to enjoy Beethoven without confining his music with antiquated traditions? Will we be able to attract new audiences and create new concert experiences to celebrate the masterworks of yesterday and the music of tomorrow? Shouldn’t our music schools be the incubators of such change, yet curricula remain firmly rooted in the 19th century? Like the early 19th century, however, the beginning of the 21st is a time of change, negotiation and possibility. So, 100 years from now will Beethoven, Mozart & Haydn still dominate concert programming, demanding the same devout reverence, or is there something wonderful and new in store for the concerts of tomorrow?


PARTICIPATING SCHOLARS

Daniel K.L. Chua Professor and Chair of Music at the University of Hong Kong
Lydia Goehr Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University
Derek Katz Associate Professor of Musicology at UCSB
Alex Ross Music Critic for The New Yorker


WITH ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FROM

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