Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra celebrating 250 years since Beethoven’s birth

Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra’s virtual celebration for Beethoven
WATCH: Celebration of Beethoven going digital.

Nearly 250 years after Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will be celebrating his legacy virtually.

SSO music director Eric Paetkau said the German composer’s legacy still resonates with the music community today.

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“Beethoven, as most people know, is one of classical music’s most famous composers. We probably all know his… Fifth Symphony, but so much other music as well,” Paetkau said.

“To the musical world and to the audiences and to me, personally, Beethoven has had a massive impact on all of us. And so it’s wonderful to celebrate his 250th birth year.”

A concert was supposed to take place live at TCU Place but with the COVID-19 pandemic, SSO decided to bring the celebration directly to people via the Internet.

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“Because of what we’re all doing right now [due to the virus], we have another wonderful lineup of four Saskatoon-bred, born and bred musicians… so they’re going to all be doing performances and we’re going to piece it all together for a wonderful live stream event,” Paetkau said.

“We’re going to be streaming it on YouTube and Facebook and there’ll be room there to chat as well. I mean, I hope everyone’s listening intently. But also people can comment and we’ll be interacting with them as well.”

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The online Beethoven concert is set to feature homegrown talents Jardena Gertler-Jaffe, Carissa Klopoushak, Godwin Friesen, and Spencer McKnight. It will stream live for free at 7:30 p.m. on May 2.

The event kicks off to a month-long festival celebrating Beethoven with a number of online performances, activities and learning experiences.

“For the next three weeks, we’ve got some special guests. Three of next year’s guest conductors are going to be joining me and we’re going to be duking it out with our favourite Beethoven recordings,” Paetkau said.

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“I also do a live class every Friday for subscribers and we’re going to be exploring the Beethoven symphonies over that time and a lot of other events… we’re going to have live performances or these recorded performances that we’ll share on our social media.”

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Paetkau said SSO has had several virtual events since the pandemic hit and feedback has been positive.

“It’s been incredible. It has really been incredible. The enthusiasm, the support, the encouragement we’ve had from our audience, but also other people around the country. And actually, someone from Australia even asked about our education programming,” he said.

“Every single morning, we have events and activities for kids. We have a very full social media calendar with a lot of interaction. So that’s been incredible. Just the interviews, the classes, all of this. It’s been terrific.”

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