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Vienna Media News 01/2020 Beethoven exhibitions in Vienna

To mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna in cooperation with the archive of the Society of Friends of the Music in Vienna is paying a highly unusual tribute to the great master of Viennese classical music as part of the city-wide celebrations in 2020. The Beethoven moves exhibition will initiate a dialog focusing on Beethoven as a man and a musician through various media including paintings by Caspar David Friedrich, William Turner’s sketch books, graphics by Francisco de Goya and Jorinde Voigt, sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Rebecca Horn and John Baldessari and a performative sculpture by Tino Sehgal and a video by Guido van der Werve. Building a visual bridge to the present day, the show is a poetic reflection on the composer and his work in which artistic masterpieces engage with music and silence.

In the anniversary year the Leopold Museum will be mounting a temporary exhibition entitled Inspiration Beethoven. A Symphony in Pictures from Vienna 1900. Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, commonly known as the Pastoral, provided the inspiration for the Viennese Jugendstil artist Josef Maria Auchentaller, himself a colleague of Klimt, to create a monumental set of paintings for the music room at jewelry makers Scheid in 1899. Reconstructed at the Leopold Museum for the first time, it epitomizes the reverence that the fin-de-siècle Vienna Secession artists showed towards Beethoven.

A new exhibition in the State Room of the Austrian National Library entitled Beethoven. World of the Man and Spark of the Gods will show original letters and handwritten scores of some of the composer’s greatest works. Among the exhibits are pages from the Ninth Symphony taken on loan from Berlin, as well as the autograph score of Beethoven’s only violin concerto (op. 61). In addition to 130 letters written by the great master, the music collection at the Austrian National Library also includes the Hoboken Collection which contains virtually all of the first and early edition prints of Beethoven’s works.

In its new exhibition entitled The Great Triad of Viennese Classical Music: Haydn - Mozart - Beethoven, the Mozarthaus Vienna will be exploring the similarities, parallels and opposites surrounding three giants from the world of music. Mozart and Haydn were close friends who even performed together in Mozart’s apartment (today the Mozarthaus Vienna). Beethoven, who would have loved to have had Mozart as a teacher, later studied under Haydn.

The House of Music in the first district, which celebrates its 20th birthday on June 15, 2020, is marking the 2020 Beethoven year in a variety of different ways: the Beethoven room at the House of Music will be rearranged for the occasion and a number of original documents added to the permanent exhibits, which include the composer’s death mask as well as a cast of his face taken during his lifetime, handwritten works, stage designs and a display showing Beethoven’s 68 Vienna residences. The Inside Beethoven sound installation uses state-of-the-art music technology and clever space design to show what it looks and feels like to be part of a music ensemble (Jun 10-Aug 10, 2020). Opening in October 2020, the Bernstein’s Beethoven temporary exhibition in the museum courtyard hosted in cooperation with the Beethoven Haus Bonn focuses on performances of Beethoven’s works by the famous American conductor.

The main place of pilgrimage for Beethoven fans in Vienna is the Beethoven Museum in the nineteenth district, which reopened in 2017 with numerous exhibits that tell the story of the maestro’s life in Vienna. It was in this building that he composed various piano works and viola sonatas as well as the Christ on the Mount of Olives oratorio. He also worked on the Eroica Symphony at the property, where he composed a famous letter to his brothers which he ultimately never sent: the Heiligenstadt Testament in which the musician wrote about his increasing deafness.

Beethoven lived at the Pasqualati House on Mölker Bastei in Vienna’s old town for a total of eight years on and off, in an apartment put at his disposal by his patron Johann Baptist Freiherr von Pasqualati. It was here that he worked on his opera Fidelio and composed several symphonies as well as hit famous piano work Für Elise. Today his former apartment is the site of a memorial. Gustav Klimt’s famous Beethoven Frieze can be seen at the Secession, which devoted an entire exhibition to Ludwig van Beethoven in 1902. This 34-meter-wide, two-meter-high wall painting, which draws its inspiration from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and interpretations of it by Richard Wagner, is one of the seminal examples of Viennese Art Nouveau. In 2020 visitors can listen to the fourth movement of a new recording of Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (opus 125) on headphones as they take in Klimt’s masterpiece.

The Collection of Historic Musical Instruments at the Hofburg is setting aside the opulent Marble Hall for Beethoven’s era. Highlights include a bust and two portraits of the composer.

  • Beethoven moves, Mar 25-Jul 5, 2020, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna,
  • Inspiration Beethoven. A Symphony in Pictures from Vienna 1900. May 30, Sep 21, 2020, Leopold Museum, MuseumsQuartier Vienna, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna,
  • Beethoven. World of the Man and Spark of the Gods, Dec 19, 2019-Apr 19, 2020, National Library, State Hall, Austrian National Library, Josefsplatz 1, 1010 Vienna,
  • The Great Triad of Viennese Classical Music: Haydn - Mozart - Beethoven. Similarities - Parallels - Opposites, Feb 13, 2020-Jan 27, 2021, Mozarthaus Vienna, Domgasse 5, 1010 Vienna,
  • House of Music. The Museum of Sound, Seilerstätte 30, 1010 Vienna,
  • Beethoven Museum, Probusgasse 6, 1190 Vienna,
  • Pasqualati House, Mölker Bastei 8, 1010 Vienna,
  • Secession, Friedrichstrasse 12, 1010 Vienna,
  • Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, Hofburg, Neue Burg, Heldenplatz (Weltmuseum), 1010 Vienna,


Vienna Tourist Board
Helena Hartlauer
Media Relations
Tel. (+ 43 1) 211 14-364