Five new piano concertos inspired by Beethoven’s


Jonathan Biss and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra launch Beethoven/5: the commissioning of five new piano concertos inspired by Beethoven’s.

New Timo Andres concerto inspired by and paired with Beethoven 2; Sally Beamish, Beethoven 1; Salvatore Sciarrino, Beethoven 4; Caroline Shaw, Beethoven 3, and Brett Dean, Beethoven 5.

Next season Jonathan Biss launches his latest Beethoven project, Beethoven/5, for which the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) will commission five composers to write new piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven’s five piano concertos.

The five-year plan begins in November 2015 in Minnesota with the SPCO, where Biss will play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and the new concerto by Timo Andres that it inspired. The SPCO is the lead commissioner on all five pieces, including new concertos by Sally Beamish, paired with Beethoven 1, to premiere in 2016-17; Salvatore Sciarrino, paired with Beethoven 4, to premiere in 2017-18; Caroline Shaw, paired with Beethoven 3, to premiere in 2018-19, and Brett Dean, paired with Beethoven 5, to premiere in 2019-20. International and national orchestra partners for each commission will be announced at later dates.

Biss writes of this project: “Beethoven’s music has been an obsession for as long as I can remember—working on it has been a constant source of joy, inspiration, and frustration. In this, I’m joined by most musicians I know, regardless of age, training, or background. That is why the idea of asking five very different composers to write a piece that, in some way, responds to Beethoven, is so exciting to me: each of them will have a relationship with him that is unique and intense, and these five works should constitute a significant and varied addition to the concerto repertoire. Beethoven’s own five concerti cover a huge amount of formal and emotional territory. I’m sure that these new works will as well, and I’m incredibly excited to discover them.”

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