On Dec 3, “Global Ode to Joy” Celebrates Beethoven’s 250th Birthday with Star-Studded Event in “Live with Carnegie Hall” Streaming Series
Next Thursday, December 3, the Global Ode to Joy (GOTJ) brings together artists and music-lovers around the world to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday with a special edition of the “Live with Carnegie Hall” streaming series. Hosted by MacArthur Award-winning conductor Marin Alsop [pictured] and featuring British violinist Daniel Hope, President of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, the webcast also includes musical performances and guest appearances by Emanuel AxJoyce DiDonatoLeonidas KavakosYo-Yo MaYannick Nézet-Séguin, former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, Austria’s ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) and the international Stay At Home Choir. A free event, streaming live on Facebook and YouTube, the webcast complements the social media project launched last month in collaboration with YouTubeGoogle Arts & CultureBTHVN2020 and the leading arts organizations of five continents. Inviting the global community to celebrate Beethoven’s birthday with joy-filled videos tagged #GlobalOdeToJoy, the project aims to amplify the message of his beloved “Ode to Joy” chorus by flooding the digital sphere with unity, solidarity and hope.

Highlights of the December 3 webcast will include two world premieres, both showcasing the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith. Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and pianist (and Philadelphia Orchestra music director) Yannick Nézet-Séguin will give the first performance of a new song set to Smith’s lyrics by Obie Award-winning composer Thomas Cabaniss. Viewers will also be able to see the first screening of a film capturing Marin Alsop’s leadership of the “Ode to Joy” chorus from Beethoven’s Ninth “Choral” Symphony, performed by the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Stay At Home Choir. Comprising more than 1,000 singers participating virtually from 58 different countries, the choir will premiere a new English-language adaptation of Friedrich Schiller’s original Ode to Joy poem, commissioned from Smith by Carnegie Hall.
Global Ode to Joy was launched last month by a host of leading international arts organizations, with support from Germany’s official Beethoven anniversary campaign. Recent additions to these official partners include El Sistema JapanJakarta Simfonia OrchestraSan Francisco Symphony and Sydney Symphony Orchestra (see complete list below). Raising money for the official GOTJ charity, Music for Relief, hundreds of videos have already been registered on the project’s official website and hundreds more are being created, uploaded and tagged on YouTube and across the project’s social media platforms every day. Examples include videos by such prominent ensembles as the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne and classical luminaries as Joshua BellJoyce DiDonatoDaniel HopeLang LangAndris Nelsons and Rolando Villazón, while a selection of content created by the wider global community has been compiled here. Later this month, the project will conclude with a grand video finale: a GOTJ highlight reel, set to the performance of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” chorus by Alsop, the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and the international Stay At Home Choir.
It was conductor Marin Alsop, a leading “ambassador for classical music in the 21st century” (Financial Times), who first conceived the Global Ode to Joy. The project was inspired in its new, digital incarnation by “All Together: A Global Ode to Joy,” the yearlong Beethoven celebration she designed in partnership with Carnegie Hall, which would have seen her lead ten orchestras at the leading venues of six continents, with each orchestral partner creating innovative programs to reimagine the message of Beethoven’s chorus within its local community. When the pandemic struck, all but the first of these engagements were cancelled. However, on seeing the trauma wrought by the worldwide health crisis and the subsequent social, political and economic fallout, she became all the more committed to her project’s essential mission. She recently recorded a four-episode series about Beethoven, “Quest for Joy” for WQXR, which is scheduled to air on December 13–16.