Beethoven 2020

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven


In 2020, EBU radio organizations joined together to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the giants of classical music.

To mark the occasion, the EBU community offered a large selection of musical and editorial content to all EBU radio organizations including:

  • the Beethoven Collection, a specially curated selection of concerts, operas and archive recordings from around the world;
  • an audio sting commissioned from Finland’s Kaija Saariaho, one of the world’s most famous women composers; and
  • interviews, playlists and short audio/video content with major artists and celebrities from outside the world of music, to be shared online and on social media.


“Beethoven for me means a radical, world-changing, amazingly strong character as a composer. He was also a great humorist, with a great sense for dramatics and for lyrical beauty. His compositions contain everything from life and from the world”.

- Sakari Oramo, Chief Conductor of BBC Symphony Orchestra

Audio Sting


Mireia Pacareu Fauquier
Editor, Live Music and Projects, Classical Music
+41 22 717 2986

The Beethoven Collection

The Beethoven Collection features a wonderfully wide range of music from Beethoven’s oeuvre performed to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth. Its five series initially contained 110 specially curated selection of events, offered by 30 organizations, from September 2019 to December 2020. However, owing to the situation with the COVID-19, many of the concerts happening between March and June had to be cancelled or postponed to a later date.

The series still has 86 concerts, operas and archives available with memorable performances and rarely performed works. Particularly noteworthy are WDR’s offer of the opening and closing concerts of the Beethoven Anniversary Society (BTHVN 2020) and operas from the Vienna State Opera and the Royal Opera House in London.

EBU Members can find these on our Euroradio Music Exchange (MUS):

 Sep 2019 - Feb 2020 (EURO/2019-2020/B1)

 Mar - Dec 2020 (EURO/2019-2020/B2)

 Archives (EURO/2019-2020/B3)

 Summer Festivals (EURO/2020/B4)

 Sep 2020 - Dec 2020 (EURO/2020-2021/B1)



The final concert of the Beethoven Anniversary Society (BTHVN 2020) was performed by the West-East Divan Orchestra in Bonn, conducted by Daniel Barenboim on 17 December 2020.

Audio Sting

The EBU commissioned an audio sting for all EBU radio organizations from the internationally renowned composer Kaija Saariaho. Entitled "Chimera", the piece was recorded by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo on 6 November 2019 at the BBC Maida Vale Studios in London.

“Chimera is brilliant – a shimmering, multi-textured, mini-narrative inspired by Beethoven, and the more you hear it, the more details you find in it. Something really distinctive by a major European composer for EBU radio organizations to play during Beethoven Year!”.

- Edward Blakeman, Head of Music Programmes, BBC Radio 3

For broadcast

The audio sting is available to all EBU radio organizations and may be broadcast an unlimited number of times on linear and non-linear radio, used on social media and excerpted as desired for use in programming. Radio orchestras may perform the sting in concert.

 Download "Chimera" on MUS (SM/2019/11/81/01)

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