Boston Philharmonic Orchestra

All Beethoven Program

Coriolan Overture

8 minutes

Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor" 

38 minutes

Symphony No. 5

31 minutes

Benjamin Zander, conductor

Robert levin, piano


Mahler and Beethoven are the two central figures in Benjamin Zander’s musical life. Fifteen years ago the BPO devoted an entire season just to the music of Mahler, even spilling over into the first concert of the following year. Mr. Zander has not gone to such extremes with Beethoven, but for this, his 80th birthday year, he felt justified in indulging himself with at least one all-Beethoven program.

These three works all come from the middle, “heroic” period of Beethoven’s output, but they couldn’t be more different from each other. The Coriolan Overture is the only genuinely tragic piece of music that Beethoven ever composed. Darkly dramatic, compressed, almost claustrophobic, it is one of the composer’s most unusual orchestral works.

Nothing could be further from the brooding world of Coriolan than the “Emperor” Concerto, the last great, jubilant affirmation of the composer’s middle period. It is by a considerable margin the longest piano concerto that had been written by that point in music history, the most virtuosic – to the point of flamboyance – and the most revolutionary. It is possible to play this piece to dazzling effect as a virtuoso showpiece, but its deeper recesses are only revealed by truly great musicians. And we certainly have one of those in pianist Robert Levin! Levin has been a major force in classical music ever since his early days as a prodigy, and he has spent a lifetime pondering and playing the great works – of Mozart and Beethoven especially – and brings to them a depth of understanding that can hardly be matched by any other pianist today. And his thoughts are always in a state of evolution, so we can never be sure what to expect! 

190202 BPO 3- Soloist v1

And, finally, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony – the absolutely iconic Beethoven work. It is in part because it is so well known that Mr. Zander has always been powerfully attracted to it, because his study of what Beethoven actually wrote revealed a piece that is quite different from what one usually hears. His bracing, often revelatory account of this piece has thrilled audiences at the BPO and all over the world whenever he has conducted it.

Make no mistake about it, this concert will be a major event of the 2018-19 concert season in Boston!

For more information:

Program Book

From our blog: Maestro Zander on Beethoven's Fifth

View Mr. Zander's masterclass on conducting Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

Read From the Maestro's Desk: Believing Beethoven

All dates, repertoire, venues, and artists subject to change.


THURSDAY, february 14, 2019
Guide to the music with Benjamin Zander throughout concert
(Discovery Series)

Tickets for Thursday are available only through the Harvard Box Office: Visit their website or call 617-496-2222

SATURDAY, february 16, 2019 
Guide to the music with Benjamin Zander, 6:45pm
Tickets are also available through the Jordan Hall Box Office call (617) 585-1260

SUNDAY, february 17, 2019
Guide to the music with Benjamin Zander, 1:45pm

Tickets are also available through the Harvard Box Office: Visit their website or call 617-496-2222