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What is Beethoven: The Late Great?

Beethoven: The Late Great is the Society's multi-year Beethoven celebration and musical exploration, curated by Dean Corey, into the final transcendence of one of the greatest composers of all time.

After watching the play 33 Variations, the story of a terminally ill musicologist racing against her own mortality trying to solve the riddle of why Beethoven wrote 33 variations of Anton Diabelli’s silly little waltz when he was only commissioned to write one, Mr. Corey was inspired to curate a number of Beethoven performances from his late period for the Philharmonic Society so audiences could explore this curious time in the composer’s life.

Join us on this exploration into Beethoven.

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News & Events

Beethoven: The Late Great Events: January-May 2014
1/1/2014 12:00:00 AM

Mandelring Quartet
February 23 | 3pm | Irvine Barclay Theatre

Beethoven's String Quartet in A minor, and works by Mendelssohn and Shostakovich. Pre-concert lecture by Dean Corey, 2pm. Tickets start at $35.

Beethoven -- The Finale
May 15 | 8pm | Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

The Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Daniel Alfred Wachs performs Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the first movement of his Piano Concerto No. 1, and the U.S. West Coast premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Frieze (commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society, BBC Radio 3 and the New York Philharmonic). Appearances by choirs of Chapman University and UCI, The Chapman Orchestra, and soloists. Tickets start at $20.

Red Hot
January 20 - February 20 | South Coast Plaza

Internationally renowned artist Trimpin's new work "Red Hot" is an interactive piece made up of a deconstructed baby grand piano suspended from a tripod, configured to play the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and other Beethoven themes when triggered by movement from passersby. FREE to the general public during regular business hours.

Beethoven & Schroeder
Available for viewing at the following concerts:
Jan. 22 (Royal Philharmonic) & May 15 (Beethoven--Finale) | Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Feb. 23 (Mandelring Quartet) & Mar. 21 (Scharoun Ensemble Berlin) | Irvine Barclay Theatre

An exhibition of Charles Schulz's beloved Peanuts comic strips featuring a serious young pianist named Schroeder whose love for Beethoven and his music was all-consuming. A self-playing Yamaha Disklavier piano, graciuosly provided by Keyboard Concepts and Yamaha, will accompany the exhibition and provide patrons with an up-close mini performance of Beethoven's challenging Hammerklavier Sonata, which was featured in one of the strips. FREE to all ticketholders where the exhibit is located.

Beethoven: The Late Great Exhibition
February 8 - May 18 | Bowers Museum

See rare Beethoven artifacts curated by Dr. William Meredith, director of the Beethoven Center at San Jose State University. Included are three original manuscripts never before exhibited on the West Coast from the Library of Congress, the life mask of 1812, locks of the composer's hair, and more. Highlights include original manuscripts of the String Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130, and the Hammerklavier Sonata. Admission: Adults $13 weekdays/$15 weekends; Students and Seniors (62+) $10 weekdays/$12 weekends; Free under 12.

Distinguished Opening Lecture with Bill Meredith
February 8 | 1:30pm - 2:30pm | Bowers Museum

Join one of the world's preeminent Beehoven scholars in an in-depth conversation on Beethoven. Learn facts about Beethoven: the man and the composer. Admission: $7 for Bowers members; $10 non-members or $5 with museum admission.

Lecture & Book Signing with Dean Corey
March 28 | 8pm | Bowers Museum

Philharmonic Society President and Artistic Director Dean Corey talks about his new book, his lifelong fascination with Beethoven, his career in classical music, and the inspiration behind the Society's Beethoven project. Admission: $15 for Bowers members; $20 non-members (price includes museum admission starting at 5pm).

In Search of Beethoven
February 9 & 18, March 8 | 1:30pm - 3pm | Bowers Museum

Documentary account of the life of Beethoven, covering all of the major highlights from his birth in 1770 through his death in 1827. Rated G; run time 139 min. Admission: $7 for Bowers members; $10 non-members or $5 with museum admission.

Beethoven's Hair
April 5 & 16 | 1:30pm - 3pm | Bowers Museum

Tracethe unlikely journey of a lock of hair cut from Beethoven's corpse and unravel the mystery of his tortured life and death. Unrated, run time 84 min. Audience grades 7-12 and adult. FREE to Bowers members, free with museum admission or $8 individual ticket.

Copying Beethoven
May 1 & 17 | 1:30pm - 3:15pm | Bowers Museum

A fictional take on the triumphs and heartaches of Ludwig van Beethoven's last years. PG13, run time 104 min. FREE to Bowers members, free with museum admission or $8 individual ticket.

2014 Newport Beach Film Festival
Orange County Theatrical Premiere: Following the Ninth
Multiple screenings: April 24 - May 1 | Various venues in Newport Beach

A cinematic journey across five continents and into the heart and soul of one of the world's greatest works of art, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Tickets on sale April 1st. For a complete listing of screening dates and showtimes, visit

2/1/2013 12:00:00 PM

In recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Philharmonic Society and the 21st and final season of Dean Corey’s leadership, the Society will present a multi-season celebration of the major late works of Ludwig van Beethoven and feature community-wide events showcasing Beethoven and his inspirational genius.

2013-14 Beethoven: The Late Great Events
      - Screenings of new documentary Following the Ninth
      - Ode to Joy art and sound installation by artist Trimpin
      - Publication of Dean Corey's book Beethoven: The Late Great: 33 Personal Variations
      - Bowers Beethoven Exhibit and Copying Beethoven film screening
      - Charles M. Schulz' Peanuts Exhibit featuring "Schroeder and Beethoven"
      - Beethoven Concerts for Fifth Graders
      - Beethoven: The Late Great Finale concert with Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven's Ninth and the U.S. West Coast premiere of new Turnage commission Frieze

      Please check back for up-to-date information on Beethoven: The Late Great events.

      For the latest press materials, contact us.

      To join our mailing list, email us.

      Upcoming Beethoven: The Late Great Concerts

      For a full listing of Society events, click here.

      Festival Partners


      Pre-concert Lectures by Dean Corey

      All Beethoven: The Late Great concerts will be preceded by pre-concert lectures featuring Philharmonic Society President and Artistic Director Dean Corey.

      Pre-concert lectures take place 1 hour prior to scheduled concert time and are complimentary to ticket holders.

      Repertoire to be discussed and then performed include:
      Mandelring Quartet 
           BEETHOVEN: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132
      Beethoven: The Late Great - The Finale
           TURNAGE: Frieze
           BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 1 (first movement)
           BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 

      Other Beethoven Resources

      American Beethoven Society
      An international organization of individuals devoted to the study and appreciation of Beethoven's life, music, and influence on culture and society to the present day.

      Beethoven-Haus Bonn
      Discover new or little known facts about the famous composer. Gain an insight into the work of the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn and make use of the varied services on offer. In the place where Ludwig van Beethoven was born, he is still at his most alive.

      Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University
      The only institution in North America devoted solely to the life, works, and accomplishments of Ludwig van Beethoven.

      Schulz's Beethoven: Schroeder's Muse
      An online exhibit that explores the role of Ludwig van Beethoven's music in Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts comic strip.

      Beethoven: The Late Great Sponsors

      For information on sponsorship of the Society's Beethoven: The Late Great project, please contact:

      Bonnie Brittain Hall
      Vice President of Development
      Philharmonic Society of Orange County
      2082 Business Center Drive, Suite 100
      Irvine, CA 92612
      Tel: 949.553.2422, ext. 202
      Fax: 949.553.2421