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What are we up to?

More than an orchestra of some of the best musicians in the UK, the Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity is a new kind of concert experience where we weave music and a provocative talk around a topical issue that all we’re dealing with today. 

We’re performing in intimate venues with limited seating in order that everyone can see, hear and feel inside the sound and to complete this we’re inviting the audience to be completely free from any classical conventions that tell you where and when not to clap.

It’s a big melting pot where one element plays off another and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

For our opening event we’re thrilled that Francesca Martinez, comedian, activist and writer, is our guest speaker:

She’ll be speaking about climate change and social responsibility and we’ll be playing music from Beethoven and other composers that relates – either on themes of nature (Beethoven’s incredible Pastoral Symphony), society (Górecki Symphony of Sorrowful Songs Part 2) and humanity (Beethoven’s Leonora and Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras). 

We’ve kickstarted for £10,000 to launch a series of events starting with our first concert on Monday, 8 February 2016! Our opening night will give us the platform from which to build our future. Putting on each concert involves a unique venue, 40 musicians, guest speaker and much more, so on a straight profit sheet it’s totally uneconomical.

So why bother?

We want to do more than bring the sheer power and beauty of classical orchestral music to a new audience. We’ve designed the Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity from the ground up to create a visceral, multi-layered experience that makes a meaningful impact for audience and musicians alike.

This means conjuring up an environment where the music can speak most powerfully and directly to today’s audiences.


Launch Concert

“BOH does Climate Change”

A short talk by comedian, activist and writer Francesca Martinez

With music that relates from Beethoven, Górecki and Villa-Lobos

Date: 8pm, Monday Feb 8, 2016
Venue: Menier Chocolate Factory Studio, London Bridge 

Music in full:
Górecki: Symphony of Sorrowful Songs / 2nd Movement
Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 / Aria
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 ‘Pastoral’Leonora Overture No. 3 

Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity
Leader: Katie Stillman
Soprano: April Fredrick
Conductor: Michael Alexander Young

So what’s new?

It’s all in the mix, but in particular three things: 

The Talks

Music doesn’t exist inside a vacuum. It lives inside the times in which we live. Often we use music to ‘escape’ our lives. Here we get right into it with a talk on an issue that we’re all involved in and that sets the tone and context for the night. The music will live inside this.


The Audience

We want the audience to be central to the experience. The music we’ll be playing has soul, depth, power, beauty, shock, wit, brains, all of it. Except there are unspoken rules governing classical music concerts that tell you when and when not to respond, so we’re throwing that out the window.

The Space 

There’s nothing like the immediacy of being up-close to an orchestra of musicians playing their hearts out, bringing thrilling music to life, in the moment. Most concerts put the orchestra separate from the audience and the further back you are the less you see and hear. The less you see and hear, the less you feel. At the Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity we want the audience to experience everything. No falling asleep in the first half here!


Why Beethoven?

Beethoven literally transformed music, tore up the rule book in the process and made it reveal both who we are and who we can be; he was possibly the greatest humanitarian in all art. As Tom Service put it so well, in any moment of Beethoven there’s the sense that everything is possible. We like that.

P.S. We won’t only be playing Beethoven!

Who we are

A collective of like-minded musicians and entrepreneurs who believe that when the best classical music is played as it should be, with raw passion and total commitment, it hits the sweet spot of depth and accessibility and is truly life-changing stuff. It’s for everybody and we want to get it out there. And at the same time, we think it can make the world a better place, especially when placed at the heart of the conversations that are shaping the times we live in. 

For the full team click here.