Beethoven 2020 journey – Prologue


24 & 25 January 2020, Battersea Arts Centre

As with any good story, we’ll be setting the scene for our mammoth Beethoven exploration by exploring the fascinating childhood that would go on to have huge implications for the composer, in our first ever chamber event.




It begins!

Born in the sleepy but quietly progressive town of Bonn, Beethoven’s alcoholic father (himself a mediocre musician) saw in his son a potential child genius in the same vein as Mozart, and put a young Beethoven under immense pressure in his musical studies. As he grew, Beethoven was forced to take on more responsibility for his family as the head of the family descended further and further into drunkenness, whilst at the same time being shaped by his first real teacher, Christian Gottlob Neefe, in both his music and wider beliefs.

Join us in the newly re-opened Battersea Arts Centre as we look at how these (often traumatic) early years moulded the man who created some of the greatest music ever written. With a mixture of pieces from his key influences Bach and Mozart, as well as some of Beethoven’s own early compositions, this event will give you everything you need to get started on your own Beethoven discovery, in a beautifully intimate and relaxed environment.

Discover our Beethoven Journey

relaxed & informal

Food & Drink

A signature part of the evening is our bespoke food offering* and themed cocktail bar.

Beethoven’s grandfather was, in his time, the most important musician in the city of Bonn. He also ran a successful side business selling Rhineland wine back to his native Belgium, and this certainly had implications on the Beethoven family – for better or worse! For our opening event of 2020, Paul and Sam at Mix & Match will be sourcing some fantastic wines from the Rhineland region, alongside some incredible cocktails that young Beethoven may have found enticing…

Unlike the cosmopolitan culinary landscape Beethoven would later discover in Vienna, the food of his childhood was very much rooted in Rhenish German tradition. Our chefs have dug into the history of food from this period and their menu takes inspiration from some of the region’s traditional dishes.

*Veggie, Vegan and gluten-free options available

Absolutely wonderful! Thank you for a spectacular performance.

Thank you for bringing the stories to life this evening. It was lovely!

Maddie + Seb
An absolutely gorgeous evening! Fun, informative + glorious music...and flapjack ;)

Hannah & Richard
Thank you for a wonderful evening of music, an amazing ambience!

Lauren & Carl
This is clever, absorbing, fun and relaxing. All good. Well done. We will be back.

Great to see the musicians up close and hear the explanations from the conductor!

Mike and Roxy
Yet again you guys nailed it. You demystify classical music for the common man. That is an art in itself.


Upcoming events

Battersea Arts Centre


24th to 25th January 2020

We will be setting the scene for our year-long Beethoven 2020 Journey by exploring the childhood of the man that would become Beethoven…

Porchester Hall

Chapter 1 – Early Years In Vienna

20th to 22nd February 2020

By the time a 22 year old Beethoven arrives in Vienna, he is one of the finest pianists alive, ready to begin his conquest of the musical capital of Europe…

Battersea Arts Centre

Chapter 2 – Crisis Of Despair

19th to 21st March 2020

During his mid-twenties, everything is going pretty well for Beethoven in Vienna until a cataclysmic event threatens to rob him of the very thing that defines him as an artist…

York Hall

Chapter 3 – A New Inspiration

23rd to 25th April 2020

Beethoven’s views on the world were very much shaped during his formative years in the progressive town of Bonn. These ideas are brought to bear on his heroic and game-changing 3rd symphony.

Porchester Hall

Chapter 4 – Patronage

14th to 16th May 2020

Thriving as a freelance composer in Beethoven’s day was no easy thing. Here we explore how Beethoven made his way through the world in pursuit of his art.

York Hall

Chapter 5 – “Thus Fate Knocks at the Door”

11th to 13th June 2020

Beethoven’s 5th Symphony features one of the most famous introductions to any piece of classical music ever. Here we explore the significance of those opening notes and what they meant to Beethoven 10 years on from the onset of his deafness.

Battersea Arts Centre

Chapter 6 – Painting with Music

16th to 18th July 2020

Throughout a life filled with emotional despair and physical afflictions, Beethoven was never happier than when he was away from the city and strolling through the countryside.

Alexandra Palace Theatre

Chapter 7 – Immortal Beloved

17th to 19th September 2020

As Beethoven’s mastery of music goes from strength to strength, his search for love becomes increasingly futile.

Royal Horticultural Halls

Chapter 8 – The Dance of Decadence Ball

23rd to 24th October 2020

With the defeat of Napoleon, Beethoven’s Vienna is transformed into a whirlwind of balls, banquets and entertainment as the powers of Europe negotiate the future of Europe. During this historical moment, Beethoven’s fame and success reach their zenith.

Battersea Arts Centre

Interlude – Down but not Out

13th to 14th November 2020

After 8 years of white-hot creativity, Beethoven’s creative output slows considerably as his struggles with love, money and his health take their toll.

Royal Horticultural Halls

Chapter 9 – Ode to Joy

11th to 12th December 2020

Beethoven’s final symphony is one of the crowning achievements of his remarkable existence and the full expression of the spiritual values he grew up with and carried with him throughout his life.