University-wide, Talks & Lectures, Performing & Visual Arts, Open to the Public, Conferences, College of Arts and Letters
4 Dec 2020
Zoom TBA

The Old Ludwig Van: What Does Beethoven Mean to Us Today

[email protected] - Stevens Academic Seminar Series

The College of Arts and Letters - Music and Technology

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The College of Arts and Letters presents [email protected], a virtual festival to celebrate the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). From November 18 to December 16, join this festival, planned under the guidance of Aysegul Durakoglu, artistic director and teaching professor, and Kelland Thomas, dean.

On December 4, Michael Steinmann, professor of philosophy and director of Stevens' humanities and social sciences program, will lead the academic round table, "The Old Ludwig Van: What Does Beethoven Mean to Us Today?" Steinmann specializes in ethics, including applied ethics, and German philosophy of the 19th and 20th century.


Beethoven is not only one of the greatest composers, he is also a cultural icon that represents the desire for freedom and emancipation. Beethoven embraced and admired the revolutions that happened during his lifetime. He admired Napoleon first and then criticized him for restoring the political oppression of the Old Regime. The Ninth Symphony was conducted by Leonard Bernstein in 1989 as a celebration of the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the Cold War. For many, Beethoven is a hero in his overcoming of deafness that affected him during the composition of his mature works. In Beethoven, we have the example of a truly modern artist who defies conventions and, especially in his late work, adopts a free and radical style of creation. Films like Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange have made use of the ecstatic effects of his music. In recent times, the rumor circulated again that Beethoven may have been not a white man but black. In this round table, we want to explore what Beethoven means for us today. What moves us still in his work and in his life, and what promise does both his music and his artistic personality hold for the future?

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