Weekend Recommendation: Beethoven Marathon

So far, the campaign for one of the greatest classical music events in Europe, which will be held in Novi Sad on Sunday, 26 June, has probably attracted your attention. A marathon endeavour, a performance of all nine of Beethoven’s brilliant symphonies by the Dortmund and Belgrade Philharmonic orchestras, Slovak Philharmonic Choir and four soloists from the Netherlands, Austria and the USA, has been dedicated to one of the greatest composers of all times.

Gabriel Feltz, a chief conductor of the Dortmund Philharmonic and mastermind behind the endeavour, will be standing in front of renowned musicians, while the concept of the event is such that the Philharmonic will alternate in performing the first eight symphonies in the first City Concert Hall in the history of Novi Sad on Sunday morning, while we will have a chance to listen to the Symphony No. 9 at the Petrovaradin Fortress with a symbolic beginning at 8.22 p.m. (20.22) It will be the last Beethoven’s symphony, the greatest work by the famous composer, with choir performing ‘Ode to Joy’ written by Friedrich Schiller, that will send a strong message of peace and togetherness. The incredible 190 musicians from 6 countries and 103 local musicians will unite on the City Concert Hall stage and the Petrovaradin Fortress, which will create a unique experience for the audience.

As a hymn of the European Union, ‘Ode to Joy’ presents in the best way what message Novi Sad, as this year’s European Capital of Culture, wants to send with its programme arch taking place at the moment – ‘Fortress of Peace’, within which this unique event is organised. Thus, this year’s European Capital of Culture confirms the status of Novi Sad as a city of classical music, particularly because of the preparations for this prestigious title, when an impressive number of such great events were held. Some of them, including ‘Korzo’, the concert of classical music under the clear skies, taking place every September five years in a row, and open-air operas ‘Carmen’ and ‘Aida’, have shown the audience and organiser’s readiness to move programme and production boundaries in the region. The ‘Fortress of Peace’ is another confirmation since, during June and July, we can expect eight similar concerts discussing the same topics such as peace, multiculturality, mutual understanding and intercultural cooperation through classical music.

For that reason, Beethoven’s symphonies, which went through various challenges regarding the audience acceptance and eventually culminated in the Symphony No. 9 and the unfinished ‘Ode to Joy’, were perceived as a metaphorical message to Europe and the world that are currently going through a war crisis. The incompleteness of this masterpiece reflects the incompleteness of the European Union as a community, which accepts the diversity of peoples and represents a utopian plan that has yet to be realised – and there is no better way than music to unite diversity. That is why the cooperation between German and Serbian musicians is of great importance for this year’s European Capital of Culture, but also for the whole of Europe, and this achievement remains inscribed as one of the most important events in the recent musical history of the city.


City Concert Hall

10 a.m. / Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 2 (Dortmund Philharmonic)

12.30 p.m. / Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 4 (Belgrade Philharmonic)

3 p.m. / Symphony No. 5 and Symphony No. 6 (Dortmund Philharmonic)

5.30 p.m. / Symphony No. 7 and Symphony No. 8 (Belgrade Philharmonic)

Petrovaradin Fortress

8.22 p.m. (20.22) / Symphony No. 9


You can buy tickets for concerts in the City Concert Hall at Gigs Tix ticket offices, while the entry to the concert at the Petrovaradin Fortress is free.

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