Quatuor Ébène will mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, as well as their own 20th anniversary, in 2020 by performing the full cycle of the composer’s string quartets. They will bring Beethoven’s music, which they describe as “an absolute peak of beauty and delight”, to all continents. Their “Beethoven around the world” project, and their role as Beethoven Ambassadors, reflect the quartet’s “commitment to serving his music”, music they see as “eternally modern”. The project will be their sole focus in the coming year – their odyssey for 2020.
Artists take a stand for the protection of the environment
The Beethoven Pastoral Project, a part of the huge international Beethoven 2020 celebration, puts the spotlight on Beethoven’s love of Nature. It gives artists the opportunity, through performances of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, or works inspired by it in 2020, to take a stand for the protection of the environment and for a world free of climate change.
We need your cultural statement to preserve the environment – register now for the Beethoven Pastoral Project!
For Quatuor Ébène, Beethoven’s music “touches the soul”. The Pastoral Symphony, like other Beethoven works in the key of F-major, resonates with “feelings of open-air, flowing water and sunshine”. It is “more than landscapes and nature”, offering a “field of freedom” and a “feeling of paradise”. For the musicians of Quatuor Ébène, artists of the 21st century, the Pastoral also connects to “the urgent consideration of today’s environmental problems, which are advancing faster than the worst predictions of scientists”.
Citizens, not less, not more
When asked about whether musicians should step out of their artistic personae and speak out on environmental issues, the musicians of Quatuor Ébène described themselves as “citizens, not less, not more” – but citizens who “feel it is time to discuss and bravely open our eyes and minds to the disaster which is going on”.
Noting that “to LvB’s mind, nature and heaven were pretty much the same thing, they call on humanity today to “think deeper” about the planet, inspired by Beethoven’s idealistic and universal philosophy. Through their “Beethoven around the world” project, Quatuor Ébène “want to be a drop in the sea, a seed on the earth, helping the human soul to enlarge its tolerance and capacity for curiosity”.
Flights will be carbon neutral
The quartet shows their commitment to this vision not only through their music but also through their actions. The carbon emissions arising from their around-the-world project will be offset through Air France’s “Trip and Tree” programme. In this context, Quatuor Ébène will travel to Nairobi, Kenya in December 2019 where they will undertake a residency, including performances, working with kids in the Ghetto classic programme, and participating in environmental events and projects.
Quatuor Ébène will perform “their pastoral” on 20 April/Earth Day 2020, in Philadelphia, PA, USA.