Beethoven’s Ninth: The Story Behind The Masterpiece

Thomas Kelly – Harvard University

Professor Kelly will present a brief taste of his popular Harvard course, “First Nights.” We’ll begin in 1814 Vienna, using pictures and sound to recapture the first performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – perhaps the best-known piece of classical music. This talk will let us in on some things that Beethoven’s audience knew about, and it may change the way we listen to a favorite (or a new) piece of music.

Thomas Kelly is a Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University. He won the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society for “The Beneventan Chant.” He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an Honorary Citizen of the city of Benevento, and a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres of the French Republic.