Home Music Not even a pandemic can stop SSO marking Beethoven’s 250th Birthday

Not even a pandemic can stop SSO marking Beethoven’s 250th Birthday

Not even a pandemic can stop SSO marking Beethoven’s 250th Birthday
Carissa Klopoushak is excited to be a part of the SSO’s Beethoven Fest. (Bo Huang)

The show will go on! The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra is logging on to celebrate an icon.

 The orchestra was set to host an 8- day music festival to celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth when the pandemic struck and public gatherings were no longer permitted. But, the SSO knew this was a milestone it couldn’t miss.

“Beethoven is one of the most instantly recognizable composers in history,” says executive director Mark Turner. “Classical musicians and music lovers around the world have been preparing for this anniversary for six years. With celebrations around the globe being silenced, we decided it was something we still had to do.”

Tenor Spencer McKnight is joining forces (virtually) with mezzo-soprano Jardena Gertler-Jaffe for this show. (Julie Isaac Photography)
Jardena Gertler-Jaffe will be teaming up with Spencer McKnight for the show Saturday. (jardenasings.com)
Godwin Friesen / Kjel Erickson
Godwin Friesen will take part in the SSO celebrations from Toronto (Kjel Erickson)

The result is a month of online shows that explore the passion and work of Beethoven.

The festivities kick off Saturday May 2, 2020, 7:30p.m. with concert on Facebook. Featured artists include violinist Carisa Klopoushak, pianist Godwin Friesen, vocalists Spencer McKnight and Jardena Gertler-Jaffe.

All are homegrown, rising superstars in classical music. They’ve been featured on the SSO stage and will be part of upcoming seasons. The artists recorded performances on their own to be merged together into one unforgettable night.

Carissa Klopoushak is on a break from the concert stage this season but the pandemic wasn’t to blame. Klopoushak slipped on ice and broke her hand this winter. She’s working on getting back to performance shape. Klopoushak wanted to be a part of this show and luckily, had a video recording of her performing Sonata No. 1 to contribute.

“It’s fun just a bright and light ray of sunshine which is something we need at this time.”

“The piece is full of dramatic moments,” says Klopoushak. “It’s fun just a bright and light ray of sunshine which is something we need at this time.”

The party continues online with a weekly prize fight Beethoven Symphonies Head to Head. Maestro Eric Paetkau will square off with three of next season’s guest conductors live. Each night, the competitors pick their favourite recording of a pre-selected Beethoven’s Symphony and then duke it out over who’s recording is the best.

The SSO is also tapping into its roster of musical celebrities and loyal audience members to create a curated playlist of Beethoven’s music. The list will feature the chosen tunes as well as their favourite memory tied to the music. The SSO hopes this will be an entertaining and welcome reprieve from the world right now and a chance to once again celebrate music.

“It keeps coming up time and time again. That things are changing all the time, right in front of us,” says Turner. We know moving forward that things are going to be different for all of us. But, Beethoven is one constant. He was the original rock star and his music is still as powerful and shocking as it ever was. It’s evident today, 250 years later, that he is still alive and well.”


SSO Beethoven Fest

Sat. May 1


SSO’s Facebook Page

To find out more, follow this link.

Britainy Zapshalla With more than 15 years as an arts reporter at CBC Radio-Canada under her belt, Britainy Zapshalla considers herself not only an expert but also a die hard fan of Saskatchewan’s entertainment scene. She’s a regular contributor to CTV Morning Live in Saskatoon and loves to help people plan their weekends with Brit’s Picks.


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