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Beethoven, a Life

Beethoven, a Life

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Key Metrics

  • Jan Caeyers
  • University of California Press
  • Hardcover
  • 9780520343542
  • 9.1 X 5.9 X 1.9 inches
  • 2.4 pounds
  • Biography & Autobiography > Entertainment & Performing Arts
  • English
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Book Description

The authoritative Beethoven biography, endorsed by and produced in close collaboration with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, is timed for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth.

With unprecedented access to the archives at the Beethoven House in Bonn, renowned Beethoven conductor and scholar Jan Caeyers expertly weaves together a deeply human and complex image of Beethoven--his troubled youth, his unpredictable mood swings, his desires, relationships, and conflicts with family and friends, the mysteries surrounding his affair with the immortal beloved, and the dramatic tale of his deafness. Caeyers also offers new insights into Beethoven's music and its gradual transformation from the work of a skilled craftsman into that of a consummate artist.

Demonstrating an impressive command of the vast scholarship on this iconic composer, Caeyers brings Beethoven's world alive with elegant prose, memorable musical descriptions, and vivid depictions of Bonn and Vienna--the cities where Beethoven produced and performed his works. Caeyers explores how Beethoven's career was impacted by the historical and philosophical shifts taking place in the music world, and conversely, how his own trajectory changed the course of the music industry. Equal parts absorbing cultural history and lively biography, Beethoven, A Life paints a complex portrait of the musical genius who redefined the musical style of his day and went on to become one of the great pillars of Western art music.

Beethoven, a Life

Author Bio

Jan Caeyers studied musicology at the University of Leuven, (PhD in 1985 on Jean-Philippe Rameau). At the same time he finished his musical studies at the Royal Conservatorium in Antwerp (flute) and at the Musikhochschule in Vienna (conducting). In 1985 he was appointed as a full-time professor in musicology in Leuven with the focus on late 18th- and early 19th-century music (history and analyses) and on historically-informed performance. 

Since 2001 he is a part-time member of the musicology department. As a conductor Jan Caeyers was assistant to Claudio Abbado at the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, from 1993 to 1997, where he also had the opportunity to work alongside Bernard Haitink and Pierre Boulez. Until 2003 he was the director of the Beethoven Academy and since 2010 he is conducting Le Concert Olympique, the orchestra he created to bring authentic, relevant and referential performances of the music of Beethoven.  

As a freelance conductor he has worked at the Opera in Stuttgart, and with orchestras in Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Florence and Prague. He has also conducted such leading European choral ensembles as the Arnold Schoenberg Chor in Vienna and the Nederlands Kamerkoor.


Jan Caeyers wrote down his in-depth views on Beethoven in his substantial volume entitled Beethoven. Der einsame Revolutionär, which was published in Dutch in 2009 and translated into German by C.H. Beck in Munich in 2012, with a series of translations expected to follow. He also made many recordings, mostly Beethoven and contemporaries.

 

Source: KU Leuve

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