Beethoven Sonata Marathon Reaches Thousands of Online Listeners

Listen to Four Performance Highlights Below

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jeremy Denk performs the 'Hammerklavier' Sonata in The Greene Space Jeremy Denk performs the 'Hammerklavier' Sonata (Stephanie Black)

UPDATE: Watch Videos of the entire Beethoven Piano Sonata Marathon

With one hushed pianissimo chord, it was over. As Jeremy Denk leapt up from the piano, so 120 people in The Greene Space were on their feet too, and cheering. This ovation marked the end of WQXR’s twelve-hour, 32-piano sonata marathon on Sunday, a centerpiece of the month-long festival known as Beethoven Awareness Month.

Despite balmy November weather, several thousand people tuned in to watch a webcast of the sold-out event on Some 30 percent of those were new visitors to the site. Meanwhile, on Varick Street, a line of people hoping for last-minute ticket returns stretched around the block in the early evening hours. While many patrons came and went throughout the day, some 25 to 30 stayed for the entire event, said Martha Bonta, WQXR’s executive producer of live events and special programming.

The marathon lineup spanned a range of personalities and national schools including the flamboyant individualists Evan Shinners and Timothy Andres; the Russian powerhouses Daria Rabotkina and Natasha Paremski; and the Chinese up-and-comers Qi Xu and Yuchong Wu. Some, including Denk, Jonathan Biss and Alessio Bax, are already boldface names on the international concert circuit; others are on their way.  

Earlier in the day, mayor Michael R. Bloomberg issued an official proclamation that Nov. 20 was "Beethoven Day" in New York.

Yet ultimately it came down to the music. We were reminded that nowhere did Beethoven write more personal music than in his sonatas. The piano was his instrument, after all, and he was constantly pushing its capacities as far as they would go.

Below are four highlights:

Alessio Bax: Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 "Pathetique"

Valentina Lisitsa: Piano Sonata No 14 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No. 2 "Moonlight"

Inon Barnatan: Piano Sonata No. 27 in E Minor, Op. 90

Michael Brown: Piano Sonata No. 15 in D, Op. 28 "Pastoral"

Jeremy Denk: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111

Theodora Kuslan/WQXR
Ching-Yun Hu played two sonatas during the marathon
Theodora Kuslan/WQXR
Yuchong Wu, a 15-year-old pre-college student at Juilliard
Theodora Kuslan/WQXR
The audience, many of whom stayed for 12 hours
Theodora Kuslan/WQXR
Jeremy Denk performed two sonatas during the marathon
Theodora Kuslan/WQXR
Louis Schwizgebel
Stephanie Black
Jonathan Biss

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Comments [9]

joseph fernandez from queens ,ny

is there any way i can purchase the beethoven sonata marathon?

Nov. 24 2011 09:04 PM

Yes, videos of the entire day will be posted soon.

(And yes, Evan Shinners was sporting a temporary Obeythoven tattoo on his palm.)

Nov. 22 2011 10:16 AM
John from Chelsea

Yes, Elizabeth, I noticed that too. In fact, he had a tattoo of the "Obeythoven" logo on his palm. You can see a picture he took of it on his facebook page. Also, I think we can all agree that WQXR should just put up the videos of every single performance from that day. People clearly want to hear them again and remember what a special day it was. Isn't that what the internet and youtube are for?

Nov. 22 2011 02:58 AM

After that performance, I really want to be friends with Evan Shinners. (Was that a tattoo on his left palm? Of what?)

Nov. 21 2011 10:36 PM
alexander from queens

Oh, Jeremy Denk, Jeremy Denk! Is it possible to see him playing hammerklavier again?

Nov. 21 2011 09:10 PM
Gary from Brooklyn

I was one of those who attended and stayed for all the sonatas. It was an amazing event that we will speak of for years to come. During the announcements Terrence said that bios for all of the performers are on this site - are they? We want to follow some of these pianists.

Nov. 21 2011 08:08 PM

And there is NO WAY that Timothy Andres was as flamboyant or as individual as Evan Shinners, but YES, agree whole heartedly with the last post, want to see Denk and Shinners again, enjoy this so much.
Thank you!

Nov. 21 2011 02:49 PM
Tim Brown from Washington, DC

I'm being greedy - will you put more of these marathon performances online? Any chance of the videos? Especially want to see Evan Shinners and Jeremny Denk again. I bought the poster today, $40 should get me something, ya think? :-)

Nov. 21 2011 02:11 PM
Kurt R from NYC

Brilliant! Thank you for web casting this, for those of us who were unable to attend in person. Will the video be archived anywhere, by chance?

Nov. 21 2011 12:27 PM

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