Launching our virtual Beethoven anniversary concerts, performed socially distanced, we are finding unique way to carry on performing during the Pandemic.

Local lockdowns are kicking in across the UK, but classical music enthusiasts can still enjoy ‘live’ virtual concerts from tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct 21) thanks to the ingenuity of The Hanover Band.

We have moved our entire celebrations for Beethoven’s 250th birthday online after the Coronavirus pandemic forced us to cancel all 37 concerts this year.

We managed to gather The Band’s members together during the summer, when Covid-19 restrictions were eased, and record eight out of nine of Beethoven’s symphonies. Not only did the musicians perform socially distanced, we also achieved the ambitious aim of recording such complex pieces of music in just 11 days. 

Now, despite the introduction of the Government’s tier system, the concerts are going ahead as planned, albeit online, and are open to all for free.

Our Chief Executive, Stephen Neiman, said:

“It was a hell of a feat to do in the current conditions. We were all dreadfully disappointed when lockdown meant we had to cancel our entire concert series, particularly as it is Beethoven’s 250th birthday and The Band’s own 40th anniversary. 

“Even though we couldn’t perform the symphonies in front of an audience, The Hanover Band recorded them in Stationer’s Hall in one sitting rather than splicing together different parts of the orchestra in post-production, so it is as true to a live performance as possible.

“I believe The Hanover Band is the only orchestra in Europe that has been able to do this with Beethoven’s music during this pandemic.”

The ambitious project, which cost more than £180,000 to pull together, involved 50 musicians from around the country travelling to London and maintaining a socially distanced working environment throughout the recordings. Musicians were sat two metres apart, wearing masks in between sessions and there was a mad rush to find a replacement bassoonist coming from Germany because she had to self-isolate and couldn’t fly. 

Stationers’ Hall, London, gave the use of its rooms for free and much of the cost of recordings was covered by donations from loyal supporters and classical music enthusiasts. 

The Hanover Band hopes to record Beethoven’s final 9th symphony when restrictions ease because a 32-person choir is needed, and currently they cannot meet while the rule of six is in force.

“We will need a choir as well as the 50-strong orchestra for the 9th symphony which just was not possible earlier this month but hopefully if restrictions ease the orchestra will be able to complete the cycle,” added Stephen.

“In the meantime, we have this amazing body of work available online for people to watch and listen to absolutely free. It’s a wonderful way to be able to mark Beethoven’s 250th birthday and The Hanover Band’s 40th anniversary also this year given the current situation with the pandemic.”

The first concert in our Symphony Series is being released online from tomorrow at 8pm (Wednesday, 21 Oct) and then every Wednesday through to Beethoven’s birth date on 16th December.

The recordings are available on YouTube and you can watch our Recent Broadcasts on our website:

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