The International Beethoven Project (IBP) has announced that RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert is the 2019 laureate of the Beethoven Spirit Award! She will receive the accolade at an event celebrating Beethoven's 249th birthday under the iconic Tiffany dome at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington Street, from 4pm to 7pm on Monday, December 16th (you can order free tickets here).
Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affaires and Special Events, will deliver an introduction, followed by performances from pianists George Lepauw, Greg Spero, composer Joel Styzens and singers Isaiah Robinson and Rashada Dawan. The inaugural Aleksandra Jovanovic Music Teacher Award will also be presented to piano virtuoso Yana Reznik.
"This year, IBP's theme entitled 'Spirit' is about Beethoven, the man, the humanist who supported the French Revolution, who overcame deafness to write Ode to Joy, today's anthem of the European Union, who gave charity concerts to support the families of fallen soldiers in the wars with Napoleon, who believed in liberté, egalité, fraternité," said IBP president George Lepauw in a statement. "The Beethoven Spirit Award is given every year to an accomplished person that has lived a life of humanistic action connected to the arts. Chaz Ebert is a humanist who promotes justice and a better world through the arts, highlighting important voices in film, supporting young and emerging artists, caring for the urban environment. Chaz is a model citizen of Chicago and, through her many personal and philanthropic engagements across the globe, of the world."
The Beethoven Spirit Award ceremony caps off a four-day series of festivities, running Friday, December 13th, through Monday, December 16th, that celebrates Beethoven's creativity and humanism with music, art, and merriment. This 10th annual Beethoven Birthday Bash celebration will be held in honor of the composer’s 249th birthday. This multi-day event based in Chicago, and online throughout the world, will honor Beethoven the musician and the man through this season’s chosen theme: SPIRIT. Festivities include two special screenings of "Bach48: Voyage Into the Well-Tempered Clavier," a film by Martin Mirabel and Mariano Nante, with pianist George Lepauw and tonmeister Harms Achtergarde, produced by the IBP.
The story follows pianist George Lepauw as he embarks on a journey through Germany's scenic Thuringia region to find out the origin of J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier in a prison cell in Weimar, Germany, which leads him to record the entire five-hour masterpiece in the town's oldest church. The full feature 33-minute documentary is to be released in 2020, and accompanies a full album of the entire Well-Tempered Clavier by J.S. Bach, to be released on Orchid Classics of London in February 2020.
Here is the complete line-up of events occurring on the first three days of the 249th Beethoven Birthday Bash, including two bolded screenings of "Bach48: Voyage Into the Well-Tempered Clavier," featuring George Lepauw (the trailer is embedded below). All of the following events excluding those scheduled for Monday will take place at the Hairpin Art Center, 2810 N Milwaukee Ave.
Friday, December 13th – 8pm-Midnight
8:30pm George Lepauw, introduction and piano performance
9pm Jean Claudio, dance
9:20pm Bach48 Documentary Film premiere: “Voyage Into the Well-Tempered Clavier”
10pm Brett Richardson, multi-genre piano
10:30pm The Jeremiah Review, multi-genre instrumental quartet
Saturday, December 14th – 3pm-1am
3:45pm Elliot Taggart, piano with Silent Theatre
4pm Sammy Tramp & Darling Violet with Silent Theatre
4:15pm Airs from Beethoven’s Fidelio: Jenna Schroer, Soprano & Jonathan Cebreros, Tenor
5pm Beloved Variations, ASL theatre with Hannah Burt, Phillip Lewis and Sar Cohen
5:15pm Matt Griffo, piano and Leyla I. Royale, cello, music and comedy
5:30p Jacob Mayfield: Mind Reader
6pm Anastasia Royal’s multi-disciplinary Exclusion Park
7pm Isaiah Collier, Saxophone and The Chosen Few featuring Kennedy Banks
7:30pm Dashing and Darling
7:50pm Greg Spero, jazz piano
8:50pm Joel Styzens, piano & Gina Hoch-Stall, dance
9:15pm Matt Massaro and Jamie Budzic, stand-up comedy
9:30pm Brett Richardson, multi-genre piano
10pm ODE, Rock Band
11pm – 1am Jam Sessions & Dance Party
Sunday, December 15th 3pm-8pm
3pm Bach48 documentary film: “Voyage Into the Well-Tempered Clavier”
3:45pm Vibrate the Cosmos with Stevenson Valentor (Mehtab Kirtan), music & meditation
4:30pm Dr. Charles Smith plays Beethoven, piano
4:45pm Beethoven’s Irish Songs with Kathleen Monson, soprano and Riko Higuma, piano
5:15pm The Ludwig van Game Show!
6:30pm The Aleksandra Jovanovic Student Showcase & Teacher Award to Yana Reznik
7:30pm George Lepauw, piano
Monday, December 16th 4pm-7pm
4pm Musical Introduction
4:15pm Welcome by 2018 Beethoven Spirit Award laureate Mark Kelly, Commissioner
4:30pm George Lepauw, piano, and friends concert
6pm 2019 Beethoven Spirit Award presentation to Chaz Ebert
6:30p Happy 249th Birthday, Beethoven! Isaiah Robinson, Rashada Dawan, Greg Spero
6:45pm Closing Thoughts and Musical Conclusion
Purchase your tickets to the Beethoven Birthday Bash, including the awards event, here. If you sign up for a membership to the Benjamin Marshall Society at Monday's event, you will receive two keepsake gifts. For more information, visit the official IBP site.