All events Concert

Beethoven: 1808 Reconstructed

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Esa-Pekka Salonen talking to Philharmonia players


Esa-Pekka Salonen – conductor
Gerard McBurney – creative director

Stephen Fry – speaker
Pierre-Laurent Aimard – piano
Golda Schultz – soprano

Aoife Miskelly – soprano
Clare Presland – mezzo soprano
Stuart Jackson – tenor

David Shaw – tenor
Ashley Riches – bass-baritone

Aidan Oliver – chorus director
Philharmonia Voices
Rodolfus Choir

Rick Fisher – lighting designer


Beethoven Symphony No. 6, Pastoral

Beethoven Concert aria, Ah! Perfido!

Beethoven Mass in C: Gloria

Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4

— Interval —

Beethoven Symphony No. 5

Beethoven 'Sanctus’ and 'Benedictus' from Mass in C

Beethoven Fantasia in G minor, Op. 77

Beethoven Choral Fantasy

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts a new production recreating one of the most famous concerts in the history of classical music: Beethoven’s epic Vienna concert of December 1808.

Reaching towards heaven but constrained by reality: Beethoven’s ‘Akademie’ concert at Vienna’s Teater an der Wien, three days before Christmas 1808 was both a crowning triumph and plagued by mishaps.

Remarkably, three of Beethoven’s masterpieces – the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, and the Fourth Piano Concerto – received their public premiere in this unique and extravagantly lengthy concert conducted by Beethoven himself. Other recent music considered important enough to be included were two movements from the Mass in C and the first performance of the Choral Fantasy in which the composer himself, as in the Concerto, was also the soloist. It was the great composer displaying to the Viennese public the full panoply of his genius – as composer, conductor, virtuoso pianist and improviser.

Yet, the event was at times farcical: the audience shivered in a cold auditorium; amateurs had to fill in gaps within the orchestra, and the Choral Fantasy was barely finished in time for the concert.

In a new production, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia bring this piece of music history to life.

Stephen Fry, renowned actor, writer and presenter, joins us with hilarious, vivid descriptions of the original concert, taken from the letters and diaries of those who were there.

Need to know

Prices & Discounts

£17 – £72 (premium)

Subscription discounts available; under-18s and concessions discounts available; discounted tickets for students via Student Pulse one month before the concert (limited availability)

Start time:

Please note, the concert starts at 2pm

Running time:

4 hours 15 minutes, including a single interval [two intervals were originally advertised]

Recommended age

From 7+

Programme notes

Read progamme notes


Surtitles will be displayed


Choir stalls are not on sale

Box office

Philharmonia Box Office: 0800 652 6717

Artist change

Due to health concerns, Andreas Haefliger is unable to travel to the UK to perform in our Beethoven Day on Sunday 15 March. We are very grateful to Pierre-Laurent Aimard for stepping in at short notice. The programme remains unchanged.


Royal Festival Hall

Royal Festival Hall

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

View on Google Maps

Before the concert

London season illustration

Part of 2019/20 London Season

Esa-Pekka Salonen on stage conducting at the Proms

Part of Philharmonia at 75 Series

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