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Beethoven Festival: LOVE 2013 starts this week in Chicago

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The Beethoven Festival: LOVE 2013 is in progress this week here in Chicago.  Sponsored by the International Beethoven Project, the September 7-15, 2013 event is the organization's third annual multidisciplinary festival inspired by the creativity and genius of Ludwig van Beethoven. Exploring themes of love, religion, suffering and the path of the true artist, as with the previous festivals, This year's LOVE 2013 Festival is their most diverse yet. The goal is to engage with contemporary culture, cutting-edge creators and artists, and a public thirsty for an exciting experience that allows rare and inspiring encounters with artists of all stripes in a relaxed social environment. 

An extraordinary lineup of performing artists from Chicago and the world are coming together to collaborate, inspire, and explore the meaning of Beethoven, art and love in 2013. Many living composers, rockers, jazz and electronica artists will perform their works for the first time. This festival is all about creative collaboration – and that is how we have chosen to express our love this year. Although it's a well-explored subject through the ages, LOVE does relate particularly well this year given how societal views are evolving on the concept of relationships, and it connects profoundly to Beethoven's own story – most vividly in his passionate and beautiful letters to the ‘Immortal Beloved'. Love fuels the creative fire that artists need, and in our third annual festival we're showcasing what drives artists to create and perform passionately at the highest level. The International Beethoven Project is growing a family of creatives who are committed in this way, and who feel as strongly as we do about making Chicago, and the world, a better place through the arts and culture.As one case in point, the festival commissioned 28 composers to write pieces based on Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Sounds like a marvelous musical adventure. You can check it out at the Merit School Of Music, 38 S. Peoria Street.

A not-for-profit organization founded in 2009 the International Beethoven Project came from the outgrowth of a Paris project begun in early 2007 by concert pianist George Lepauw. In just a few short years the project has made an indelible mark on the international music and art scene with its performance projects and festivals.

While the IBP was initially born with the single goal of giving the world premiere of Beethoven's H47, the public's and the press's huge enthusiasm for renewed attention to Beethoven in general inspired a grander vision with long-term implications for IBP's actions. The organization dug further into Beethoven's story and music and decided to develop a great plan for the gradual unveiling and planning of the global celebrations of Beethoven's 250th anniversary year in 2020, with the goal of turning it into the greatest year-long celebration for any composer in history.

Hence was born the IBP Beethoven Festival, founded in 2011. The inaugural festival went for five whole days in September 2011 in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood (South side), and combined 25 concerts ranging from solo instruments to full orchestra along with jazz and rock shows. In parallel to the performance aspects of the festival, an exhibit of newly commissioned works of visual art surrounded the beautiful festival hall. Beethoven Festival 2011: Man and Muse, was called the "smash of the season" (Time Out Chicago) and "best new undertaking" (Chicago Tribune).

Beethoven Festival: Revolution 2012 was an even greater success, held in September 2012 at its primary venue in Chicago's Uptown area (North side). The festival went for 9 days and included over 60 events, an art exhibit, a lecture series, theater, a performance of Beethoven's only ballet, "The Creatures of Prometheus", jazz, blues, a rock show of commissioned songs inspired by Beethoven, and an intensive master class series for budding musicians. It was called an "event of world-class importance" (Chicago Tribune).