Thursday, July 2, 2020
Alasdair Neale to Discuss the Man Who Changed Classical Music
Monday, December 30, 2019


He forever changed classical music. And nothing was the same afterwards.

Alasdair Neale, the music director for the Sun Valley Music Festival, will discuss “Beethoven’s Timeless Genius” during a free Upbeat with Alasdair talk at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, at Ketchum’s Community Library.

The talk will offer a preview of the Beethoven selections the Sun Valley symphony will perform during the 2020 summer season to commemorate the composer’s 250th birthday. The composer was born Dec. 17, 1770, in Bonn, Germany.

Neale will talk about some of Beethoven’s most popular works, as well as some music fans may not have heard.

“His genius shines through everything he wrote and, never content with the status quo, he reinvented nearly every form he touched,” said Neale.

Beethoven, who studied composition under Joseph Haydn, wrote nine symphonies, 32 piano sonatas, five piano concertos, two Masses, the opera “Fidelio,” 16 string quartets and numerous other chamber works during his 56-years. One of his most popular works, “Fur Elise” was discovered after his death.

He wrote many of his works over a 27-year period during which he began losing his hearing. His hearing loss, which included tinnitus, has been attributed to Paget’s Disease in which bones become fragile and misshapen, typhus, auto-immune disorders, even the habit of immersing his head in cold water to stay awake. His autopsy indicated he had a distended inner ear, which developed lesions.

Beethoven himself attributed his deafness to a fall he took while becoming outraged at the interruption of his work, according to Wikipedia.

“He redefined not only the musical forms he inherited but also the very nature of what it means to be an artist,” said Neale. “His status as a heroic-tragic icon embodied the Romantic ideal of the exalted individual. After him, nothing was quite the same.”

Admission is free but those who wish to attend are encouraged to make reservations at Reservations may also be accepted by emailing or calling the festival office at or 208-622-5607

The talk will also be livestreamed at



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