Great Hall

This is (Not) Beethoven | Season opening

Concert Hall Latvia opens it’s new season in Ventspils on September 19th with a performance of “This is (Not) Beethoven” consisting of different versions of Ludwig van Beethoven’s music, to be performed by the outstanding German pianist Sebastian Knauer, Chamber Orchestra Sinfonietta Riga and conductor Normunds Šnē.

“This is (Not) Beethoven” recently released in mid August, was a long cherished project from Sebastian Knauer and Iranian composer Arash Safajan.

The album is made up of original works by Safajan which were strongly influenced by genius-Vienna-classic Ludwig van Beethoven. You can hear some variations on famous “Moonlight Sonata” 7th Symphony and other themes of famous opuses. Music on “This is (Not) Beethoven” is played by Zurich Chamber Orchestra, having previously collaborated with Safajan on ÜberBach, winning the Echo Klassik prize just three years ago.

“It’s very simple – this music is made by Arash Safajan not Ludwig van Beethoven,” says Sebastian Knauer, speaking about the ambiguous title of the program. Safyan himself describes the work on these variations as “re-imagining something”, “transformation”, “a flip-around” and “development”.  Even more - the listeners will instantly hear that indeed - “This is (Not) Beethoven”. The main theme flowing through this work is also heard on Allegreto part of Op 92, 7th Symphony.

“I’m certain that Beethoven would listen to this with great interest. He was very self assured and once even said “There’s only one Beethoven!”. What we’ve done with his music, is not a crime. We’ve not destroyed anything. On contrary – this is a dedication, a sign of deep appreciation. This is a story for letting yourself go in his music and a living proof that even after 250 years we still admire and love him from bottom of our hearts,” says Knauer about the  program to be heard in Concert-Hall Latvia in Ventspils.

Sebastian Knauer had his debut at the age of 14 in Hamburg, on Leischalle stage. In the next 30 years he’s become one of the most requested pianists, regularly playing around the world – from Berlin Philharmonic to Vigmore Hall in London to Lincoln Center in New

York and the Salzburg Festival in Austria to mention a few. His recordings have seen daylight under prominent record companies lsuch as; Deutsche Grammofon and Warner Classics. Safyan’s work has truly shown his passion for a golden age of classic and romantic music, as well as New world music, alongside his never-ending search for new sounds.  His regular collaboration with masters of classical music shows never ending presence of his will to add new and unexpected dimensions to mundane and traditional. (e.g. charity concert year 2017 during G20 summit dedicated to policemen protecting our security and their families). Sayfan’s artistic leadership in many festivals (side to side with other celebrities, including Mariss Jansons in festival “mozart@augsburg”), many other collaborations and re-interpretations of classical works.

Arash Safaian is Teheran born artist raised in Bayreuth. He is an artist, composer and producer, descendant of Iranian modernist Ali Akbar Safaian. From his early age hes been interested not only in music, but also visual arts. First he decided to study painting at Academy of Fine Arts, Nuremberg, later dedicating himself to study in composing at University of Music and Performing Arts Munich. Alongside his works that were made for orchestra and many compositions of ansamble. Arash Safajan is also well known as a composer for movies. Many world class concert-halls have experienced openings of his operas including “in the beach”at Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York or “At Stake” in Munchen Opera biennale.

Grammy prize winner, State Chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga is best described by its joy of exploring new horizons. Musicians of the orchestra are young and erudite artists that are gifted with creative ideas. From the moment of establishing Sinfonietta Riga in 2006, its creative leader and conductor has been Normunds Šnē. The Orchestra regularly collaborates with guest conductors, playing with the brightest Latvian and foreign singers taking part in many festivals. Alongside concert-life in Latvia and the Baltics, orchestra has also played in Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Cologne Philharmony, Herkules Hall of the Munich Residence, “Alte Oper”in Frankfurt, “Muziekgebouw” in Amsterdam, “De Doelen”in Rotterdam, Saint Petersburg Philharmonia, New York Lincoln Center and many more.

Performance of “Sinfonietta Riga” has been evaluated with highest appreciation in classical music for four times – Big Music prize in Latvia, as well as Grammy for taking part in Arvo Part’s work “Adam’s Lament” that was released by label ECM.