Five Definitive Performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

May 2024 marks the 200th anniversary of the premiere of Beethoven’s remarkable Ninth Symphony, featuring the beloved “Ode to Joy.” Carnegie Hall+ offers five definitive performances of the iconic symphony, ranging from a historic Christmas Day concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein at the Berlin Wall to a triumphant rendition at the BBC Proms with Europe’s most ethnically diverse orchestra and a musical call for peace from Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

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Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on Carnegie Hall+

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Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
Leonard Bernstein conducting Leonard Bernstein conducting
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Leonard Bernstein: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in East Berlin 1989
Leonard Bernstein conducting Leonard Bernstein conducting

West-Eastern Divan Orchestra with Daniel Barenboim

Beethoven's last symphony is a monumental work and an impassioned call for peace—especially poignant for the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, whose music making leaps over national, ethnic, and religious borders.

Chineke! at the BBC Proms

Europe’s majority-Black, ethnically diverse orchestra Chineke! performs Beethoven’s final symphony, with its triumphant “Ode to Joy.” The concert begins with Lilacs by George Walker, the first Black composer to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Berliner Philharmoniker with Herbert von Karajan

Beethoven’s valedictory Symphony No. 9 is a choral-orchestral extravaganza, culminating in the uplifting “Ode to Joy” finale that has become the most frequently cited affirmation of human solidarity in music.

Vienna Philharmonic with Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic’s cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies comes to a moving close with the Ninth, an affirmation of optimism, beauty, and universality written when Beethoven was almost completely deaf.

Leonard Bernstein at the Berlin Wall

Recorded in East Berlin on Christmas Day in 1989, this historic concert celebrates the Berlin Wall’s fall six weeks earlier. Bernstein leads an orchestra and soloists drawn from East and West Germany, the Soviet Union, US, UK, and France.

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