Concert to Celebrate Beethoven's 250th Birthday

   Campus News | Posted on April 22, 2021

On Saturday, May 1, at 8:30 p.m., the Andrews University Symphony Orchestra will hold its celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. The concert will showcase Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 9, which features a choir, vocal soloists and a full orchestra. Vocal soloists will include soprano Sara Emerson, alto Julie Karpenko Reid, tenor Charles Reid and baritone Stephen Zork.

The event will begin with a discussion with student composer Kaija Perry. Following the discussion, Perry’s piece, titled “Journey Through the Mind of a Composer,” will be performed. Her composition provides an interpretation of what Beethoven’s musical mind sounded like throughout the major events of his life, while also incorporating her own themes and ideas.

Following the premiere performance of Perry’s work, the orchestra will be joined by vocalists for a full performance of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. The remaining compositions will be conducted by Chris Wild.

The composition, which totals 65–75 minutes, will test the technical and emotional range and endurance of all its performers. The first and second movements of the symphony are full of vibrant rhythmic energy, which Beethoven sets in many configurations. Reflecting the highs and lows of the composer’s personal life, the composition includes some of the most delicate and contrastingly dramatic moments in Classical music.

After the beautiful and replenishing third movement, the orchestra will perform Beethoven’s “Finale,” which includes a musical setting of Friedrich von Schiller’s poem “Ode to Joy.” The choir and four vocal soloists will join the orchestra. Schiller’s poem is an inspiring call for unity and joy through Christian fellowship. In addition to colorful metaphors for the divine nature of joy, Schiller’s words compel us to “be embraced, millions” and to seek the creator “above the starry canopy!”

A limited number of free in-person tickets are available for Andrews University students, staff and faculty at the Howard Center office. For additional information, contact the Howard box office at 269-471-3560. The program will be available to livestream at For a full season schedule of events at the Howard Performing Arts Center, visit