Beethoven: Passion romantique, a six-course lecture and concert series

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Published: 7Mar2017

The Montreal Chamber Music Festival and PRIZMA, a program of McGill’s School of Continuing Studies, are proud to collaborate for the first time on a special series of lectures and concerts devoted to Beethoven’s string quartets.

Musicologist Richard Turp leads the six-part lecture series Beethoven: Passion romantique, offered in both English and French, which precedes six concerts featuring the complete Beethoven string quartets performed by the extraordinary young American Dover Quartet. The lecture and concert package also includes a VIP invitation to pre-concert talks, as well as post-concert receptions with the artists present.

Deeply passionate, prolific, and living in a time of immense social, political, and artistic change, Beethoven spearheaded classical music's transition from the Classical to the Romantic era.  The new lecture series tracks Beethoven’s personal and musical evolution by way of his sixteen string quartets. Master of the form developed by Haydn and Mozart, this remarkable body of compositions is considered to be among the greatest ever written. Lecture topics include music and culture in 18th-century Germany and Austria, Beethoven’s increasing and irremediable deafness, and Beethoven’s pivotal role in the emerging Romantic Movement. In addition to Richard Turp, special guest speakers include conductor and pianist Raffi Armenian, former Director of the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal, Denis Brott, cellist and Artistic Director of the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, and Julie Payette, astronaut and passionate classical music lover.

English lectures take place Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m., April 18 - May 23

French lectures take place Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m., April 19 - May 24

The complete cycle of Beethoven string quartets will be performed by the Dover Quartet, which has “enjoyed a rise to the top [that] looks practically meteoric” (Strings Magazine). Described by The New Yorker as “the young American string quartet of the moment”, the Dover Quartet catapulted to world attention after sweeping first prize in all categories of the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition.  It has quickly become a major presence on the international scene. With its burnished warmth, incisive rhythms, and natural phrasing, the Dover’s sound is “so distinctive as to be identified within mere minutes” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

The Dover Quartet performs the complete Beethoven string quartets at Pollack Hall over three weekends:

Friday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m.       
Sunday, May 28 at 3:00 p.m.
Friday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m.          
Sunday, June 4 at 3:00 p.m.
Friday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 11 at 3:00 p.m.

Beethoven: Passion romantique is the overall theme of the 22nd edition of the Montreal Chamber Music Festival.  Founder and Artistic Director Denis Brott, C.M. comments: "Like no other composer, Beethoven ushered in a new musical language inspired by the French Revolution's Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. Beethoven's remarkable prowess and indomitable spirit have influenced all music since and his emotional expression and compositional innovation continue to inspire and resonate.  The Festival celebrates his genius with gratitude and gusto in 2017."


For complete Festival programming click here.

For complete PRIZMA programming click here.

PRIZMA, a program of McGill’s School of Continuing Studies, partners with the community to offer quality, multi-disciplinary courses to the general population. Their courses offer a wide spectrum of learning, including music, art, science, human development, history, and architecture.

For additional information please contact:
Marisa Gelfusa, PRIZMA Coordinator
marisa.gelfusa [at]
(514) 398 3627