Beethoven in concert, with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the Bach Choir

Academy of St Martin in the Fields orchestra

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Music x Museums presented by Viking. Performing the Choral Fantasy and Pastoral Symphony.

This event takes place at the British Library.

The British Library is proud to host a special concert by world-famous chamber orchestra The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, as a finale to our exhibition Beethoven Idealist. Innovator. Icon, and to launch a brand new series of Music x Museums, presented by Viking and curated and conducted by Oliver Zeffman.

The grand Entrance Hall will resonate to the sound of a 50-piece orchestra, its balconies arrayed with the rich voices of the Bach Choir, as we present two of Beethoven’s most admired orchestral works. A precursor to his Ninth Symphony, Beethoven’s sparkling 1808 Choral Fantasy for piano, vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra is a poetic tribute to the divine power of music. His Symphony No. 6 in F major, also known as the Pastoral Symphony which premiered the same year, embraces every aspect of country life – from birdsong and brooks to thunderstorms and folk dance. The soloist is renowned pianist Peter Donohoe.

Beethoven’s sketchbook for the Pastoral Symphony is one of the great treasures of the British Library’s music collections. It contains over 100 pages of sketches, drafts and re-workings of every part of the symphony in Beethoven’s hand, offering a unique insight into his thought processes as the work took shape. It is currently on display in our exhibition, together with many other manuscripts, letters and documents charting the composer’s life and musical output. 

Beethoven’s significant British connections are also highlighted in the exhibition. The first English edition (1810) of the Choral Fantasy, for example, illustrates the strong demand for Beethoven’s music in London during his lifetime.

Music x Museums presented by Viking is an exciting and engaging programme of music performances taking place across a number of London’s major museums across the Spring and Summer, pairing iconic music with iconic art and architecture. Venues in addition to the British Library include the V&A, Science Museum, Cutty Sark and Bold Tendencies.

Music x Museums is partnering with Platoon to create visual albums from the concerts across the series. The films will be exclusively available on Apple Music and Viking TV, with the audio albums streaming on all music platforms.

Seating capacity for this event is very limited, and you are encouraged to book early. The event will also be filmed for later release.

The British Library doors will open at 19.00 on the night, with free access to the Beethoven exhibition included (subject to capacity at any one time). The concert itself will run from 20.00 to 21.15 approximately.


Ludwig van Beethoven Choral Fantasy (Op.80)


Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No 6 ‘Pastoral’ (Op.68)


The Academy of St Martin in the Fields

The Bach Choir

Conductor Oliver Zeffman

Soloist Peter Donohoe


Viking Logo

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This event will not be live-streamed.

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Name: Beethoven in concert, with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the Bach Choir
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546