A Fitzrovia playwright and an oboe soloist will both join a cast of the many this week to produce a tribute to Beethoven, and fundraise for the NHS and musicians affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Musicians playing.
Playing for Beethoven and raising funds for the NHS and musicians.

Local playwright Sue Blundell and Fitzrovia Music Festival (FitzFest) founder Dan Bates will be joined by musical director Elliott Devivo who has brought together friends and colleagues to produce a special performance of Beethoven’s uplifting Ode to Joy from the composer’s 9th Symphony.

The 789 Campaign will celebrate the 196th anniversary of the Vienna premiere of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, at 8pm on Thursday 7 May, and 250 years since the composer’s birth. The tribute takes its name from the day of the month, the hour of the day, and the number of the symphony.

Devivo is inviting the nation’s musicians to join him in playing the theme from their doorsteps and windows from 8pm on Thursday during the Clap for our Carers event.

The idea came about as plans for a staged performance about Beethoven had to be delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Live performances of our musical drama about Beethoven have had to be postponed, but my collaborators and I are planning to release an online version of ‘Silence and Joy’ this October,” says Blundell.

“In the meanwhile, with Ludwig in mind, we’re launching a national fundraising event. The campaign pays tribute to our wonderful NHS carers. We hope it will also raise awareness of the impact the current crisis is having on musicians and other performers, many of whom are now unable to work,” she says.

Beethoven 789 – Fundraising event for NHS & Help Musicians UK. See the event page on Facebook for a preview to watch and listen, and full details of how to take part and donate.