From the Archives The Prometheus Project
In May of 2018, The Cleveland Orchestra's Centennial Season culminated in The Prometheus Festival, which brought together discussions around modern, everyday heroes with Beethoven’s musical genius. The essays, archival media, and conversations that ensued are now available here for you to revisit.Begin Exploring
- The Cleveland Orchestra gratefully acknowledges generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of this project.
As part of the Centennial Season’s celebration, Music Director Franz Welser-Möst created “The Prometheus Festival,” examining Beethoven’s music through the metaphor of Prometheus, a daring Titan who defied Zeus to bestow on humanity the gift of fire. For Beethoven, this represented the beginning of human civilization, the spark of creativity that has powered the imagination of generations, the warmth of justice and goodness, and the fight for individual rights and freedoms.
In support of this project, The Cleveland Orchestra Archives is pleased to offer a series of online essays designed to enrich the concert experience and to provide in-depth historical information for anyone interested in the Orchestra’s performance history and its archival audio recordings of Beethoven repertoire. Many of the essays include links to the Orchestra’s rich audio legacy to the Prometheus cycle.
Revisit the printed program book from "The Prometheus Festival" (May 10-19, 2018) for information about the concert programs, as well as letters from Franz Welser-Möst and President & CEO André Gremillet.View Program Book
On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, an in-depth discussion was presented with Franz Welser-Möst and Mark Evan Bonds in conversation with Francesa Brittan about The Prometheus Project. This discussion was broadcast live and can be viewed here:
Essay & Audio Library
Beethoven: The Prometheus Connection
In 1812, Ludwig van Beethoven received a letter from a young pianist named Emilie M. Her letter, enclosed with a home-made embroidered pocketbook, expressed her fondness for, and appreciation of, his music.Continue Reading
Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus
Perhaps the most overt example of Beethoven’s interaction with the idea of Prometheus was his only published ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus.Continue Reading
Symphony No. 1
In the mainstream history of Beethoven, his early works are more classical in style, hewing close to Mozart and (especially) Haydn.Continue Reading
Symphony No. 3
Beethoven’s Third Symphony, the Eroica, or “Heroic,” is one of the most influential pieces of music in history.Continue Reading
Beethoven’s Egmont Overture is one of his many concert overtures depicting different kinds of heroic individuals.Continue Reading
Symphony No. 4
Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony seems an anomaly compared to the heroic Third and the fateful Fifth.Coming Soon
More essays & media returning throughout the summer
Leading up the Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's Ninth at this summer's Blossom Music Festival on Sunday, August 7, additional entries to The Prometheus Project archives will continue to return online. Check back soon for more!Preview Aug 7 Concert