Exhibitions

Current Exhibitions at the Beethoven Center

 

Beethoven at the Ball

Location: Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, 5th floor MLK Library

February 21, 2022 - June 2022

Vienna is famous for its balls, where waltzing couples whirl to the strains of Johann Strauss in lavish, glittering ballrooms. While the Victorian Era was the golden age of the waltz, Vienna’s public ball culture originated during Beethoven’s lifetime at the end of the eighteenth century. This exhibit explores the Viennese ball culture that Beethoven would have been familiar with, from the opening of the first public ballrooms, to the costumes and music, and the various dance forms that include the earliest forms of waltzing.

Painting of a ball during Beethoven's era


Beethoven Beyond Borders: Anniversary Celebrations, Politics, and Global Impact since 1870

A virtual exhibition of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, San Jose State University

Room in the virutal exhibition

The year 2020 marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, an event whose significance extends far beyond the composer’s native Germany. Beethoven’s impact on global culture rests not only in his musical compositions, but also in his iconic status as the archetypal creative genius and defiant artist. This image of Beethoven has been shaped not only by the events in his life, but also by the way he has been appropriated as a cultural symbol in different national and political contexts over the past two centuries.

This exhibition explores Beethoven as a cultural figure not only in today’s global landscape, but also at previous anniversary celebrations since the centenary of his birth in 1870. Just as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted on the Beethoven events that took place in 2020, previous Beethoven celebrations were also shaped by historical circumstances, from the unification in Germany in the nineteenth century to the events of the Cold War. The exhibition features images, music, video lectures, and artifacts from the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, presented for the first time in virtual reality.

There are two ways to access the exhibition:

  1. (High performance version link): With this link, you can experience the whole exhibition as a single space. Note that due to the size of the exhibit some devices will not be able to run this version. If you encounter difficulties accessing the high performance version, please follow the instructions for accessing the low performance version.

  2.  (Low performance version): You are able to use the links below to navigate each room of the exhibit. Alternatively, you can visit the lobby and there will be links to each room.

    Lobby

    1870

    1920

    1927

    1970

    Memorabilia

    Global

    Here are helpful instructions to navigate the virtual exhibition and here you can view a walkthrough video of the exhibition on YouTube.

Credits

Curators: Dierdre Brennan, Erica Buurman, Randyn Gries, Patricia Stroh

Historian: David B. Dennis

Music curator: Muskan Parashar

Artist/VR Designer: Tyler Stannard

VR Consultant: Jon Oakes


Funded by an Artistic Excellence Grant from San José State University’s College of Humanities and the Arts


Online Exhibitions

 

Maelzel's Panharmonicon

Image of Maelzel's PanharmoniconThis project brings to life one of the most celebrated creations of the German inventor Johann Nepomuk Maelzel (1772–1838): the Panharmonicon. This virtual reconstruction of the Panharmonicon was created from surviving images and descriptions of the instrument.


Beethoven’s Vienna

 

Vienna during Beethoven's time

An exploration of the city as Beethoven knew it, featuring art prints and other rare materials from the Beethoven Center’s collection.

 


America’s Beethoven

 

Beethoven Comic Book Cover

 

 

An exploration of Beethoven’s influence on American history and culture.

 

 

 

 

 


Prodigy to Progeny: Beethoven as Pupil, Teacher, and Paradigm

 

Drawing of Beethoven entertaining guests by playing the piano

An exploration of Beethoven’s path as a music student, teacher, and his legacy, following the paths of selected teachers and their students.

 


Schulz’s Beethoven, Schroeder’s Muse

 

Image of Peanuts' Shroeder shouting "Beethoven"

An exploration of Beethoven’s music and image in Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” cartoon and his Beethoven-loving character Schroeder.


25 Treasures for 25 Years: 1985-2010

 

Beethoven Bronze Statuette

 

 

Highlights of the Beethoven Center’s collection in celebration of its 25th anniversary in 2010.