Current Exhibitions

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 

Virtual ExhibitThe year 2020 marks 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): Click here to 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.









For instructions on how to navigate the virtual exhibition, click here.


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



See also our online exhibits.


Guevara Lock of Beethoven's Hair

Lock of Beethoven's Hair

The "Guevara Lock of Beethoven's Hair," which had been on continuous display for twelve years, has been removed from the Center's exhibits for an indefinite period. Please stay tuned for updates on our hair exhibit page.