Beethoven: Innovator - the podcast

In this engaging series pianist Dr Robert Taub, The Arts Institute's Music Director, brings Beethoven to life with historian Professor James Daybell.

Join Robert and James as they animate Beethoven today in our world. Beethoven, the non-conforming troublemaker whose revolutionary music continues to withstand all tests of time.

This entertaining and informative five-part podcast series takes a fresh look at musical topics including how we perceive music, how our range of hearing has evolved over time, and how and why Beethoven composed.

"His initial circumstances, coming from a poor family with an alcoholic father who beat him regularly, did not make his early life easy. And as a young man, the onset of his deafness – a paradoxical malady for a musician – caused him to withdraw socially. No one wanted to play a piano after he did, as the early instruments could not survive his expressive onslaughts. Yet Beethoven had a guiding passion that he pursued with singular dedication, namely his unending quest for meaningful personal and universal communication through music."
Dr Robert Taub


Part of Beethoven: Innovator – a 250th celebration music festival, 30 September - 2 October 2021. Brought to you by The Arts Institute, University of Plymouth.

Episode 1: Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas are considered the Mt Everest for pianists. Why did he write them?

31 August 2021


Episode 2: Tempo, tempo, tempo – the most important element of music?

7 September 2021


Episode 3: “Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes. You yourselves are a mistake!” wrote Beethoven to publisher Breitkopf und Härtel. Beethoven cared deeply about how his music would be interpreted by others, and how it would outlive him.

14 September 2021


Episode 4: “The Myth of the Authentic Pianoforte” – how we hear music and how our perceptions have evolved over time

Coming 21 September 2021


Episode 5: Sketches, sketches, and more sketches – the unending quest for the fullest possible expression

Coming 28 September 2021

An unceasing innovator, Beethoven was never content to conform to expected norms of musical composition. He led the vanguard of new music. Driven obsessively by his compelling artistic vision and his belief that creativity is the highest aspiration of mankind, Beethoven sought an all-embracing musical continuum. His ever-expanding concepts of musical perception, perhaps partially engendered by his deafness, enabled him to pursue his Inner Ear unencumbered by pre-conceived limitations of the possible.

Listen on

Join the festival

Beethoven: Innovator
30 September - 2 October 2021

You are invited to an inspiring three-day festival dedicated to some of Beethoven’s most innovative works, with Dr Robert Taub, acclaimed pianist and Music Director, The Arts Institute. Our celebration of Beethoven's 250th birthday will feature a series of concerts, fascinating informal lectures, and the world premiere of a new commission from leading international composer, Jonathan Dawe, based on Beethoven's sketches and performed by the Ruisi String Quartet.

'Narrenschiff', 2017, Kehinde Wiley. Three-channel digital film. Duration: 16:40 minutes. 'Kehinde Wiley: Ship of Fools', The Levinsky Gallery, University of Plymouth | 29 September–20 December 2020

'Narrenschiff', 2017, Kehinde Wiley. Three-channel digital film. Duration: 16:40 minutes. 'Kehinde Wiley: Ship of Fools', The Levinsky Gallery, University of Plymouth | 29 September–20 December 2020

The Arts Institute

The Arts Institute is the curated public arts programme of the University of Plymouth which plays a pivotal role in building culture and art in the city and South West region, supporting established, new and emerging artists from around the world.

It comprises The Levinsky Gallery, a space for engaging, contemporary artworks; the Jill Craigie Cinema which screens a diverse range of classic films and contemporary cinematic masterpieces; a cutting-edge theatre and dance programme in The House; musical performances and concerts, and a year-long series of fascinating talks that open up a world of art, literature and history.

Open to all – learn more about The Arts Institute