December 16, 2020
What's Streaming: Classical – Beethoven 250th Birthday Edition

For a reminder of what’s streaming this week (December 14–20), click here.
Note that in recognition of the holidays, we will now pause our What’s Streaming newsletters until after the New Year. The present newsletter thus includes streaming events through January 10. Happy Holidays!


Jonathan Biss’s all-Beethoven NPR Music Tiny Desk (home) concert

NPR Music launched its #Beethoven250 celebrations this week with Jonathan Biss performing the composer's music in a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. The program comprises Beethoven’s Bagatelles, Op. 126, Nos. 1 & 3; the first movement of the composer’s Piano Sonata in E minor, Op. 90; and the first two movements of the Piano Sonata in E major, Op. 109. NPR Music’s Tom Huizenga said:

“The pandemic has sidelined many big Beethoven birthday plans. Jonathan Biss was slated to play concerts around the globe in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth. Instead, he's home in Philadelphia. So it's no surprise that for this all-Beethoven Tiny Desk concert, Biss chose music that explores the composer's own isolation, brought on by deafness and an uncompromising personality. Biss is uniquely qualified for the task at hand. The 40-year-old pianist has recorded all 32 of Beethoven's freewheeling sonatas, performed them worldwide and has taught an online course in the music. […]

“You can hear some of Beethoven's own struggle in these perceptive performances. The bittersweetness of the Bagatelle Op. 126, No. 1, the moments of fragility in the Sonata, Op. 90, and the interior perspective that reaches outward from the Sonata Op. 109, all prove that Beethoven's music is as meaningful today as ever.”

WHERE TO WATCH: and NPR Music’s YouTube

Thursday, December 17
Jonathan Biss’s audio memoir
UNQUIET: My Life with Beethoven, recorded for Audible

Audible, Inc., the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling, releases Jonathan Biss’s audio-only memoir UNQUIET: My Life with Beethoven, which examines the interplay between his lifelong passion for the music of Beethoven and his own personal struggles with anxiety. This Audible Original includes musical interludes of selections primarily from Beethoven’s piano sonatas, recorded specifically for the project. With the release of this memoir, Mr. Biss becomes the first classical musician to be featured in Audible’s Words + Music programming, which also includes Audible Originals from James Taylor, Patti Smith, Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, Rufus Wainwright, and more. For additional information, click here.

WHERE TO LISTEN: (exclusively within the Audible Plus catalog)

Tuesday, December 22 at 10:00 a.m. PT
Coffee with Conlon: Happy Birthday Beethoven & Puccini!

LA Opera Music Director James Conlon answers readers’ questions over a fresh cup of joe in a new episode of Coffee with Conlon. This episode is a special holiday and birthday edition, celebrating the 250th birthday of Beethoven the week prior and Puccini’s birthday on the date that the episode airs. Viewers may submit questions here.

WHERE TO WATCH: and LA Opera’s Facebook

Beethoven recordings by Jonathan Biss, Stephen Hough,
Minnesota Orchestra, Miró Quartet, and Shai Wosner

Continue the celebration of #Beethoven250 with our artists’ acclaimed recording collections of the composer’s most beloved works, including the symphonies, string quartets, piano sonatas and concertos, and duo works for cello and piano. Click here for a round-up of these releases.


Saturday, December 26
NPR Music’s AMPLIFY with Lara Downes features Jon Batiste

Featuring intimate and deeply personal video conversations with visionary Black musicians who are shaping the present and future of the art form, NPR Music's series AMPLIFY with Lara Downes continues with pianist Jon Batiste, recognized nationwide as bandleader and musical director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Together, he and Ms. Downes discuss a range of topics, including the challenge of balancing the visionary, idealistic side of artistic creation with the artist’s responsibility to also engage and reflect upon the world as it is. Ms. Downes, a storyteller, activist, and thought-leader, has interviewed Rhiannon GiddensAnthony McGillHelga DavisJulia Bullock, and Davóne Tines in previous episodes. Learn more about the series in Ms. Downes's 5 Questions interview at I Care If You Listen last month.

WHERE TO WATCH:, NPR Music’s YouTube,
and additional social media platforms

Thursday, December 31 at 8:00 p.m. CT
Vänskä Conducts a New Year's Celebration with Minnesota Orchestra

To ring in the New Year, the Minnesota Orchestra under Music Director Osmo Vänskä performs a program of music by Johann and Richard Strauss, Beethoven, Dvořák, Morricone, and more. Additional information here.


  • TV: Twin Cities PBS’s MN Channel (TPT 2.2)
  • Radio: Classical MPR, including via 99.5 FM in the Twin Cities and online at;
  • Online: Livestream via and social media; performances subsequently will be available for free on-demand access via

Sunday, January 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET (available for 30 days)
The Gilmore presents Emmet Cohen Trio

A fixture of the bi-annual Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Jazz Club series is for the first time presented as part of the annual, fall-to-spring Gilmore season, starting with the Emmet Cohen Trio. The group, which will be live-streamed from Kalamazoo’s Wellspring Theater, comprises pianist Emmet Cohen, bassist Russell Hall, and drummer Kyle Poole.

The most recent winner of the prestigious Cole Porter Fellowship, Mr. Cohen has performed at major jazz festivals around the world, as well as at such venues as the Village Vanguard, the Blue Note, Birdland, Jazz Standard, London's Ronnie Scott's, Jazzhaus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Lincoln Center's Rose Hall, the Cotton Club in Tokyo, and Washington DC's Kennedy Center.


ATTENTION: If your publication is listing online things-to-do, please let us know about any deadlines or special areas of focus so that we can better serve you with information about our artists’ activities.

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