A green plaque marking the UK premiere of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 has been unveiled in London this weekend.
The composer’s final complete symphony was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) back in 1822, with the first performance in England taking place on 21 March three years later.
Performed by Royal Philharmonic Society musicians, the concert took place at the New Argyll Rooms on Regent Street, now home to a bank. It’s here that the Westminster City Council plaque will be unveiled by RPS chairman John Gilhooly and councillor Michael Brahams.
A new fanfare titled Joie de Vivre by 18-year-old composer Bertie Baigent was played by brass players from the National Youth Orchestra during the unveiling on Sunday 11 August. And that evening, the whole orchestra went to the Royal Albert Hall to perform Beethoven’s Ninth as well as a new commission by composer Mark-Anthony Turnage. You can hear the concert on iPlayer here. During the concert there was also a bust of Beethoven on stage. The sculpture was created by the RPS in 1871.
The green plaque is one part of ongoing celebrations to mark the bicentenary of the RPS, whose past commissions also include Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony. Other artists who have been recoginsed by Westminster City Council’s Green Plaque scheme include Elgar, Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen.