BSO's Marin Alsop to lead orchestras on 5 continents in 2019-2020 in Beethoven's Ninth, including Baltimore concert

With its composer turning 250 next year, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is set to be reinterpreted in all sorts of novel ways, under the baton of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra music director Marin Alsop.

“All Together: A Global Ode to Joy” will feature Alsop leading nine orchestras on five continents in performances of Beethoven’s Ninth, which includes the popular “Ode to Joy.” Each orchestra will “reimagine” the piece for its own community, according to a release from the BSO.


The series of concerts, slated to begin in December, will include Alsop conducting the BSO June 11-14, 2020. Those performances will feature a new translation of “Ode to Joy” by Baltimore-based rapper Wordsmith, along with a new work by Indian-American composer Reena Esmail and additional music from other Baltimore artists.

The concerts will continue through December 2020.


“‘Ode to Joy’ is about standing up and being counted in this world. It’s about believing in our power as human beings,” Alsop said in a statement released Wednesday by the BSO. “Everyone will be tied together by this experience, and I think that’s the important element — that through this project, we will bring diverse communities together and communities who don’t normally work together.”

In addition to Baltimore, “All Together: A Global Ode to Joy” performances are set for New York City; São Paulo, Brazil; London; Sydney, Australia; Vienna, Austria; Durban, South Africa; Johannesburg, South Africa; and New Zealand.

The concerts are a partnership between the BSO and New York’s Carnegie Hall.

“For me, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is a revolutionary piece,” Alsop said in the release. “It’s a piece that changed the history of classical music certainly, but it’s a piece that also pushed the envelope. That sense of rebellion and that sense of relevance has always struck me as being unique. Having an opportunity to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth by reimagining his symphony — I think he would have loved it.”