Discovering the Life of Beethoven | Small Group Tour

Travellers on this small group tour will have the chance to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of Beethoven’s life and music. Beginning in the city of Bonn, where Beethoven was born, we visit the city precincts and buildings where Beethoven’s unique artistic sensibility was formed. In Vienna, we explore many of the concert halls and churches where his work was performed. In each city visited we attend performances of his work.

From A$9,445 AUD

Available

Highlights

  1. 1. Delve deeper into the life of Beethoven through a series of artistic and cultural experiences
  2. 2. Tour the Beethoven House in Bonn, as well as the Beethoven house in Heiligenstadt
  3. 3. Visit Cologne Cathedral, where some of Beethoven's works were first performed
  4. 4. Experience the extraordinary Beethoven Festival in Bonn, celebrating the composer's life and works
Discovering the Life of Beethoven | Small Group Tour itinerary

Departure Dates

Departure Date Price
01 September 2022

Ends 09 September 2022

Selected
31 August 2023

Ends 08 September 2023

Discover Beethoven's life and music

Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across Western Europe and beyond. We explore Germany's fairy-tale natural beauty, and world famous cities within the framework of Beethoven, all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. This and more is all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours of Germany, designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people.

Gain a deeper appreciation of German composer Ludwig van Beethoven on this small group tour as we journey across Austria and Germany.

Widely regarded as one of the world's greatest composers, Ludwig van Beethoven (1170-1827) was a leading figure in the transitional period between the 18th century Classical and 19th century Romantic ages of Western classical music. His important works and best-known compositions were Symphony No. 5, with its beloved first four notes; and Symphony No. 9, famous for its stirring choral finale featuring the words of Friedrich Schiller's poem, Ode to Joy.

Beethoven was born into a musical family in the city of Bonn, Germany, and his first music teacher was his father. Johann van Beethoven wanted to turn his son into a musical prodigy (a la Mozart) but Beethoven would only attract attention for his musical genius in his adolescence. In any case, when Mozart met Beethoven, the former announced that Beethoven would make "a great name for himself in the world"--a pronouncement that would prove true.

Beethoven studied under the opera composer and conductor Christian Gottlob Neefe and the composer Joseph Haydn, but added unique innovations to his work that put more emphasis on music as expressions of mood and feeling. He continued composing even while battling deafness, producing awe-inspiring pieces that move audiences to this day.

Our tour allows you to discover Beethoven in more depth, by putting him in context within the history and culture of 19th century Germany.

Small Group Tours Beethoven Itinerary

The tour begins in the city of Bonn, where Beethoven was born. We spend the first few days taking in churches, fine architecture, and city precincts where Beethoven formed his unique artistic sensibility. We also visit the Parish church in which many of his compositions were first performed. We make a guided tour of an organ workshop, and visit Augustburg Palace and a museum dedicated to Robert Schumann, one of the Romantic era's most famous composers to whom Beethoven was a significant influence.

We also explore Drachenfels Castle, a ruined castle atop an enormous rock. The castle became popular with tourists when it was immortalised by Lord Byron in his long poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. The castle became a pilgrimage destination for artists, musicians and writers during the Romantic era.

We take a walking tour in the city of Vienna, particularly to key sites where Beethoven composed and performed. Vienna was where Beethoven studied composition under Joseph Haydn, and consequently gained a reputation as a virtuoso pianist.

One of the highlights of this music tour is the opportunity to attend four concerts during the eight nights of the trip. Performances of Beethoven's work include the Opening Concert at the Beethovenhalle and two more performances in this season. We also enjoy a recital event at the Vienna Staatsoper (State Opera House).

For more information about this tour, check out the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ pages above. To make a booking, please call, send us an email, or simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

Music lovers may also enjoy our Bach tour, our opera tour, and our other music and performing arts tours. Travellers may also be interested in our other tours to Germany and Austria.

Make sure to take a look at our article on Music and the Austrian Habsburgs.

Itinerary

9 days

Day 1: Bonn

After making our own way to Bonn, we meet at the hotel for a welcome dinner and tour orientation.

Day 2: Bonn

Today, we explore Bonn on foot, taking a tour of the city that incorporates many of the main sights related to Beethoven. We visit Beethoven House, the Parish Church of St Regimius (where many of Beethoven’s early works were first performed), and the Old Cemetery.

In the afternoon, we learn about the life and works of Robert Schumann — who was himself great influenced by Beethoven — at the Schumann Museum.

In the evening, we enjoy a spectacular performance at the Beethovenhalle and have dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 3: Bonn

After breakfast, we take a guided tour of the Organ Workshop Klais. The family-run company that operates this Workshop designs, builds and restores pipe organs. Founded in 1882 by Johannes Klais senior, the Workshop provides fantastic insight into the ongoing significance of pipe-organ music in Germany.

Later in the day, we visit Augustburg Palace and Hunting Lodge Falkenlust — both are UNESCO cultural World Heritage Sites since 1984. They are connected by the spacious gardens and trees of the Schlosspark. Augustusburg Palace and its parks also serve as a venue for the Brühl Palace Concerts.

Day 4: Bonn

Today, we enjoy a cruise on the Rhine River to Konigswinter, via Bad Honnef.

We experience the majesty of Drachenfels Castle, a ruined castle atop an enormous rock. The castle gained popularity in the romantic era after it was featured in Lord Byron’s long poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Subsequently, this rock and castle became an important German tourist and Romanticist pilgrimage destination.

In the evening, we enjoy another unforgettable performance of Late Romantic works at the Beethovenhalle, back in Bonn.

Day 5: Vienna

Today we travel by coach to Cologne, where we meet our local guide for a tour of this extraordinary city. Sightseeing includes a tour of Cologne Cathedral, Germany’s most popular tourist destination. Despite being left incomplete during the medieval period, Cologne Cathedral now stands as an architectural masterpiece that recently gained status as a World Heritage Site.

From Cologne, we fly together to Vienna, where we check into our new hotel and enjoy dinner.

Day 6: Vienna

We enjoy a tour of Vienna with a local guide, taking in the main sights, including a visit to the Beethoven memorial.

We also visit the Central Cemetery where we can pay respects at Beethoven’s grave.

In the afternoon, we visit the Beethoven House in Heiligenstadt, where, in 1802, he wrote the “Heiligenstädter Testament”. This letter, wherein he expressed despair over his advancing deafness, was never sent to his brothers.

In the evening, we experience a classic ensemble concert, which features music from Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, and — of course — Beethoven.

Day 7: Vienna

After breakfast, we head to the House of Music for a guided tour of the Vienna Staatsoper, Vienna’s premier opera venue.

Day 8: Vienna

After breakfast, we have the morning free to explore Vienna at our own pace.

We then visit the Pasqualati Museum before coming together for an evening concert at Vienna Staatsoper, and a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 9: Vienna

After breakfast, we say our farewells and the tour draws to an end.

Includes / Excludes

Tour Inclusions

  • 8 nights of hotel accommodation.
  • 8 breakfasts and 4 dinners.
  • All excursions, sightseeing, and entrance fees as per itinerary.
  • Domestic flight between Bonn and Vienna in economy class.
  • Concert tickets to see performances of Beethoven works.
  • Local guides, as well as the services of an Odyssey tour leader.
  • Detailed preparatory material.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Return international airfare and departure taxes.
  • Comprehensive international travel insurance.
  • Items of personal nature such as laundry and phone calls.
Level 2 - Moderate

Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.

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Departure

01 September 2022

Available

Ends 09 September 2022 • 9 days

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Room Type

Single room
A$10,550
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A$9,445 pp

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You can reserve your spot by paying a A$500 deposit, pay the rest 90 days before departure (excludes AU/NZ tours).

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A$1,000
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A$18,890

Prices are per person and valid until 30th December 2021.

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Crossing international borders with restrictions

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For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.

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If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.

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The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.

See Peace of Mind Travel for details.

Reading List Download PDF

Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph

Jan Swafford’s biographies of Charles Ives and Johannes Brahms have established him as a revered music historian, capable of bringing his subjects vibrantly to life. His magnificent new biography of Ludwig van Beethoven peels away layers of legend to get to the living, breathing human being who composed some of the world’s most iconic music. Swafford mines sources never before used in English-language biographies to reanimate the revolutionary ferment of Enlightenment-era Bonn, where Beethoven grew up and imbibed the ideas that would shape all of his future work. Swafford then tracks his subject to Vienna, capital of European music, where Beethoven built his career in the face of critical incomprehension, crippling ill health, romantic rejection, and “fate’s hammer,” his ever-encroaching deafness. Throughout, Swafford offers insightful readings of Beethoven’s key works.
More than a decade in the making, this will be the standard Beethoven biography for years to come.

By Jan Swafford

Amazon

Beethoven: The Man Revealed

Beethoven scholar and classical radio host John Suchet has had a lifelong, ardent interest in the man and his music. Here, in his first full-length biography, Suchet illuminates the composer’s difficult childhood, his struggle to maintain friendships and romances, his ungovernable temper, his obsessive efforts to control his nephew’s life, and the excruciating decline of his hearing. This absorbing narrative provides a comprehensive account of a momentous life, as it takes the reader on a journey from the composer’s birth in Bonn to his death in Vienna.

Chronicling the landmark events in Beethoven's career—from his competitive encounters with Mozart to the circumstances surrounding the creation of the well-known Für Elise and Moonlight Sonata—this book enhances understanding of the composer's character, inspiring a deeper appreciation for his work. Beethoven scholarship is constantly evolving, and Suchet draws on the latest research, using rare source material (some of which has never before been published in English) to paint a complete and vivid portrait of the legendary prodigy.

By John Suchet

Beethoven: The Music and the Life

A recognized authority on Beethoven, Lockwood (music, emeritus, Harvard) concentrates primarily on his subject's music and development as a composer before dedicating separate chapters to biography and the historical, political, and cultural milieus. This particularly refreshing approach, modeled on Abraham Pasis's "Subtle Is the Lord": The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein and Nicholas Boyle's Goethe: The Poet and the Age, differs from other recent studies that focused more on Beethoven's life (e.g., Barry Cooper's Beethoven and Maynard Solomon's Beethoven). All of Lockwood's narrative, including the discussion of specific compositions, will be accessible to serious music lovers with only a modest technical background. This results partly from an interesting innovation, especially pleasing to specialists-100 additional musical examples are available on a companion web site (www.wwnorton.com/ trade/lockwood), allowing the author to be far less technical in his discussion. Lockwood's study offers a new and authoritative interpretation of a prodigiously gifted and complex man and artist who saw himself as Mozart's heir. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.

By Lewis Lockwood

Amazon

Beethoven's Symphonies: An Artistic Vision

More than any other composer, Beethoven left to posterity a vast body of material that documents the early stages of almost everything he wrote. From this trove of sketchbooks, Lewis Lockwood draws us into the composer’s mind, unveiling a creative process of astonishing scope and originality.

For musicians and nonmusicians alike, Beethoven’s symphonies stand at the summit of artistic achievement, loved today as they were two hundred years ago for their emotional cogency, variety, and unprecedented individuality. Beethoven labored to complete nine of them over his lifetime―a quarter of Mozart’s output and a tenth of Haydn’s―yet no musical works are more iconic, more indelibly stamped on the memory of anyone who has heard them. They are the products of an imagination that drove the composer to build out of the highest musical traditions of the past something startlingly new.

Lockwood brings to bear a long career of studying the surviving sources that yield insight into Beethoven’s creative work, including concept sketches for symphonies that were never finished. From these, Lockwood offers fascinating revelations into the historical and biographical circumstances in which the symphonies were composed. In this compelling story of Beethoven’s singular ambition, Lockwood introduces readers to the symphonies as individual artworks, broadly tracing their genesis against the backdrop of political upheavals, concert life, and their relationship to his major works in other genres. From the first symphonies, written during his emerging deafness, to the monumental Ninth, Lockwood brings to life Beethoven’s lifelong passion to compose works of unsurpassed beauty.

By Lewis Lockwood

Amazon

Beethoven, the man and the artist, as revealed in his own words

This anthology is a thorough introduction to classic literature for those who have not yet experienced these literary masterworks. For those who have known and loved these works in the past, this is an invitation to reunite with old friends in a fresh new format. From Shakespeare’s finesse to Oscar Wilde’s wit, this unique collection brings together works as diverse and influential as The Pilgrim’s Progress and Othello. As an anthology that invites readers to immerse themselves in the masterpieces of the literary giants, it is must-have addition to any library.

By Ludwig Van Beethoven

Amazon

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