Ernst Julius Hähnel’s statue of Beethoven in the composer’s hometown of Bonn, Germany.

“On Wednesday, Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday will be celebrated for the 250th time,” writes Mark Swed in Tuesday’s (12/15) Los Angeles Times. “The COVID-19 pandemic may have forced the cancellation of thousands of Beethoven performances around the world, but they have been replaced by thousands of [virtual] performances…. A Philadelphia Orchestra stream this Beethoven birthday week will precede a Beethoven piano concerto with Missy Mazzoli’s terrific ‘Ecstatic Science.’ … Gustavo Dudamel ended the latest L.A. Phil Sound/Stage program by following the exuberant last movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony with the exuberant ending of Gabriela Ortiz’s ‘Corporea.’ The shoe fit…. Violinist Gidon Kremer’s latest recording, ‘Searching for Beethoven,’ with cellist Mario Brunello and the Kremerata Baltica, begins with Brunello’s arrangement of ‘Muss es Sein? Es muss sein!,’ a 1970s song by anarchistic French chanteur Leo Ferre…. Thomas Ades … is recording a set of Beethoven symphonies interspersed with pieces by [Gerald] Barry…. Two books have come along this year that reveal the composer in an enlightening contemporary light,” William Kinderman’s Beethoven: A Political Artist in Revolutionary Times and Paul Griffiths’ novel Mr. Beethoven. “Hardly a page goes by in either of these superbly written and complementary books without offering an unexpected reason to care about Beethoven.”

Read Ben Finane’s article evaluating the relevance of Beethoven today in Symphony magazine.