Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
It's our Spring membership drive! Support WMUK
Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

Is there ever a time when we don’t need the “Ode to Joy?”

By Bernd Luz - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Beethoven collage

It takes an extraordinary effort to bring together the forces needed to perform Beethoven’s final, transcendental symphony. At 7:30 pm on Saturday, Mar 4, an 80-member chorus, full orchestra and four operatic soloists will give a single performance of the Symphony No. 9, “Ode to Joy,” led by Kalamazoo Philharmonia director Andrew Koehler. Chris Ludwa prepared the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus to sing Schiller’s words calling for the unification of all humankind in the finale.

Koehler and Ludwa talk to Cara Lieurance about preparing to perform one of the world’s most significant works of music, and the care Beethoven took to lead listeners toward its final message.