Beethoven 250: Classic FM announces UK’s biggest radio series dedicated to the great composer

22 November 2019, 09:00 | Updated: 22 November 2019, 09:01

John Suchet to present ‘Beethoven – The Man Revealed’ for 52 weeks to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.
John Suchet to present ‘Beethoven – The Man Revealed’ for 52 weeks to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. Picture: Classic FM / Getty

By Rosie Pentreath

John Suchet will present ‘Beethoven – The Man Revealed’, a year-long series about Beethoven’s life, to celebrate 250 years since the great composer’s birth.

Classic FM is to broadcast a year-long series about Beethoven, one of the world’s best-loved composers, to celebrate 250 years since his birth. Beethoven – The Man Revealed will be the UK’s biggest radio series devoted to a single composer.

Researched, written and presented by Classic FM presenter John Suchet, it will be broadcast every Saturday night (9pm to 10pm) for 52 weeks – launching on Saturday 4 January 2020.

In this hugely ambitious series, John will reveal the dramas, loves, conflicts and successes of this extraordinary and complicated musical genius, giving listeners an unprecedented insight into the man behind the music. Undoubtedly he was one of the greatest composers of them all, but who knew Beethoven once worked as a kitchen scullion?

Read more: 10 reasons why we love Ludwig van Beethoven >

‘Beethoven – The Man Revealed’ will be presented by resident Beethoven expert John Suchet
‘Beethoven – The Man Revealed’ will be presented by resident Beethoven expert John Suchet. Picture: Classic FM

Alongside the chronological narrative, the series will celebrate Beethoven’s music in the fullest extent, from best known compositions, such as his Piano Concerto No.5 (‘Emperor’) and the famous Fifth Symphony – to compositions that have rarely, if ever, been broadcast on UK radio, such as musical jokes he composed for his friends.

To accompany the series, a special anniversary edition of John Suchet’s Sunday Times bestseller, Beethoven – The Man Revealed, will be published, featuring a new section exploring the composer’s music. John will give an informative guide to the major compositions, with fascinating details on how they came to be written and insights into what to listen out for.

John Suchet said: “If you had told me 30 or more years ago, when I first began researching Beethoven’s life, that I would one day write and present the biggest ever radio series devoted to him, I could not possibly have believed you.

“It is beyond my dreams to be given 52 programmes in which to explore the life and music of the greatest composer who ever lived.

“When you know what is going on in his life, you hear his music through new ears. His deafness, his failure to acquire a wife, his difficult friendships, and his utter faith in humanity — all these feed into his music. I cannot wait to present the man behind the music in Beethoven – The Man Revealed.”

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Sam Jackson, Senior Managing Editor, Classic FM said: “As the world prepares to mark 250 years since Beethoven’s birth, we’re excited to commission the biggest ever radio series about a single composer.

“Having dedicated more than three decades to studying Beethoven, our very own John Suchet is the perfect host, as he explores the fascinating and often unpredictable life of one of the most popular and influential musicians of all time.”

Beethoven – The Man Revealed, presented by John Suchet, will be broadcast on Classic FM every Saturday night (9pm to 10pm) in 2020, from 4 January.