Delray Beach Public Library


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The year 2020 marks the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven and celebrations are kicking-off around the world this December. Delray Beach Public Library is joining in the festivities with our very own Beethoven 250 Fest Delray. This guide details all of our special events including concerts and discussions with master musicians, films, a community mac & cheese cook-off for all ages, and more.



Classical music is often equated with weird terminology, expensive tickets, a strict dress code, and other general stuffiness. However, we want to offer a quality classical music experience that is accessible to everyone and completely free. What better place than in your library!

If you are wondering if classical music, or Beethoven, is even relevant any more, bear in mind that from later composers to John Lennon and Billy Joel, Beethoven has made his mark on the modern day. In fact, the famous chorus that celebrates the brotherhood of mankind from his 9th symphony has been the anthem at major world events in the 20th century and continues to this day to be popular on the flash mob scene. So come on in and meet Ludwig van Beethoven for the first time, or fall in love with him all over again. Thank you for joining us!


Beethoven’s Genius: String Quartets and Symphonies

2 pm, Thursdays, January 9, 16, 23rd, April 9th, and 16th

FREE; please REGISTER here.

A short series of media-driven lectures about the man and his musical genius.  Using programs from The Great Courses as the jumping-off point, two of our librarians who are Beethoven aficionados (and one is also a masterful musician) will lead this rich exploration of select quartets and symphonies.

Each session will begin with a video lecture by The Great Courses instructor, Professor Robert Greenberg, composer and celebrated music historian at San Francisco Performances; followed by guided listening and discussion with our librarians.

From THE GREAT COURSES Programs: Symphonies of Beethoven and String Quartets of Beethoven.  Used with permission.


Beethoven and His Followers: Chopin & Liszt featuring Yoko Sata Kothari, classical pianist

2 pm, Sunday, January 26, 2020

FREE; please REGISTER here.

Beethoven is one of the most influential composers in history. Nearly all subsequent developments in classical music owe something to his work. By the middle of his life he was almost totally deaf, and had yet to produce his most profound works. Being a storyteller at the piano as well as an artist, Ms. Kothari’s mission is to communicate with the audience with her signature talk and to have them experience the interesting stories behind the music through her performances. Celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birth anniversary year, this program features not only music by Beethoven, but also music by Chopin and Liszt, who were inspired and influenced by him.

Making appearances on the stages from Tokyo, Japan, to Carnegie Hall, Yoko Sata Kothari has enjoyed a successful performing career. Born in Tokyo, she began her career by winning the Northern Japan Classical Piano Competition at the age of eight. Since moving to the United States, she has continued to earn awards for her performances, including the most recent in May 2017 when she won first place in the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition in New York and, as a result, was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Kothari holds a performing arts degree from the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo, and she has inspired audiences on three continents, including televised broadcasts in China and a series of performances in Italy. She has also released four CD recordings.


Young Beethoven Concert

2 pm, Sunday, February 9, 2020

FREE; please REGISTER here.

Two young, award-winning students from the Lynn Conservatory of Music will share the stage and each perform a Beethoven sonata.

Kimia Rafieian will perform Beethoven’s Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28  “Pastoral”.  Born in Tehran, Iran, Ms. Rafieian began Carl Orff music studies at age 5. Upon entering the Tehran music school as a piano major, she studied under several notable pianists and  received awards at many competitions. She entered Lynn University Conservatory of  Music in 2017 and was awarded a scholarship from the National Society of Arts & Letters. Ms. Rafieian won second place in the FSMTA Gray Perry Young Collegiate Piano Award Competition and was a finalist in the Lynn Concerto Competition and the Jack Heller Young Artist Competition, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Symphony.

Robiyakhon Akromova will perform Beethoven’s Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 “Waldstein”.  A sophomore at the Lynn University Conservatory of Music, she started playing the piano at the age of nine in Tashkent, Uzbekistan at a children`s music school. In 2015, she enrolled in the Academy Lyceum of Music in Tashkent. Ms. Akromova has studied under several notable pianists and received numerous awards at  various competitions.  In 2019 she won 1st Prize in the Gray Perry Young collegiate competition.


Beethoven’s Mac & Cheese Community Cook-Off

1 pm, Saturday, March 28, 2020

A biographer of Beethoven wrote that his favorite food was macaroni and cheese, which in 1800s Vienna might have been an Austrian dish called Käsespätzle.  Käsespätzle is a yummy, good-for-the-soul dish made of homemade egg noodles layered with cheese and crispy onions and baked to caramelized deliciousness. Yum!

In honor of Beethoven’s favorite food, and ours, quite frankly, because there is nothing like a bubbly, ooey-gooey plate of homemade mac & cheese, we are hosting a mac & cheese community cook-off.  This fun and friendly competition is open to all ages. Yep, even kids (with adult supervision). If you’ve got a great recipe for mac & cheese, now is your chance to share it, and maybe win a prize.  Be creative!  First, second and third place prizes will be awarded.

Mac & cheese contestants can enter the competition by completing the form available at the Circulation Desk. (An online entry form is coming soon.)  Deadline to enter is 5 pm, Friday, March 20, 2020.

Contestant Rules:

  1. Complete the entry form and give it to the Circulation Desk staff.
  2. Make enough mac & cheese to serve 10-12 people.
  3. Come to the Library at 12 Noon on Saturday, March 28, 2020.
  4. Print out your recipe for sharing.
  5. Bring your friends and family to cheer you on!


Beethoven’s Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved by Russell Martin

6 pm, Wednesday, April 1, 2020

FREE; please REGISTER here.

And now for the mystery . . . follow the fascinating trail of a lock of Beethoven’s hair snipped from his head as he lay dying in 1827. First a beloved  treasure of musician Ferdinand Hiller’s family, the lock somehow found its way to the town of Gilleleje, in Nazi-occupied Denmark where it was given to a local doctor, Kay Fremming, who was deeply involved in the effort to help save hundreds of Jews. Eventually it was put up for  auction at Sotheby’s where two American Beethoven enthusiasts, Ira Brilliant and Che Guevara, purchased it in 1994.  The new owners  instituted a series of complex forensic tests in the hope of finding the probable causes of the composer’s chronically bad health, his deafness, and final demise.  Author Russell Martin presents the amazing results and incredible revelations in this a moving testament to the power of music, the lure of relics, the heroism of the Resistance movement, and the brilliance of molecular science.


Read the book, but even if you don’t, please join us for a discussion of this compelling story with our very special guest, Dr. Patricia Fleitas, Artistic Director and Conductor of Schola Cantorum of Florida and Professor of Music and Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Fleitas will also talk about Beethoven’s life and choral music and guest singers will perform.