Beethoven – go big or go home

beethoven peanutsIf you’re a New Zealander and if you’re into classical music it is likely you’ve heard of a pianist named Michael Houstoun. Michael is one of NZ’s greatest classical pianists. Haven’t heard of him? A quick google search will show you he’s definitely done his country proud!

This year Mr. Houstoun is embarking on somewhat of a Beethoven marathon: All 32 piano sonatas, played in 10 places around NZ, split into 7 programmes that total 40 concerts this year. I should point out that this isn’t the first time Michael is taking on such a task…that’s right, he’s done it before. 20 years ago to be exact. Of course this time it’ll be a little different – over a longer period of time, in different orders and in different venues.

Now I myself am not a musician. Nor do I profess to know a great deal about classical music – other than knowing that I enjoy it (which is a pretty good amount to know). But what I do know is that this is no mean feat and I am truly looking forward to journeying through all of Beethoven’s piano masterpieces with a man whose knowledge and understanding of Beethoven is incredible. (When we were working on the interview with Michael embedded below I learnt that he stores all of his Beethoven scores in his piano stool, perhaps in order to absorb as much of the music as possible into himself through osmosis?)

I am so excited by the project that I have signed up for a free online series of lectures entitled Discovering Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas run by the Curtis Institute of Music in Philidelphia through

I’m sure I am not the only one taken by this year-long  endeavour and so thought I might see if I can find others to share their Michael Houstoun BEETHOVEN reCYCLE 2013 concert experiences along the way. For each of Michael’s concerts I am looking to hear from at least one other audience member. I want to share on this Chamber Music Blog all the goings-on over the 40 concerts from 40 different points of view.

Are you up for it? Join me for 40 blog posts about 40 concerts of 1 great pianist performing works from 1 great composer.

And if you’re going to any of Michael’s concert and want to contribute then email me –

– written by Candice de Villiers, Chamber Music New Zealand.

Find out more about the Chamber Music New Zealand BEETHOVEN reCYCLE project:


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