- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 23, 2001


The National Symphony Orchestra announced yesterday it will present the world premiere of a new performing version of Beethoven's sketches for "Macbeth" next month.

The project began in 1997 in an Internet chat room dedicated to the great German composer. From there, composer and computer programmer Albert Willem Holsbergen of Leiden, the Netherlands, along with Madison, Wis., lawyer Mark Zimmer began swapping Beethoven music online, later forming the Web site the Unheard Beethoven(www.unheardbeethoven.org), which opened up their exchanges to a global audience.

Beethoven began sketches for an opera based on Shakespeare's "Macbeth" in 1809, but the project never was completed.

"The opportunity to give the world premiere of a Beethoven composition — even a small portion of it — is astonishing," NSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin said in a statement.

The performance will feature Beethoven's "Overture to Macbeth," drawn from sketches by Mr. Holsbergen, along with Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 and Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor.

The performance, under Mr. Slatkin's guidance, will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Repeat performances will be held at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 21 and 22.

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