I’ll be playing Beethoven for free all day tomorrow. All night, if needs be…

I’ll be playing Beethoven for free all day tomorrow. All night, if needs be…


norman lebrecht

October 14, 2013



The pianist Julian Jacobson will be playing the 32 sonatas for charity at the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Go, support him.beethoven_blog_header

Press release:

Celebrated pianist Julian Jacobson, acclaimed for the vitality, colour and insight he brings to his performances, celebrates the 10th anniversary of his first all-Beethoven charity piano marathon by staging this amazing event once more. The event will run from 9.15am-10pm on 15th October 2013 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square with the aim of raising money for WaterAid and The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields.


Julian will perform all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas from memory in chronological order with the exception of Op. 106 ‘Hammerklavier’, prefaced by the Sonata in E minor, Op 90, which together will form a special lunchtime concert from 1-2pm within the marathon event itself. Likewise there will be a special ‘Total Beethoven’ concert at 7pm that evening which will conclude the day’s marathon. During this outstanding feat of endurance – undertaken by only two other pianists – he plans to take just 2 longer breaks of 30 minutes each on the day and a few shorter breaks of just 5 minutes each. The event will be live-streamed with a button for people to donate during the webcast.


Hailing from a musical background, Julian’s father was the distinguished composer, pianist and festival adjudicator, Maurice Jacobson. Julian studied piano from the age of seven and had published four songs by the age of nine. Later he studied at the Royal College of Music, Queen’s College, Oxford and with the great Hungarian pianist, Louis Kentner. He was also a founder member of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. Julian Jacobson has appeared in concerts worldwide both as a soloist and a chamber musician and has appeared with many leading orchestras and conductors. His commitment to contemporary music has lead to several commissions and premieres and he has an impressive discography across many key record labels. He is currently Professor of Piano & Chamber Music at the Royal College of Music and is a sought-after teacher at summer schools and masterclasses.



  • Glenn Amer says:

    I had the pleasure of working with Julian a few years ago. Wish I could be there. Toi toi toi.

  • Julia says:

    I seem to remember a great deal of skepticism in this blog when pianist Stewart Goodyear did the same thing a couple of years back in Toronto, including having it referred to a publicity stunt. (He has repeated the “stunt” since, by the way.) So…Brit marathon good, North American bad?