Alasdair Neale

The Festival’s Upbeat With Alasdair Speaking Series Returns to Explore Beethoven’s Genius

This January 2, Maestro Alasdair Neale hosts an in-depth look at Beethoven’s musical mastery, with previews of works to be performed this summer

Music Director Alasdair Neale returns to host the Sun Valley Music Festival’s popular “Upbeat with Alasdair” speaking series on Thursday, Jan. 2 at the Community Library. Titled “Beethoven’s Timeless Genius,” the talk will focus on Beethoven’s life and works, exploring what makes his music so timelessly compelling. Maestro Neale will also provide a preview of Beethoven selections to be performed at the Festival’s 2020 Summer Season for the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Of the upcoming event, Maestro Neale commented:

“I’m looking forward to sharing thoughts about some of Beethoven’s most popular and beloved works, as well as ones you may not have heard. His genius shines through everything he wrote, and, never content with the status quo, he reinvented nearly every form he touched.”

The annual “Upbeat with Alasdair” speaking series takes place in winter and spring at The Community Library, located at 415 Spruce Ave., Ketchum. It provides an intimate platform for Maestro Neale to share his passion for music-making and his personal take on specific works with the community. Recent talks have previewed major Festival summer productions, including a conversation with composer Mason Bates before last year’s performances and a behind-the-scenes look at Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, which closed the 2019 Summer Season.

This January’s discussion won’t lack for intrigue. Beyond the number of works Beethoven wrote – including 9 symphonies, 32 piano sonatas, 5 piano concertos, an opera, and numerous chamber works – he forever changed the landscape of classical music. Neale explains:

“Nothing was the same after Beethoven. He redefined not only the musical forms he inherited, but also the very nature of what it means to be an artist. His status as a heroic-tragic icon embodied the Romantic ideal of the exalted individual. After him, nothing was quite the same.”

The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is free, but space is limited, and the event is often full. Those interested are encouraged to make reservations and arrive early. The best way to reserve seats is on the Festival website at Reservations will also be accepted by emailing or calling the Festival office at [email protected] or 208-622-5607.

Individuals unable to attend in person will be able to watch via video livestream on the Festival website at

For the latest news and information on the Sun Valley Music Festival and “Upbeat with Alasdair” visit the Festival website at or sign up for e-news at