December 24, 2016

Celebrating the Fall of the Wall–With Beethoven

Not long ago, I co-produced a documentary, Following the Ninth, which explored how Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has been used in recent decades around the globe for humanistic, even political, purposes.  It drew much acclaim (you can watch it via iTunes) and I later co-authored a book on the subject with the director.    One of the highlights of the film, and book, was showing how Germany celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall at Christmas in 1989 in the most public way possible:  with a pair of performances of the Ninth conducted by Leonard Bernstein and performed/sung by hundreds from around the world–and beamed over live TV to all of Germany and much of Europe.   Below: Here’s how Bill Moyers covered the film, and aired the entire trailer, and then the actual performance of the Ninth. Let me add that another amazing angle of all this: In our film, we featured a young German woman who had lived in the East when the Wall still existed–and she went on to be a key researcher for The Tunnels, Emely von Oest, now living in L.A.