All-Beethoven Live and Livestream Concert

Orion is delighted and grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate Beethoven's 250th birthday! As the worldwide celebrations had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, we feel incredibly fortunate that we can present our all-Beethoven program, which includes two of his most beloved chamber music pieces. We are looking forward to performing these for our audiences, whether in person or virtually.

A maximum of 20 people may attend in person at PianoForte Studios. Audience members must wear masks at all times. While family groups may sit together, different audience members/groups will be seated at least six feet apart. Extra masks and hand sanitizer will be available.

Tickets are $25 and must be purchased in advance. Call 630-628-9591 or email

The livestream will be available on Orion's YouTube channel which also will host a recording of the performance for a limited time. Virtual access is free. Donations are welcome and can be made on Orion's website.

All programming is subject to change.


Ludwig van Beethoven
Trio in B-flat Major for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Op. 11

Ludwig van Beethoven
Trio in B-flat Major for Violin, Cello and Piano, "Archduke," Op. 97


October 6, 2020 7:00 PM
PianoForte Studios
1335 South Michigan Ave., Chicago IL


Program Notes

by Bonnie Campbell


TRIO in B-Flat Major for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano, Op. 11 

Composed late in 1797, the Clarinet Trio, Op. 11, was first performed that same year at the home of Count Fries, a Viennese nobleman. This occasion precipitated an intense, albeit short-lived, rivalry between Beethoven and Daniel Steibelt, a pianist and composer of high repute who had recently arrived in Vienna. Following the performance of the Trio, with Beethoven himself at the piano, Steibelt arrogantly played a dazzling improvisation, and Beethoven refused to play another note.

Eight days later another concert was hosted by the Count. This time Steibelt played a clever improvisation based on the theme of the final movement of Beethoven’s Trio. This so enraged Beethoven that he grabbed the cello part from a quintet that Steibelt had just written, placed it upside down on the piano, and hammered out a theme with one finger. He then astonished everyone with a brilliant improvisation that sent Steibelt storming from the room, vowing never to meet Beethoven again.

For many years, it was believed that Beethoven wrote this trio for the Bohemian Joseph Beer, considered to be the first great virtuoso of the clarinet. However, it has been discovered that by an uncanny coincidence, there were two clarinetists with the same name active in and around Vienna at the same time. It is now believed that it was the other clarinetist, whose name most often appears as Josef Bähr, who was associated with Beethoven.

There is controversy about whether it was this Bähr or Artaria, Beethoven’s publisher, who proposed that he write a work incorporating the aria, “Pria ch’io l’impegno” (“Before what I intended”) from the opera The Corsair by Joseph Weigel. At any rate, Beethoven chose to use this aria in the last movement as the basis for a set of variations. Although this theme with variations ends the work modeled on the three movement form of the “Italian” sonata, Beethoven is said to have later regretted not adding a fourth movement. Unlike many of his other works, this piece enjoyed great popularity during his lifetime.

Trio in B-flat Major for Violin, Cello and Piano, "Archduke," Op. 97