The Hanover Band and Chichester Conservatoire: the Beethoven 250 project

For the past three years, music students at the University of Chichester have been able to perform with mentors from The Hanover Band who have led intensive 3-day orchestral courses exploring a variety of repertoire.

The Hanover Band includes some of the best period instrument specialists in the UK. They are considered to be some of the best in their field. Their performances and recordings have been described as ‘revelatory, luscious, outstanding and illuminating’. The group have gained an enviable niche for themselves within the early music movement as one of the UK’s finest period instrument orchestras and the Band is committed to education work and passing on their enthusiasm and knowledge to the next generation of music lovers.

Their project ‘Nurturing the Next Generation’ has led to the appointment of the Hanover Band as Orchestra in Residence at the University of Chichester Conservatoire in April 2019, leading the way to an exciting and innovative new collaboration entitled ‘Basically Beethoven’. This new project is designed to celebrate two important anniversaries taking place in 2020 – the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven and the 40th anniversary of the founding of The Hanover Band.

‘Basically Beethoven’ comprises a set of credit-bearing modules in historic performance which can be engaged with at any level of study. The three-year programme, which will explore each Beethoven symphony, started in September 2019. These modules are designed to work across theory and practice, encouraging students to combine analytical and historical research of Beethoven’s music with their own practical orchestral experiences.

These modules will also allow students to choose areas of study which prove to be of particular interest to them, developing their own independent research skills and applying them to their performance and assessments.

The modules will offer students invaluable opportunities to engage with the orchestral works of Beethoven under the experienced guidance of Hanover Band mentors. Through intensive orchestral courses students will be introduced to original 18th and 19th-century instruments or modern replicas, the playing techniques associated with these instruments and current research and thinking in Classical and Romantic performance practice. Each intensive orchestral course will culminate in a concert in which students will perform a symphony and other orchestral works alongside their Hanover Band mentors, allowing them to put into practice the research and practical experiences engaged with over the three-day intensive courses.

Module co-ordinator Dr Catherine Crisp said “The first intensive orchestral course as part of the new ‘Basically Beethoven’ collaboration took place from 28th-30th October. During these three days, 30 enthusiastic students prepared performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8, Overture to Egmont and Romanze in F, alongside 11 Hanover Band mentors and led by conductor Steve Threlfall.

“Students were able to experiment with different approaches to historical performance practice, see, hear and, in some cases, perform on earlier forms of their own instruments and become increasingly aware of the performance techniques associated with them. Students were also able to gain inspiration and ideas from their mentors to aid them in choosing a focus and preparing their assessments for the ‘Basically Beethoven’ modules.”

For more information about the Hanover Band’s ‘Beethoven 250’ project which includes ‘Basically Beethoven’ please visit

“Basically Beethoven” concert on 19 February
“Basically Beethoven” concert on 17 April
“Basically Beethoven” concert on 29 October

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