In partnership with the Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO), BECOMING BEETHOVEN is a 9-part series documenting the creative process of the 2014 PSO Young American Composers Competition commission. Composer Michael-Thomas Foumai documents the creative choices, challenges and process of bringing together a new work inspired by the Beethoven Symphonies.
Becoming Beethoven is a work that strives to capture the story of Beethoven’s hearing loss. The work weaves together motives from the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th symphonies and strives to paint a picture of an artist losing the ability to hear his passion, his music, the struggle to cope socially with depression, thoughts of suicide, and of the enduring will to continue his work. In some ways the title represents both my attempt to channel Beethoven’s energy into my own voice and of the story of Beethoven ascent from his darkest depths into one of the greatest composers in history.