The Ninth: Destiny of a Symphony

February 23, 2018

The Ninth: Destiny of a Symphony

Film and panel discussion at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to explore how one musical work has inspired so many

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has become one of the most celebrated musical works. How has one musical work inspired so many? On Wednesday, February 28, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will present a film and panel discussion to consider how music can cross boundaries and also mean very different things to different people. 

The Ninth: Destiny of a Symphony by Pierre-Henry Salfati explores how the symphony’s universal message of joy and brotherhood has been reclaimed by so many contradictory movements and ideas, from romantics and humanists to anarchists, communists, and fascists. The film examines how music can reflect and refract diverse social currents and forces.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion among Rensselaer professors chaired by pianist and composer Michael Century, professor of new media and music. Panelists are political scientist Langdon Winner, the Thomas Phelan Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences, and composer Nina Young, assistant professor of arts.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by Student Life and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Rensselaer. It begins at 4 p.m. in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) Concert Hall.


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit