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Beethoven & books: Tucson Symphony and Pima Library to host discussions

As classical music lovers prepare to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra is planning a series of discussions about the book "Beethoven's Hair," to coincide with a season featuring the performances of eight of the composer's works.

The free discussion group series will explore a book based on a the history and sale of a lock of the famous composer's hair, led by TSO Music Director José Luis Gomez.

TSO will host a series of discussions led by Gomez at three Pima County public libraries this fall, in efforts to reach out to a broader Tucson audience, according to Terry Marshall, a spokesman for the orchestra.

The discussion group will start off at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library on Saturday, Sept. 7 and the second one will be held at the Joyner-Green Valley Library on Sunday, Sept. 8. The third discussion will be held at the Oro Valley Library on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

"The discussions are just one way the TSO will observe the anniversary of Beethoven's birth next season, which will include performances of his first eight symphonies," Marshall said.

"Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved," by Russell Martin, is "an astonishing tale of one lock of hair and its amazing travels–from nineteenth-century Vienna to twenty-first-century America" according to Penguin Random House.

TSO's 2019-20 season will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, so Beethoven's Hair explores the history and science involved in the great composer's piece of hair, which went up for auction and was purchased in 1994.

"Eight Beethoven symphonies in one season is a milestone for the TSO because of the challenges of the repertoire," Gomez said in a news release. "Beethoven is a musical god, a presence that is so strong for everyone. He has influenced everybody-artists, conductors, orchestra, historians and writers. This will be a good way for us all to discover things about this great musician that perhaps we didn't know."

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Pima County Public Libraries values community like this collaboration with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Holly Schaffer, library spokeswoman, said in the release."We're excited to be working with TSO on this special event series that explores the intersection of writing and music."

TSO's social media will have updates and more information on the upcoming discussion groups. If you want to keep updated, follow TSO's Twitter @TucsonSymphony, Facebook page or website at www.tucsonsymphony.org.

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Beethoven in a portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820