Ben, Ben And Beethoven On The Next Steinway Cafe

May 6, 2020

Music buffs usually associate the “Three B’s” as the trio of the classical geniuses Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. This Friday, IPR’s Steinway Cafe is honoring at least one of those. 

IPR Classical's Steinway Cafe series hosts live, in-studio performance on our renovated 1918 Steinway piano over the noon hour. Due to social distancing measures and ongoing health concerns surrounding COVID-19, we’re hosting the first virtual Steinway Cafe performance on Friday, May 8 on Facebook and streaming at iowapublicradio.org. 

Ben Loeb will be performing from his home studio showcasing the music of Iowa composer Ben Hippin and celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. It’s going to be a Ben, Ben and Beethoven virtual extravaganza!

Loeb is known as a concert pianist, conductor, former Davenport resident and renaissance man. His virtual performance will pay tribute to Beethoven’s birthday by showcasing a movement from the Pathétique Sonata.

Beethoven was just 27 when he composed his Eighth Sonata in 1798, and it's the sonata that launched his career with its entrancing and noble second movement.

Beethoven was just 27 when he composed his Eighth Sonata in 1798, and it’s the sonata that launched his career with its entrancing and noble second movement. Over the centuries the “Adagio cantabile” has captivated a wide range of “melody inspired” artists from Kiss and Billy Joel to the piano-playing Peanuts character Schroeder.

Hippen’s path crossed with Loeb’s when they were both Harvard music students. Hippen recently returned to his hometown of Decorah. He started out as a musician and writer working on a feature film in Northeast Africa. His experiences there led him to complete his residency in medicine where he served as an emergency physician in San Francisco, Mexico, Ghana, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Loeb will be performing Hippen’s “Acceptance” from Hippen’s 2017 album “Word is.”

Loeb will also perform a poignant nocturne by Chopin, a rag by Joplin and one by Arndt highlighting a well-known Dvořák tune. In addition, he’ll cover two new works by established young composers including New York composer Jim Stephenson’s energetic “A New York Minute” and a “River Flows In You” by Korean-British composer Yiruma.