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Arts & Culture

Beethoven and Rwanda Collide in "The General"

Beethoven and Rwanda Collide in "The General"
In "The General," which has its U.S. premiere with the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus this weekend, author Paul Griffiths draws a composite score from Beethoven and adds text to create a dramatic work for orchestra, chorus, and actor that tells the story of the Rwandan tragedy through the eyes of the general leading the U.N. peacekeeping mission.

Maureen Cavanaugh: The La Jolla Symphony is presenting the U.S. premiere of a work that combines Beethoven's music with the tragic story of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. This ambitious work that combines orchestra, soprano, choir and narrator is called "The General."


The source material for the libretto of "The General" is a memoir of the civil war in Rwanda written by the head of the UN peacekeeping mission. His account outlines the themes of tragedy, confusion and frustrated hope that are explored in both the music and the text of "The General."

The U.S. premiere of "The General" isMay 2 and 3, 2009, at the Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD.


Paul Griffiths, author of "The General," a modern-day performance piece set to Beethoven's music. Paul is also music critic for The Times of London and contributor to the New York Times.

Stephen Schick, music director for the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, and conductor of the U.S. premiere of "The General."