Happy 250th birthday, Beethoven! Well, technically as best we’ve nailed it down, his birthday was on Wednesday. It’s kind of a big deal, this year. Just Google ‘Beethoven 250’…
I could write a book about Beethoven. I’ve already written a term paper, for which I got a better grade than our class valedictorian. Just saying. If I couldn’t beat him at calculus, I could beat the guy at waxing poetic over Beethoven’s enormous Ninth Symphony.
Why this randomness? Well, certainly not all of these have really had to do with leadership, or with managing teams, or business in general. There’s more to life than work, after all. Beethoven, however, can definitely apply to that first one. When I’m pressed to define what leadership is for me, it always comes down to some form of inspiration. Someone who inspires me is a leader.
Beethoven, then, just… Yeah. He had the edge of speaking in what I think of as the universal language: Music. In this age of divisiveness, of hostility, of rancor, I’m pressed to find common ground. A universal one? Yep, music. And no matter anyone’s beliefs, or their values, or their perspectives, it’s tough not to give Beethoven even a little credit for writing music that two-hundred and fifteen years later we’re still performing, still listening to, still being blown away by.
Still being inspired by.
For those who subscribe to the New York Times, they put together a really great list of his music. If you want this guy’s recommendation for the best 8 minutes of Beethoven… Grab some headphones, turn up the volume all the way, close your eyes and absorb the second movement of his Seventh Symphony as conducted by Carlos Kleiber.