In three performances, a select roster of the world’s finest chamber musicians explores Vienna during one of history’s most exciting and consequential eras. In just a decade overlapping the 18th and 19th centuries, Ludwig van Beethoven seized the helm of the ship once commanded by his predecessors Haydn and Mozart and became the world’s most famous composer. With works of unimagined daring, energy, and beauty, Beethoven transformed the art of music and elevated the image of the composer to heroic, vaulted status. The Festival’s opening concert features Artistic Advisor and pianist Wu Han, with her husband cellist David Finckel, in one of classical music’s most unique and seldom-heard programs: the complete Cellos Sonatas by Beethoven. The concert traces Beethoven’s evolution as a composer, from the brilliant beginning of his career, through his storied “heroic” period, and concluding with two pieces that herald the transcendent beauty and sophistication of his late works. Together, the sonatas offer the listener a complete portrait of Beethoven’s composing in the span of just one evening, a rare treat for Beethoven lovers and the ideal introduction to his music for newcomers.