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Classical 101

The Beethoven-Haus' Exhibition of Beethoven Stamps

Everyone knows that Beethoven put his stamp on classical music. Now a Japanese stamp collector has shown the world how Beethoven left his mark on letters, post cards and packages everywhere. The Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany, recently hosted a special exhibition of Beethoven postage stamps. Yukio Onuma, president of of the Japan Philatelic Society's Music Philately Group, assembled from his own collection an exhibition of Beethoven stamps that has won awards from international philately organizations. Onuma created a special version of the Beethoven exhibition for display at the Beethoven-Haus last spring. The exhibition displayed the story of Beethoven's life as told in stamps, from his birth in Bonn into a musical family, to his fateful encounters with Mozart and Haydn. Also chronicled were Beethoven's involvement in the French Revolution and the composition of his "Eroica" symphony and a number of significant posthumous events, including the first known Japanese performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony by a band of prisoners during World War I. More whimsical items on display included a Berlin postmark with musical notation for the iconic opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Take a look at the online exhibition for yourself.