Orchestra Allows Deaf People To Experience Beethoven Through Touch

Due to a meningitis infection, Zsuzsanna Foldi of Hungary was determined to be deaf at the age of eight. Now 67 years old, she was able to enjoy Beethoven’s 5th Symphony for the first time and even did it in a similar way to the very maestro who composed it. 

The Experience Was Even More Powerful as it Brought Back Old Memories

She had her hands placed gently on a double bass while sitting among the musicians of the Danubia Symphony Orchestra during their performance in Budapest. She cried during the performance because her father used to play the double bass for her, and it reminded her of those times.

Orchestra Allows Deaf People To Experience Beethoven Through Touch

This spring performance was the first in a series of many that will take place for people with hearing impairments by the orchestra’s conductor. It allows the musicians to bring music to those who otherwise might not have access to it. To achieve that, the performers position themselves in a way that allows the people with the most severe hearing loss to sit among them and place their hands on the instruments in order to feel the vibrations. Members of the audience can also hold a red balloon that would gather the vibrations from multiple instruments and convey them to the “listeners” through their fingertips.

Deaf People Can Connect with Beethoven on Another Level 

Mate Hamori, who is the conductor, had the idea to connect the music of Beethoven with those who were most capable of sympathizing with him. Beethoven himself suffered from deafness and famously composed the iconic 9th symphony in the period of his life when he was completely deaf.

Orchestra Allows Deaf People To Experience Beethoven Through Touch

Beethoven lost his hearing gradually over his life, and in the years between 1804 and 1808, when he was writing his fifth symphony, it was already very difficult for him to hear. As the condition worsened further, he began composing music on his piano, catching the vibrations through the keys. A deaf member of the audience in this spring performance even noted that the stringed instruments were producing a very tactile vibration, and this could not have been a coincidence.