Comparing Beethoven to punk rockers is based on the composer’s attitude to tradition, but is it an accurate categorization? (Shutterstock)
Last summer, the meme “Beethoven was Black” was trending online, a trope that drew the iconic composer into a 21st century discussion about race and social justice. But there is another curious classical music trope in circulation, one that is actually hard to avoid: Beethoven was a punk.
A cursory search for information about iconic composers like Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt or Stravinsky inevitably yields articles and blog posts proclaiming them the “original punk rockers,” linking them with the infamously brash modern pop music phenomenon associated with bands like the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and The Clash.