The Beethoven Obsession tells the story of how the greatest piano music ever
written acquired a unique Australian voice, played on a revolutionary grand piano
that shook up the conservative music establishment.

The Beethoven Obsession Order Link
The Beethoven Obsession Order Link The Beethoven Obsession Prologue

Bookshots Interview

The Beethoven Obsession

It is a fast-paced drama of frustration, envy, rivalry, struggle and success, starring a self-taught child prodigy who sold contraband to advance his studies; a fanatical inventor who took apart pianos as a child to examine their ‘gizzards’; and a TV cameraman who became a music entrepreneur to translate the music he loved into an Australian first. Their unorthodox, historic odyssey created multi-award-winning, best-selling albums and changed their lives forever.

Brendan Ward Brendan Ward is an award-winning cinematographer and a producer of TV programs and documentaries. His lifelong obsession with Beethoven’s piano music led him to two other obsessives: an ‘unknown’ pianist with an unusual connection to Beethoven, and a rambunctious inventorattempting to revolutionise the modern grand piano.

Enhanced eBook

In a joint production between ABC Classics and NewSouth Books, author Brendan Ward interweaves the timeless music of Beethoven throughout the narrative, performed by Australia’s pre-eminent Beethoven pianist and dual ARIA Award winner, Gerard Willems.

This unique eBook is embedded with over an hour of award-winning Beethoven piano music, a half-hour of video content and ninety photographs.

The Beethoven Obsession Prologue

Video Testimonials

The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG
Former Justice of the High Court of Australia

Carl Vine
Australian Composer, Pianist and
Artistic Director of Musica Viva Australia


‘Ward achieves at least three remarkable things in this book. First, using direct, authentic and uncomplicated language, he manages to explore some extremely deep aspects of musical performance and interpretation that in less caring hands become mired in complexity. Second, in exploring his own fixation with Beethoven’s piano music, he manages to weave an entertaining fabric made not from his own life, but more significantly from the important people and influences in it. Third, Ward doesn't hesitate to include opinions and reactions opposing his own, establishing his value as a true and selfless chronicler. Aside from all that, it’s simply a great read.’
Carl Vine - Australian Composer, Pianist and Artistic Director of Musica Viva Australia

‘Here is the classic story of success against all odds but with a twist that takes the reader on a fascinating journey into unexplored territory.’
Gerald Stone - Journalist and author




NEW RECORDINGS: Gerard Willems has recorded Beethoven’s three ‘Electoral’ sonatas (composed in 1782-83), as well as ‘Fantasia Sonata in D’, a 25-minute work Beethoven sketched in 1792-93 but never published.

REMASTERED: Gerard Willems’ dual ARIA-winning recordings of Beethoven’s iconic 32 piano sonatas have been remastered and are now in chronological order.


- 5 Piano Concertos,
- Diabelli Variations,
- C minor Variations,
- Für Elise,
- Emperor Concerto DVD