Located in the King Library at SJSU, the Center is an extensive library and museum devoted to the life, works, and accomplishments of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Established in 1983 when Ira F. Brilliant donated his Beethoven collection to San José State University, and operates as an organized research unit in the College of Humanities and the Arts. The Center now has the largest collection of Beethoven materials outside of Europe. In addition to functioning as a research library and museum, the Center is involved in educational outreach and sponsors exhibitions, concerts, lectures, tours, and other events. Long-term projects include publication of The Beethoven Journal and development of the Center's online resources in the Beethoven Gateway. The Center is also the headquarters for the American Beethoven Society. Find out more about the Beethoven Center.
The Center’s collection includes materials in a variety of formats (books, printed music, recordings, videos, art materials, archives) focused on Beethoven or related subjects, as well as reference materials used for Beethoven research. Rare collections include manuscripts, scores, books, engravings and other prints, maps, art objects, and realia such as locks of Beethoven’s hair, a quill pen, and one of his shirts.
The library collections do not circulate, but many materials are available for browsing and use in the public reading room, including books, scores, sound recordings, and videos. Rare materials housed in the vaults can be made available by request. Many of the Center’s manuscripts, first editions, and art works are available for viewing online through the SJSU Digital Collections.
*The Beethoven Center’s reading room is currently closed due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order. We are available to answer research requests via email here: Beethoven.Center@sjsu.edu. For further information on access to the Beethoven Center, consult our website: https://www.sjsu.edu/beethoven/about/hours_location/index.html
Requests for rare materials not yet available in the Digital Collections should be sent to the Curator, Patricia.Stroh@sjsu.edu
Due to COVID-19, the Beethoven Center will not be available for tours or keyboard demonstrations until further notice.