Monday, January 10, 2022 3:00 pm

In 1827, Fredinand Hiller, a student of Ludwig van Beethoven, came to pay his respects to his teacher. In accordance with custom, Hiller snipped a lock of Beethoven’s hair to keep as a memorium. The lock stayed a Hiller family heirloom for over a century until it found it’s way into Nazi-occupied Denmark. Passed on to a local doctor, the lock of Beethoven’ s hair was consigned for sale at Sotheby’s, where it was purchased by two American Beethoven enthusiasts, Ira Brilliant and Che Guevara.

While already a fascinating tale, the story of Beethoven’s hair deepened as the purchasers and forensic experts instituted a number of complex tests, hopeful to uncover the causes of Beethoven’s bad health, his deafness and his ultimate demise. The results, published in the book “Beethoven’s Hair,” by Russell Martin and explored in a movie by the same name act as a sort of historical treasure hunt, with breakthroughs that reveal incredible insight into the great composer.

Join close friend of Ira Brilliant, ASU Professor of Piano Caio Pagano, as he regails us with stories from Brilliant’s tests, insights about the results, and his own deep understanding of Beethoven’s musical style.

RSVP above, find a trailer for the film based on the story below!

Caio Pagano

Caio Pagano


Caio Pagano is an internationally renowned concert pianist, teacher and scholar. He is a distinguished professor of piano at Arizona State University since 1986 having earned the honor of Regents Professor of piano at this institution. He is the recipient of many piano performance awards in Europe and in his native country, Brazil. Pagano has performed throughout four continents in more than 900 public performances as recital soloist, chamber musician and as soloist with orchestras.

He has premiered 36 works in concert halls worldwide, 25 of these were works written and dedicated to him by the composers, including several concertos for piano and orchestra. He has also recorded several of these works. Pagano was the first pianist to perform the complete works of Schoenberg in several capitals of the world.

He performed with orchestras throughout the world conducted by Sergiu Comissiona, Camargo Guarnieri, Szimon Goldberg, Howard Griffits, John Neschling, James Sedares, Aylton Escobar, Eleazar de Carvalho, Silva Pereira, Ernest Bour, Morton Gould, Roberto Minczuk, Roberto Tibiriçá. His programs are vast and have included great Masters of the XXth century; he performed Berg’s “Chamber Concerto”, Schoenberg’s Concerto, Bartók’s II Concerto for the first time ever in Brazil, as well as the complete works of Schoenberg; and a large number of world premières of contemporary composers such as Guarnieri, Koellreutter, Gilberto Mendes, Willy Correa de Oliveira, James DeMars, Almeida Prado. Glenn Hackbarth, Paulo Chagas etc.)

A frequent performer in East Asia, Caio played in Beijing, Qingdao, Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka and in Singapore at the Esplanade, the Botanical gardens and at the SOTA.

He has adjudicated international competitions in Portugal, Switzerland, Singapore, Brazil, the USA, Panama. He became “Professor of the Year” at Arizona State University in 2010.

In partnership with Maria João Pires, Pagano created the Belgais Centre for Studies of the Arts in Portugal in 2000 and recorded “Sounds of Belgais” for Deutsche Gramophon. He created the Piano Department of the Institute Politechnic in Portugal.

Summit, Soundset, Deutsche Grammophon and Glissando labels publish his acclaimed recordings. His CD “Music for Children” by Heitor Villa-Lobos has received rave reviews which have included “CD of the Month” by BBC Music Magazine, and other magnificent reviews on Gramophone (Great Britain), CD Compact (Spain) and Fanfare (United States).