About the Project

Who are these guys? What’s wrong with them?

The MIDI files, mp3 files and the contents of this website are for the most part produced by Mark S. Zimmer (gardibolt@unheardbeethoven.org) and Willem (sometimes also known as xickx, thus xickx@unheardbeethoven.org). Willem is a computer programmer and lifelong Beethoven-lover in the Netherlands; Mark S. Zimmer is an attorney in Wisconsin, USA. They met in 1997 over the internet by talking on the DALnet #beethoven channel which xickx moderated, and where matters related to Beethoven and classical music in general were discussed. Both of them had over the preceding years developed an obsessive desire to accumulate recordings of all of Beethoven’s works. Through the miracle of the internet, they were able to compare notes and see where each had been missing various items. But still, there were a multitude of works which sounded intriguing but which were unavailable on record or CD. Indescribable was their shock and horror upon learning the sheer quantity of works that really did exist but were quite inaccessible such as the Hess-list (containing 335 unknown works). Their shared frustration over the many works which had not been recorded was vented at about the same time as reasonably good computer soundcards became readily available.

Suddenly, the fog lifted, and they saw that they didn’t need to wait for others to record and release the many missing pieces; they could, through creation of MIDI files, make their own “recordings” of these unheard pieces. Now they could hear these pieces, and in the process learned that there is indeed a wealth of interesting material amongst the unheard Beethoven. Willem and Zimmer assiduously began ferreting out these many mysterious pieces, with the tireless support of Patricia Elliott-Stroh, curator of the Ira F. Brilliant Beethoven Center at San Jose State University, and set to work on turning these scores into MIDI files.

After more than 100 MIDI files had been completed, Willem and Mark decided that they didn’t want to keep all these unheard works to themselves; the world deserved to at least have an opportunity to hear all this unheard Beethoven. And now, the unheard Beethoven can be heard by you. We presently have on this site over 400 MIDI files, and a steadily increasing number of mp3 files, totalling more than sixteen hours of music. We trust that you will find much here that is, if nothing else, interesting and intriguing. We are still working on the other items which remain unheard, and will be adding more files from time to time, as well as converting the existing MIDIs into mp3 format.

Will My Soundcard Work?

We strongly recommend for your own personal safety that you listen to the mp3 version of these soundfiles if one is available, unless you are familiar with getting good results from MIDI files or otherwise want to peer into the workings. For the best results for the MIDI files on this site, you should have a good soundcard. For the orchestral pieces, you will need a soundcard with a large wavtable; soundcards which do not have a good wavtable may reproduce orchestral works as piano or other less likely instruments. It is also possible to download software wavtables, soundfonts, etc. from the Internet. With a proper soundcard, you can experience these MIDI files as a fairly close approximation of the recorded work with live musicians, provided you don’t forget to enable your wavtable! Of course, a MIDI file is no substitute for a genuine musician (though MIDIS can often be more passionate than some (supposedly) living musicians), but if the musicians aren’t going to record these pieces, we have to get them to you somehow. We are endeavoring to use our hardware and software to make more of the MIDIs available in the more user-friendly mp3 format over time, which will not be so dependent on the user’s soundcard; if you have a special request feel free to comment on the blog page.


We would like to thank our friends and families for their support in this project and putting up with the noise of MIDI files in progress. We particularly thank the Beethoven Center at San Jose State, the Beethoven-Archiv in Bonn, the University of Wisconsin Music Library, and dozens of libraries and archives around the globe for their generous assistance in tracking down elusive publications and unpublished manuscripts. Special thanks to James F. Green, who as head of Monument Records and author of the updated Hess Catalogue has accomplished many unimaginable and deeply appreciated things for us. Thanks as well to our good friend Armando Orlandi, administrator of the foremost Italian Beethoven website for his assistance in creating numerous midis and mp3s and helping in other innumerable ways, for which we cannot begin to repay him. Many, many thanks also to Steve Lange and Ivan Richwalski for setting up and hosting the original incarnation of this website, and even moreso to the esteemed composer Kevin MacLeod for his work in getting this once-moribund project living and breathing once more. This is strictly a non-profit effort of love, and we are gratified that others believe that this project is worth making available on the net.

The Legal Stuff

The Unheard Beethoven, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation devoted to education, realization, performance and distribution relating to classical music, especially that of Beethoven, to music lovers everywhere.   Copies of some scores are available at reasonable rates to professional and amateur musicians intending to perform the works on this site.  Contact Willem at xickx@unheardbeethoven.org for details and pricing for purchase and rental of scores.  Unfortunately, the 1822 version of Für Elise as edited by Dr. Barry Cooper, our most requested score, was published by Novello and  is under his and his publisher’s copyright.  We cannot provide copies of his realization without permission, so please do not inquire regarding that piece. 


Project Director: Mark S. Zimmer

Musical Director: Willem

Board of Directors: Mark S. Zimmer, Willem, James F. Green

While the Unheard Beethoven website is dedicated to the dissemination of Beethoven’s work as widely as possible, the content of this site and all MIDI and mp3 soundfiles contained on this site are subject to copyright. Copyrights to all soundfiles and realizations of incomplete Beethoven works that list as the authors Willem, xickx, Mark S. Zimmer or any combination of them, are owned by The Unheard Beethoven, Inc., a nonprofit corporation. All other soundfiles and realizations are copyrighted by the authors noted on the corresponding page for the soundfile. Fair use of the soundfiles is encouraged; we ask, however, that in connection with any such use that the author of that particular soundfile be credited and the URL of the Unheard Beethoven website be listed. Bulk download and copying and/or commercial distribution of the files on this site is strictly prohibited. No more than 25 files may be downloaded or copied in any one day by one entity without the permission(s) of the copyright holder(s).

The Unheard Beethoven, Inc. publishes through BMI.  Any commercial recordings of Beethoven compositions on this website that were realized, arranged and/or completed by Mark S. Zimmer and/or Willem aka xickx should be credited to The Unheard Beethoven, Inc. (BMI) as publisher.

Subject to the above, all soundfiles that are copyrighted by The Unheard Beethoven, Inc., (but not the rights to any underlying compositions, completions or realizations, and also not to any other soundfiles on this site), are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.