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Copying Beethoven


Young Anna Holz, a student at the Vienna Music Conservatory is summoned to the offices of Herr Schlemmer, Beethoven’s publisher. His Ninth Symphony is about to be premiered and Schlemmer, who is dying of cancer, needs a copyist to complete the score. Anna eagerly accepts, despite his warning that Beethoven is a monster.

As her work of copying down the music of Beethoven proceeds, Anna is drawn into the maestro’s tortured and inspired world. She sees their collaboration as a God-sent opportunity to prove her own talent as a composer; he glimpses in her a pure soul who might help him realize the culmination of his art – the creation of the last string quartets, the most sublime and spiritual music ever written.

Beethoven reveals his growing need and affection for Anna as they work together on the string quartets.  She boldly shows Beethoven her own work. Thoughtlessly, he derides it and she leaves him in despair.
Desperate, Anna accepts her longtime paramour, Martin’s, proposal of marriage. Beethoven storms after her - she must choose between Martin and him. Anna tries to flee Vienna but cannot; her destiny is linked to Beethoven’s. She returns to finish their work and finds him dying. From his dictation she copies the last of the quartets. His work on earth done, he frees her to become what he tells her she was born to be – a composer.


Type of film
Running Time
104 mins
Agnieszka Holland
Sidney Kimmel, Michael Taylor, Stephen J Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson
Stephen J Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson
Director of Photography
Ashley Rowe BSC
Principal Cast
Ed Harris, Diane Kruger


Production status


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Last updated 24th November 2006

Production Company

Copying Beethoven Ltd


Myriad Pictures
3015 Main Street, Suite 400
Santa Monica CA 90405, USA

T+1 310 279 4000
F+1 310 279 4001