Classical music doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being hip. For too long it’s been seen as a stuffy genre for the high cultured elite. WHAT WOULD BEETHOVEN DO? follows a number of renegades, from composers flirting with modern mediums, to young musicians dedicated to changing the narrative, to a man who works with tabla players to turntablists. Notable artists such as, Bobby McFerrin, Benjamin Zander and Eric Whitacre add their voices to the debate about why classical music is still relevant today.
This documentary captures the rise of an exciting revolution happening from within. These innovative individuals are breaking the stereotypes and bringing classical music to a 21st century audience. At its core, it’s about why we create art and why we should care about art in our society.
About the Director / Producer
Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Jonathan Keijser is an award-winning storyteller with a strong focus on creating socially conscious content. As a film and theatre director, screenwriter and professionally-trained musician, Jonathan is committed to sharing compelling stories of progressive communities and people, with the goal of helping encourage positive social change in the world.
Before his career in film, Jonathan founded a not-for-profit theatre company for emerging artists in Montreal, Canada, where he directed fully-staged Broadway productions, including Into The Woods & Cabaret. Both received critical acclaim. Pat Donnelly of the Montreal Gazette called Keijser “a promising young director” and described his shows as “pack[ing] an unusually powerful punch [with a] cast [that] works like a team.” Since then, his films and stage productions have played at over thirty festivals and venues around the world.
In 2016, Jonathan’s feature film, What Would Beethoven Do?, had its world premiere at the Cleveland International Film Festival, where the film had three sold-out screenings and took home an audience award. The film questions why we create art by following three superstar musical renegades as they independently take action to repair the fractured and ailing world of classical music, reinstating its relevancy in the 21st century.
Jonathan believes that in order to inspire and challenge audience perceptions, content must be both reflective and humorous. To make an impact, stories must go beyond a single message approach and allow viewers to draw their own informed conclusions. Instead of providing definitive answers to difficult questions, Jonathan aims to encourage increased awareness to help broaden perspectives as a way to spark curiosity and positive change.
Jonathan holds degrees in classical double bass performance (Bachelor of Music) from McGill University’s Schulich School of Music and in filmmaking (Masters of Fine Arts) from the top-rated University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.
Jonathan is the co-President of Magnetic North Pictures, a media company focused on creating socially-conscious content.
You can hear an interview below with Jonathan on WCLV Radio before the Cleveland International Film Festival world premiere.