Sophia Alexandra Hall, Classic FM, October 4, 2021
German singer, Roberto Blanco, has called on the Mayor of Vienna to exhume Beethoven’s body for a racial DNA test.
The request is the latest in an over century old debate about the ethnicity of the German-born classical music giant. Beethoven died in Vienna in 1827, and Blanco addresses the city’s Mayor in a public YouTube video. He states his reasoning for the ask is ‘so that we can see if he looks more like you or me.’
Blanco, who is of Afro-Cuban origin, was born in Tunisia, before moving to Germany and becoming a singer in the early 50s.
While the question of Beethoven’s race has been in question for over a century, the theory regarding his ethnicity resurfaced in 2015.
A student-run Minnesota newspaper, The Concordian, had suggested a “white-washing” of the composer’s legacy, citing descriptions of the composer as having a “wide, thick-lipped mouth, short, thick nose, and proudly arched forehead”.
Most records state that Beethoven’s genealogy was Flemish; however, those who champion the racial theory, suggest that his mother, Maria Magdalena, was of Moorish descent.