Beethoven for beginners

Course Dates: 21/04/20 - 30/06/20
Time: 10:50 - 13:00
Location: Online

Ludwig van Beethoven’s music has come to stand for the greatest and best-known aspects of the Western classical tradition. But who was he? And what exactly did he do? Come and discover more about this most famous of Austro-German composers as we celebrate his 250th birthday in 2020. Tutor: Dr Katy Hamilton [external website]

Ccheduled break week 26 May 2020.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

This course is intended for explorers of classical music who want to know more about Beethoven’s life and some of his most important works. We’ll trace his career from his early years in Bonn to his later life in Vienna, and gradual international fame. We’ll also explore various pieces, from symphonies and string quartets to opera and piano sonatas, to give you a taste of his changing musical style and technical innovations.

This is a live online face-to-face course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- Beethoven’s musical world: concert life in Vienna, and the place of professional musicians during his lifetime
- His connection with Mozart and Haydn, both important mentors and influences on his own music
- Some of his radical innovations which took musical forms in a new direction in the early 1800s
- His personal life and political leanings, and the gradual onset of his deafness which began in his thirties
- His legacy as one of the first Romantic composers, and how he was to inspire – and intimidate – other composers for the rest of the nineteenth century.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- List the key genres in which Beethoven composed
- Summarise the major compositional developments he explored in his work
- List some of his most important compositions
- Describe the musical culture of his time, and his relationship with other composers and performers.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

No prior knowledge of the subject is required. You do not need to read music to take this course (although we will look at music notation for time-to-time). You will be asked to do some reading in class and between sessions.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Tutor presentation and explanation, including handouts, powerpoint slides or writing on a whiteboard
Guided listening and watching of audio and audio-visual examples
Class discussion and debate
Listening and reading outside class is encouraged and once enrolled further online resources will be recommended.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring a notebook and pen.
You may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

To find out more about music history classes and to read our year-long selection of courses, please see the blog post Music history: your guide to the 2019/20 programme which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.

Tutor Biographies
Katy Hamilton Tutor Website

Dr Katy Hamilton is a freelance researcher, writer and presenter on music. She is fast becoming one of the UK’s most sought-after speakers on music, providing talks for a host of organisations including the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, BBC Proms, Ryedale Festival and Oxford Lieder Festival. In addition, she regularly writes programme notes for the Salzburg Festival, North Norfolk Festival and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 3’s Record Review. Katy worked as Graham Johnson’s research assistant for his monumental Franz Schubert: The Songs and their Poets (Yale University Press, 2014) and is co-editor of Brahms in the Home and the Concert Hall (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and Brahms in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2019). In addition to her research and presentation work, Katy has taught at the Royal College of Music, City Lit, the University of Nottingham and Middlesex University, working with students in performance workshops and music history classes. She has been teaching Music History courses at City Lit since 2015. She is also Public Events Programmer at the Foundling Museum in central London.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

This course has now finished

Course Code: MD036C

Finished Tue, day, 21 Apr - 30 Jun '20

Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £199.00
Senior fee: £159.00
Concession: £121.00

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.