Music History Courses in London and Online

City Lit offers an extensive programme of music history courses with a focus on Western classical music, Folk, Jazz, Rock and Pop. There are new topics each year and some are designed to coincide with anniversaries, festivals and events. This year we celebrate 250 years since the birth of Beethoven.

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 our 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.

Many of our courses are delivered online. For more information about our live online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

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  1. Queer music history & LGBT composers: an introduction

    Evening
    Course Date: Mon 8 Feb 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    An introduction to LGBT composers/music makers as well as an introduction to the development of queer musicology. Your tutor will guide you through a review of music throughout history from the standpoint of the LGBTQIA+ community. Covering composers who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, from classical to popular genres, medieval to present day.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £129.00
    Senior fee: £129.00
    Concession: £79.00

  2. Great works: Allegri's Miserere

    Evening
    Course Date: Tue 16 Feb 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Explore the history of this most famous choral work and trace the story of the famous high C from the castrati of the 18th century to today’s professional early music vocal ensembles.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £29.00
    Concession: £18.00

  3. Great Jazz composers

    Course Date: Fri 19 Feb 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Explore five famous Jazz composers and learn to identify key features of their style. This short course will help you refresh and expand your listening.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £109.00
    Senior fee: £87.00
    Concession: £66.00

  4. Introduction to chamber music

    Course Date: Mon 22 Feb 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    What is chamber music and what do we expect from its composers and performers? By looking at a variety of music from around 1750 we will explore some of its defining aspects and delights. Tutor: Pauline Greene [external website].

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £109.00
    Senior fee: £87.00
    Concession: £66.00

  5. Five great dancers

    Course Date: Fri 26 Feb 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    What? Only five?? Choosing just five great dancers to discuss seems to be impossible, and the choice very wide. Come and enjoy five wonderful exponents of differing styles, ages, and impact - all of them brilliant!

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £109.00
    Senior fee: £87.00
    Concession: £66.00

  6. Music history book club

    Course Date: Mon 12 Apr 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    The music history book club meets towards the end of each term to discuss novels and biography with musical themes and references relevant to the music history programme. This term’s book; Music Ho! (Constant Lambert).

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £19.00
    Senior fee: £15.00
    Concession: £12.00

  7. Great works: Ravel's Boléro

    Evening
    Course Date: Wed 14 Apr 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Explore the ideas behind one of the most famous works of the twentieth century, and some of its many interpretations. Be entranced anew by this hypnotic work.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £29.00
    Concession: £18.00

  8. Great works: Dvorák's Symphony No 8

    Course Date: Thu 15 Apr 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    We may consider Antonín Dvorák to be one of the greatest Czech composers of the nineteenth century – but then why was the sunny Eighth Symphony published, and given some of its earliest performances, in England? We explore this grand work, written at the height of Dvorák’s fame, and his fruitful relationship with the British musical world.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  9. Topics in Medieval music

    Evening
    Course Date: Mon 19 Apr 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Study Western music written during the middle ages. Beginning with the fall of the western Roman Empire in the 5th century and ending in the early 15th century, we'll explore music for church, banquet and dance. Break weeks: 3rd & 31st May 2021 (Bank holidays).

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £169.00
    Senior fee: £169.00
    Concession: £103.00

  10. Opera studies 3: operas in production

    Course Date: Mon 19 Apr 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Take a look at operas coming up in the 2020-21 season, and at standard operatic repertoire. Discuss their composition, context, controversies and style, and then hear the story of the opera through musical examples. Break weeks: 3rd & 31st May 2021 (Bank holidays).

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £209.00
    Senior fee: £167.00
    Concession: £127.00

  11. Great string quartets

    Course Date: Mon 19 Apr 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    String quartets developed new musical forms and ensured success for many composers, whilst allowing an intimate conversation with their audiences. We trace the quartets of the masters from Haydn and Mozart to Shostakovich and beyond. Break weeks: 3rd & 31st May 2021 (Bank holidays).

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £209.00
    Senior fee: £167.00
    Concession: £127.00

  12. British folk music: a rough guide

    Evening
    Course Date: Tue 20 Apr 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Explore the recent history of British folk music and discuss some of the key performing artists on this overview course. This course has a scheduled break week: 8 June 2021.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £209.00
    Senior fee: £209.00
    Concession: £127.00

  13. Robert Schumann in focus

    Course Date: Tue 20 Apr 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    We follow the turbulent career of failed pianist and idiosyncratic composer, Robert Schumann – from his early piano and vocal compositions to later orchestral and chamber works, and even a full-scale opera. Scheduled break week 01 Jun 2021.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £209.00
    Senior fee: £167.00
    Concession: £127.00

  14. Fin-de-siècle Vienna

    Course Date: Tue 20 Apr 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Vienna in the late 19th and early 20th centuries acted as a musical magnet, attracting to it composers as diverse as Mahler, Schoenberg and Richard Strauss. Join us as we explore the music of those who were living and working in Vienna at this time, and the ideas that influenced them.

    No previous knowledge necessary. Scheduled break week: 01 June 2021.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £209.00
    Senior fee: £167.00
    Concession: £127.00

  15. Exploring classical music: module 3

    Course Date: Tue 20 Apr 2021 (and 2 other dates)
    Location on this date: Online
    Enrich your understanding of music history. This module explores the 19th century to the present. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. This course has a scheduled break week: 1st June 2021.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £169.00
    Senior fee: £135.00
    Concession: £103.00

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