Music history - Keeley Street

Music History Courses in London and Online

City Lit offers an extensive programme of online music history and music appreciation courses with a focus on Western classical music, Folk, Jazz, Rock and Pop. There are new topics each year across a growing range of music styles and traditions.

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.

Our staff are all professional musicians who teach, write, broadcast, lecture and perform widely. In recent years they have worked with BBC Radio 3, Gramophone magazine, Birkbeck (University of London), The Open University, Oxford and Cambridge University Press, Early Music, The Orchestra of the age of Enlightenment, The Wigmore Hall and the Aldeburgh Festival.

Many of our students learn for pleasure but some also come to enhance their careers: recent examples include board members of music charities, marketing and administration professionals from orchestras and gap-year students considering university entrance.

Feel free to browse our programme and do email us at music@citylit.ac.uk with any questions.

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  1. Introduction to film music
    Course start date:  Mon 27 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    Music has always been an important part of film-going, filling the silence and creating sometimes startling effects. We will look at the way directors have used music to enhance, enrich and enthral audiences from cinema’s earliest days.
    Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00
    Rating:
    97% of 100
  2. Amy Beach: an introduction
    Course start date:  Thu 2 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Katy Hamilton




    In the last few decades of the nineteenth century, as American composers were starting to determine their own nationalist approach to art music, the brilliant pianist and composer Amy Beach was a hugely popular figure in US musical life – in defiance of her family and husband. Come and learn about this symphonist who offered her own ‘reply’ to Dvorák’s Symphony ‘From the New World’.
    Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00
  3. Great works: The Beggar's Opera
    Course start date:  Mon 3 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    Was this the first musical? Using popular song and opera tunes of the day, new satirical words poked fun at serious opera in this everyday tale of skulduggery among the criminal classes, with a charismatic but murderous hero.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
  4. Great works: Brahms's Clarinet Quintet
    Course start date:  Tue 4 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Karen Betley
    Explore this much-loved work by Brahms and learn about the performer and the instrument it was originally written for.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  5. Great works: Grieg's Piano Concerto
    Course start date:  Thu 6 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Katy Hamilton
    Grieg was just 24 years old when he wrote this, one of his best-loved works. We explore its genesis, early performances, and why it has remained such a popular work within the vast repertoire of nineteenth-century piano concertos.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  6. Exploring opera 3
    Course start date:  Mon 24 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    Join us to explore the history of opera over three enjoyable terms. In this third term we’ll explore Verdi, Wagner and the early 20th century. Break weeks: 01, 06 & 29 May 2023 (Bank holidays).
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  7. Exploring classical music: module 3
    Course start date:  Tue 25 Apr 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Edward Breen
    Do you want to know more about classical music history? Explore selected topics and key works in Romantic and modern music on this highly informative 10 week course. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. Please note this course has a mid-term break: 30 May 2023.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  8. Early music in the 20th century
    Course start date:  Tue 25 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Edward Breen
    Explore the early music pioneers of the 20th century. Learn about different approaches in each genre and unpick some of the arguments about ‘authenticity’ and ‘historically informed performance’ with instruments and voices. Scheduled break week 30 May 2023.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
  9. The music of the Ballet Russes
    Course start date:  Tue 25 Apr 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Edward Henderson
    Get to know the music used and commissioned by the Ballet Russes from 1909-1929. This fascinating moment takes us from the 19th century Russian music of Borodin, Rimsky Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, through controversial neo-primitive like the Rite of Spring to the cool neoclassicism of Satie, Milhaud, Poulenc and Stravinsky. Break week: 30 May 2023.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
  10. Exploring classical music: module 2
    Course start date:  Tue 17 Jan 2023 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Neil Luck
    Do you want to know more about classical music history? Explore selected topics and key works in Baroque to Classical music on this highly informative 10 week course. Ideal for people with no specialist knowledge. This course has a scheduled break week: 21 February 2023.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  11. Great works: Stravinsky's Les Noces
    Course start date:  Wed 19 Jul 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Trish Shaw
    Why is Stravinsky's Les Noces still considered such an important work a century after its first performance by the Ballets Russes in Paris in June 1923? Come and discover how this work was conceived and created, and its impact on music and dance in the 20th century.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
  12. Great artists: Enrico Caruso
    Course start date:  Mon 24 Jul 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    Caruso, born 200 years ago, was not only a stupendous singer but also a best-selling recording artiste. We find out how he became the first modern superstar tenor.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £29.00
  13. Exploring opera 2
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Mon 16 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    Join us to explore the history of opera over three enjoyable terms. In this second term we’ll explore the innovations of Mozart, the impact of the French Revolution and the early Romantics. This course has a scheduled break week: 20 February 2023.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  14. Introduction to musicals
    Course start date:  Mon 16 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Pauline Greene
    From Showboat to Hamilton, this course surveys some key examples from the history of the modern musical and examines the way different styles of music, dance and words work on stage.
    Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00
    Rating:
    87% of 100
  15. Exploring classical music: module 4
    Course start date:  Tue 17 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Edward Henderson
    This course offers a (very) brief history of Western art music during the 20th century. Suitable for classical music enthusiasts as well as near beginners. Each week we will look at a key work of classical music from the twentieth century and use it as a jumping off point to discuss the important historical and aesthetic developments that affected composition in the modern era. Break week: 14 Feb 2023.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100

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