Music History & Appreciation Courses & Classes in London

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 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.
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  1. Czech stories: Dvorák and Janácek

    Course Date: Thu 23 Apr 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    In the generation after that first Czech nationalist, Bedrich Smetana, Antonín Dvorák and Leoš Janácek were key figures in developing a musical style which drew on the spoken language, stories and musical heritage of Bohemia and Moravia. We explore their careers and friendship, in particular through their operas and large-scale orchestral works. Break week: 28th May 2019.
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £121.00

  2. Beethoven piano sonatas 3

    Course Date: Fri 24 Apr 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    A history and score-study/analysis class for pianists/musicians of a grade 5+ standard in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Break week: 8 May (Bank holiday for 75th anniversary of VE Day).
    Full fee: £179.00
    Senior fee: £143.00
    Concession: £109.00

  3. A short history of jazz: Louis Armstrong to Miles Davis

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 3 May 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Trace the development of this influential music from its origins in New Orleans through to its remarkable, rapid evolution today, learning about the different styles of each era and key musical figures. N.b. no class on May 17th.
    Full fee: £89.00
    Senior fee: £89.00
    Concession: £54.00

  4. Album history 1: Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

    Course Date: Mon 6 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Learn the history of Bob Dylan’s hugely influential sixth album. Chart Dylan’s change from acoustic to rock – “going electric” and discuss the reception history and enduring appeal of his work. Tutor: Dr Toby Manning [external website].
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  5. Great works: Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra

    Course Date: Thu 9 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    ‘Freely after Nietzsche’ is the subtitle Strauss gave to his tone poem of 1896. Come along and explore the links in this work between philosophy and music.
    Full fee: £39.00
    Senior fee: £31.00
    Concession: £24.00

  6. Great musicians: Noël Coward

    Course Date: Fri 10 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Wit, performer, actor, writer, director and composer Noël Coward epitomised elegance and was the epitome of sophisticated Englishness for his generation. We investigate his life, work, successes and legacy. Prepare to be amused!
    Full fee: £39.00
    Senior fee: £31.00
    Concession: £24.00

  7. Great Works: Verdi's Requiem

    Course Date: Mon 13 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Verdi’s skills as an opera composer are strikingly deployed in the dramatic and emotional way he interprets the words of the funeral Mass, in 1874. Its power still resonates today.
    Full fee: £39.00
    Senior fee: £31.00
    Concession: £24.00

  8. Album history 2: Abbey Road (1969)

    Course Date: Mon 13 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Learn the history of The Beatles hugely influential eleventh album. The Beatles’ last recorded album, we will chart and discuss Abbey Road’s recording, reception, its context – the end of the 60s - and its enduring appeal. Tutor: Dr Toby Manning [external website].
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  9. Music history book club: The Time of Our Singing

    Course Date: Wed 15 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    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 focusses on classical singing.
    Full fee: £19.00
    Senior fee: £15.00
    Concession: £12.00

  10. Introduction to the music of Claude Debussy

    Course Date: Wed 15 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Debussy is one of the most recognisable early 20th century composers. His influence was far reaching. Come and explore several key works to find out what makes his style so distinctive, and his music so intoxicating.
    Full fee: £79.00
    Senior fee: £63.00
    Concession: £48.00

  11. Album history 3: The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

    Course Date: Mon 20 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Learn the history of Pink Floyd’s hugely successful and influential eighth album. Chart the commercialisation of progressive rock in this album and discuss the reception history and enduring appeal of this work. Tutor: Dr Toby Manning [external website].
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  12. Opera appreciation: an introduction

    Course Date: Mon 27 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    What is opera? And how do you approach it? Explore the ostentatious, sometimes overwhelming, world of opera through study of two major works and styles. Tutor: Pauline Greene [external website].
    Full fee: £49.00
    Senior fee: £39.00
    Concession: £30.00

  13. Classical music: an introduction

    Course Date: Tue 28 Jul 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Are you interested in finding out more about classical music but not sure where to start? This taster course will introduce you to the history of music through a careful choice of works.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  14. Wagner's Ring Cycle: an overview

    Course Date: Tue 4 Aug 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Wagner’s Ring Cycle is a mighty epic lasting many hours, full of armies of characters and multiple plot twists, not to mention the musical labels, or ‘leitmotifs,’ that Wagner assigns to various people and ideas throughout. This course is intended for those keen to learn about Wagner and the Ring, and navigate the action across its four constituent operas.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  15. Exploring classical music online

    Course Date: Tue 11 Aug 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    A world of music is available to you from the comfort of your own home, thanks to online platforms that both offer high-quality recordings of works – and provide you with information about composers and performers from the distant past to the present day. Come and discover how to access this wealth of material, and explore the musical insights it can provide, whether you are undertaking detailed research into a topic, or would simply like to find out a little more about the music you love.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

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