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. Music in fin-de-siècle Paris

    Course Date: Thu 23 Apr 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Paris in the late 19th and early 20th centuries acted as a musical magnet, attracting to it composers as diverse as Debussy, Stravinsky and Gershwin. Join us as we explore the music of those who were unable to resist that powerful pull of Paris. No previous knowledge necessary. Scheduled break week: 28 May 2020.
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £121.00

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  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. 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

  9. 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

  10. Bob Dylan: an introduction to his music

    Course Date: Fri 1 Nov 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Explore the impact that Bob Dylan has had on popular music with a special focus on the 1960s. Through analysis of his songs and a history of the 1960s we will see how his influence extends beyond the American folk music revival.
    Full fee: £99.00
    Senior fee: £79.00
    Concession: £60.00

  11. Great works: Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld

    Course Date: Thu 5 Dec 2019
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld presents us with a snapshot of the political and cultural world of Paris in the 19th century. Come and delve into this satirical sound world!
    Full fee: £39.00
    Senior fee: £31.00
    Concession: £24.00

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