Music Appreciation


At the Community School of Performing Arts, understanding where music originated is as important as learning the music itself. With history and music appreciation classes, learn from knowledgeable faculty about composers, musical eras, and everything between.

Expression and Innovation: Western Classical Music between the World Wars

Ages 15–Adult

Join the Conservatory of Music’s Chair of Music History and Literature Kristi Brown-Montesano for an exploration of the music of the interwar period (1919—1939), an era which witnessed an astonishing variety of aesthetic and stylistic developments in western Classical music.

These creatively rich decades—bookended by two cataclysmic World Wars—inspired composers to innovate, look more closely at their national identity, and explore “popular” genres and new types of sounds. Students will delve into the historical context, guided listening, and aesthetic ideals of particular works and related arts.

This 6-week course will explore 6 stylistic “worlds”:

  • Neo-classicism and jazz-inspired works in Paris
  • The “new objectivity” and Gebrauchsmusik of the Weimar Republic
  • The lyrical 12-tone works of Viennese composer Alban Berg
  • The Harlem Renaissance and William Grant Still’s American symphonies
  • Early electronic concert music featuring the Theremin and Ondes Martenot
  • The ideas of “Socialist Realism” which both inspired and paralyzed Shostakovich and Prokofiev during the 1930s

This course is intended to deepen appreciation for all levels of musicianship; an ability to read music is not required.

January 30–March 6, 2021
Saturdays, 11 am–12:15 pm