Music History & Appreciation Courses & Classes in London

Build 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. Great works: Haydn's The Creation

    Course Date: Thu 2 Apr 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Explore Haydn’s famous oratorio The Creation (Die Schöpfung) (1797-8). Discover the way Haydn depicts the creation of the world using a biblical-based libretto written by Gottfried van Swieten.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  2. Great works: Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps

    Course Date: Fri 3 Apr 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    The Rite of Spring was extraordinary for Nijinsky’s choreography and also the music of Stravinsky, shockingly thrilling its Paris audience. This overwhelmingly original composition, since choreographed over 100 times, greatly repays further study.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  3. Music for film: a history

    Course Date: Mon 20 Apr 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Since the earliest silent films, music has been used for atmosphere, character and emotion. We examine the development of specialised film scores and composers for genres from art-house to blockbuster. Break week: 25 May (Bank holiday).
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £121.00

  4. Opera studies 3: operas in production

    Course Date: Mon 20 Apr 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    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 week: 25 May (Bank holiday).
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £121.00

  5. Haydn and London: a profitable partnership

    Course Date: Tue 21 Apr 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    In 1791, at the peak of his compositional powers, Haydn arrived in London, the musical capital of Europe. Come and explore the impact that the city and the composer had on each other using the music that Haydn wrote to mark his arrival. No previous knowledge necessary. Scheduled break week: 26 May 2020.
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £121.00

  6. Beethoven for beginners

    Course Date: Tue 21 Apr 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Ludwig van Beethoven’s music has come to stand for the greatest and best-known aspects of the Western classical tradition. But who was he? And what exactly did he do? Come and discover more about this most famous of Austro-German composers as we celebrate his 250th birthday in 2020. Tutor: Dr Katy Hamilton [external website]

    Ccheduled break week 26 May 2020.
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £121.00

  7. Fight the power: the 70s political soul renaissance

    Evening
    Course Date: Tue 21 Apr 2020
    Location on this date: International House
    FIGHT THE POWER! Learn how the Civil Rights movement, Black Power and urban unrest sparked a renaissance in late 60s/1970s soul music, producing landmark work by Curtis Mayfield, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott Heron. This course has a scheduled break: 26th May.
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £199.00
    Concession: £121.00

  8. Exploring classical music: module 3

    Course Date: Tue 21 Apr 2020 (and 1 other date)
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    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: 26th May 2020.
    Full fee: £169.00
    Senior fee: £135.00
    Concession: £103.00

  9. French music since 1900

    Course Date: Wed 22 Apr 2020
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Explore French art music in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will start by looking at familiar names like Debussy and Ravel and then explore modernist movements in France. This course has a scheduled break week: 27th May 2020.
    Full fee: £199.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £121.00

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

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