12 yrs and up - $175.00 - 14 week course – No Prerequisite 

Music History of the Western World is offered in two parts, each a term in length. Students will listen in class to the works of the masters, spanning the centuries. Through reading, the use of audio, and visual activities and exercises, students will experience the historical processes by which musical styles grow, develop, mature, and decline.

Lesson 1: Romantic Opera – Italian Opera

Lesson 2: Grand Opera – Opera in Germany and France

Lesson 3: The Russians and Nationalism; 1860-1920

Lesson 4: Russian Opera

Lesson 5: Austro-German Tradition; Early 20th Century

Lesson 6: End of the Romantic Era in England and France 1880-1920

Lesson 7: European Mainstream in the 20th Century

Lesson 8: Modernity: Avant Garde and Neoclassicism 

Lesson 9: Music in America

Lesson 10: American Musical Theater and the Operetta

Lesson 11: Atonality, Twelve-Tone, and Serial Music

Lesson 12: Music after 1945

Lesson 13: Film Music

Lesson 14: Review 

Lesson 1: Romantic Opera - Italian Opera 

Opera in the Nineteenth Century -Read section "Italy in the First Half the 19th Century"
Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

Listen: Italian Opera Playlist

  • Rossini: William Tell, "Overture"; Barber of Seville, "Overture"; Barber of Seville, "Figaro"; Stabat Mater Dolorosa
  • Verdi: La Traviata, "Libiamo ne lieti calici"; La Traviata, "Sempre Libera"; Aida,"Triumphal March"; Rigoletto, "La Donna e Mobile"
  • Puccini: La Boheme, "Si, mi chiamano Mimi"; La Bohome, "O Soave Fanciulla"; Manon Lescaut, "Intermezzo"; Tosca, "E lucevan le stelle"; Turandot, "Signore, ascolta"
  • Umberto Giordano (1867-1948): Andrea Chenier, "La Momma Morta"; Andrea Chenier, "Come un bel di maggio"  

Lesson 2: Grand Opera - Opera in Germany and France

Grand Opera
Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864)
Georges Bizet (1838-1875)
Carl Maria Von Weber (1786-1826)
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

Listen: Grand Opera Playlist

  • Meyerbeer: Les Huguenots, "Finale"
  • Bizet: Carmen, "Los Toreadors"; Carmen, "Habenera"
  • Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880): Orpheus in the Underworld, "Can Can"; Los Contes de Hoffman, "Barcarolle"
  • von Weber: Die Freischutz, "Huntsmen's Chorus"; Oberon, "Overture"
  • Wagner: Tristan und Isolde, "Overture"; Tristan und Isolde, "O Konig, das kann ich dir nacht sagen"; Tannhauser, "Overture"; Die Walkure, "Ride of the Valkyries"  

 Lesson 3: The Russians and Nationalism; 1860-1920

Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century
The Kutchka (The Five)
Alexandr Boradin (1833-1887)
Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakoff (1844-1908)
Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)
Alexandre Glazunov (1865-1936)

Listen: The Russians Playlist

  • Boradin: Prince Igor, "Overture"; "In the Steppes of Central Asia"; String Quartet No. 2, III. "Notturno"
  • Rimsky-Korsakoff: Scheherazade, Movement 4; Fantasia on Russian Themes, Op. 33
  • Mussorsky: Pictures at an Exhibition, "Promenade"; Night on Bald Mountain Mussorsky: The Great Gate at Kiev
  • Glazunov: Seasons, "Spring"; Saxaphone Concerto in E flat major; Symphony No. 4 in Eb Major, Op. 48, "Andante. Allegro moderato" 

Lesson 4: Russian Opera

Russian Opera
Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857)

Listen: Russian Opera Playlist

  • Glinka: A Life for the Tsar, "Overture"; A Life for the Tsar, Act 4: "Sobinin's Aria"
  • Alexandr Boradin: Prince Igor, "Polovtsian Dances"; Prince Igor, "Cavatina: "Slowly the day died away", «Медленно день угасал»"
  • Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakoff: Sadko, "Song of the Venetian Guest"
  • Modest Mussorgsky: Boris Gudonov, "Coronation Scene"
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin, "Lensky's Aria"; Eugene Onegin, "Letter Scene"
  • Igor Stravinsky: The Nightingale, "Song of the Nightingale"
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Act 1, Scene 3

Lesson 5: Austro-German Tradition; Early 20th Century

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)
Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

Listen: Austro-German Tradition Playlist

  • Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Third Mvt.; Symphony No. 5, "Adagietto"
  • Bruckner: Mass in E minor, "Kyrie" and "Agnus Dei"; Symphony No. 8, Mvt. 4. "Finale"
  • Strauss: Don Juan, "Allegro molto con brio"; Tod und Verklarung, pt. 1; Four Last Songs, "Beim Schlafengehen" 

 Lesson 6: End of the Romantic Era in England and France 1880-1920

Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)
Gabriel Faure (1845-1924)
Jules Massanet (1842-1912)
Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Frederick Delius (1862-1934)

Listen: End of the Romantic Era in England and France Playlist

  • Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3, "Organ" Symphony, "Maestoso"; Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, "Allegro non troppo"
  • Faure: Violin Sonata No. 1 in A, "Allegro Molto"; Requiem, Introit and Kyrie; Cantique de Jean Racine
  • Massanet: Manon, "Adeiu notre petit table"; Thais, "Mediation"
  • Elgar: Enigma Variations on an Original Theme, Nos. 1-8
  • Delius: Florida Suite I, "By the River"

 Lesson 7: European Mainstream in the 20th Century

Impressionism Movement
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958)
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1946)
Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915)

Listen: European Mainstream Playlist

  • Debussy: Arabesque No. 1; Prelude to the Afternoon with a Faun
  • Ravel: Pavane for a Dead Princess; Daphnis et Chloe, "Daybreak"
  • Williams: Lark Ascending; Fantasy on a Theme by Thomas Tallis; Symphony No. 2, "London"; Mvt. 2, "Lento"
  • Sibelius: Symphony No. 4, "Allegro"
  • Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in E minor, "Allegro Moderato", part 1; Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor; Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, No. 18
  • Scriabin: Etude in A flat Major 

 Lesson 8: Modernity: Avant Garde and Neoclassicism

The Music of Modernity
The Concept of Harmony through History
Erik Satie (1866-1925)
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Prokofiev and his Classical Symphony
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Bela Bartok (1881-1945)

Listen: Modernity Playlist

  • Satie: Gnossienne No. 1, "Lent"
  • Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, "Danse des adolescents"; Ragtime
  • Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, "Dance of the Knights"; Symphony No. 1 in D Major, "Classical Symphony"
  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5, "Allegretto"; Violin Concerto No. 1, "Scherzo"
  • Bartok: Concerto No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra 

Lesson 9: Music in America

Charles Ives (1874-1954)
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Gershwin (1898-1937)

Listen: Music in America Playlist

  • Ives: Variations on "America"; String Quartet No. 2, "Arguments"
  • Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man; Rodeo, "Hoedown"; Appalachian Spring, "Simple Gifts"
  • Barber: Violin Concerto No. 1, "Allegro"; Adagio for Strings
  • Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F, "Allegro" 

Lesson 10: American Musical Theater and the Operetta

Gilbert and Sullivan
Victor Herbert (1859-1924)
Sigmund Romberg (1887-1951)

Listen: Operetta and Musical Theater Playlist

  • Gilbert and Sullivan: Pirates of Penzance, "The Very Model of a Modern Major General"; Pirates of Penzance, "It Doesn't Really Matter"
  • Johann Strauss, Jr.: Die Fledermaus, "Mein Herr Marquis"
  • Herbert: Naughty Marietta, "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life"; Naughty Marietta, "Owl and Bobcat"
  • Romberg: The Student Prince, "I'll Walk With God"; New Moon, "Stouthearted Men"

American Musical Theater
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)


  • George S. Cohan:Yankee Doodle Dandy "Give My Regards to Broadway"
  • Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II: Show Boat "Ol' Man River"
  • George Gershwin: An American in Paris "Tra La La"
  • Cole Porter:  Anything Goes "Anything Goes"
  • Saul Chaplin and Gene de Paul: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers "Sobbin' Women"
  • Bernstein: On the Town "On the Town"
  • Sondheim and Bernstein: West Side Story "Tonight" 

 Lesson 11: Atonality, Twelve-Tone, and Serial Music

The Twelve Tone Method
Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Alban Berg (1885-1935)
Anton Webern (1883-1945)
Milton Babbitt (1916-2011)

Listen: Atonality; Twelve Tone Playlist

  • Schoenberg: Pierrot Lunaire, Set 1
  • Berg: Chamber Concerto for Piano and Violin, "Theme scherzoso con variazioni"; Wozzek
  • Webern: Piano Variations; Cantata No. 2, Mvts. 4-5: 4) Leichteste Bürden der Bäume (Sehr lebhaft), 5) Freundselig ist das Wort (Sehr mässig)
  • Babbitt: Aria Da Capo, Part 1 (of 2); Correspondences

Chance Music
John Cage (1912-1992)


  • Cage: Music of Changes, Book I 

Lesson 12: Music after 1945

Olivier Messiaen (1909-1992)
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
Krzysztof Penderecki (1933- )
Henryk Gorecki (1933-2010)
Phillip Glass (1937-)

Listen: Music after 1945 Playlist

  • Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time, "Dance of Fury"; Vingt Regards sur L'Enfant Jesus, 1-11
  • Britten: Rejoice in the Lamb; Peter Grimes, Sea Interludes, "Storm"
  • Penderecki: Stabat Mater
  • Gorecki: Symphony No. 3, "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" Lento e largo - tranquilissimo
  • Glass: Symphony No. 3, Mvt. 3 

Lesson 13: Film Music

Classical Music and Film
Richard Wagner and Film Music

Listen: Music in Film Playlist

  • Max Steiner: Gone With the Wind, "Main Title"
  • Aaron Copland: The Red Pony, "Morning at the Ranch"
  • Nino Rota: The Godfather, "Main Theme"
  • Ennio Morricone: Once Upon a Time in the West, "Main Theme"
  • Vangelis: Chariots of Fire, "Main Theme"
  • John Williams: Star Wars, "Main Theme"
  • Hans Zimmer: Gladiator, "Main Theme"
  • James Horner: Glory, "End Credits"
  • Philip Glass: The Illusionist, "Main Theme"
  • Michael Nyman: The Piano, "The Promise"
  • James Newton Howard: The Village, "The Gravel Road"
  • Howard Shore: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, "End of All Things"
  • Thomas Newman: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, "The Letter That Never Came"