Another Eight Great Composers

2 hours a week for 8 weeks

Handel composing

Why does history remember some composers more than others? What is it about the music of some composers that continues to appeal to us? In this course we look at Handel, Haydn, Schubert, Chopin, Brahms, Puccini, Vaughan Williams and George Gershwin – eight more of the greatest composers of classical music. Each week we’ll examine the historical and social background and musical style of one composer in detail, and consider some of their greatest works.

Course Outline

Session 1: Handel

  • Background: The Baroque Period
  • Handel’s life: Germany, Italy, England
  • Handel’s Musical Style
  • Listening includes: Messiah, Fireworks Music, Water Music, Zadok the Priest

Session 2: Haydn

  • Background: The Classical Period
  • Rohrau, Vienna, Esterházy, London
  • Haydn’s Musical Style
  • Listening includes: The Emperor Quartet, The Surprise Symphony, The Creation

Session 3: Schubert

  • Background: The Late Classical Period
  • Chorister, teacher, performer, composer
  • Schubert’s Musical Style
  • Listening includes: The Trout, Erlkonig, The Unfinished Symphony

Session 4: Chopin

  • Background: The Romantic Period
  • Chopin’s life: Poland, Paris
  • Chopin’s Musical Style
  • Listening includes: The Nocturnes, the Revolutionary Etude, the Minute Waltz

Session 5: Brahms

  • Background: The Romantic Period
  • Hamburg, Vienna
  • Brahms’s Musical Style
  • Listening includes: The German Requiem, The Haydn Variations, the Academic Festival Overture

Session 6: Puccini

  • Background: The Romantic Period
  • Lucca, Milan, Torre del Lago, America
  • Puccini’s Musical Style
  • Listening includes: Madama Butterfly, La Boheme, Turandot

Session 7: Vaughan Williams

  • Background: The Late Romantic Period
  • Cambridge, Berlin, Paris, London
  • Vaughan Williams’ Musical Style
  • Listening includes: Fantasia on Greensleeves, The Lark Ascending, Linden Lea

Session 8: George Gershwin

  • Background: The Twentieth Century
  • Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, Hollywood
  • Gershwin’s Musical Style
  • Listening includes: Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, Porgy and Bess
Book cover Another Eight Great Composers

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“Susan is an outstanding lecturer. Her preparation is excellent – painstaking research followed by clear, concise presentation. A rare combination”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course”

“Susan is extremely knowledgeable and is a very enthusiastic teacher. A thoroughly enjoyable course”

“Teacher is beautifully well organised, coherent and completely reliable – all much appreciated”

“Very careful preparation – always trying to show exactly what was important in each composer’s compositions”

“An entertaining, informative presentation by Susan who has sound technical knowledge of her subject. The preparation for her lectures was greatly appreciated and must have taken some time. Well done”

“Thoroughly enjoyable – a good selection of music and entertaining anecdotes about the composersers. (Also Susan presented the course with good humour)”

“Very good. Having piano played to explain things excellent”

“Susan is such a delight. She’s always meticulously prepared, really well organised and has a lively delivery. She also has a lovely friendly manner and gives of herself to create a positive energy in the classroom. She uses an array of audio visuals, all very professional. She’s an asset”

“Susan is an inspiring person who makes her subject of expertise fascinating, entertaining and great fun. Her teaching style is impeccable”

About Susan Deas

Susan Deas is a professional musician, lecturer and teacher. She has been teaching music appreciation courses for more than twenty years, through Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education, WEA Sydney and at other venues. Her training includes a Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance (Piano) and Musicology, a Master of Music Studies (Studio Pedagogy), a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), and an A.Mus.A in Musicianship. Susan teaches piano and music theory to adults and children, and plays piano and organ at various venues around Sydney. Susan is an accredited piano teacher and musicianship teacher, and is on the Council of the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW.

More about Susan’s qualifications

Read what people have said about Susan’s other courses

Susan’s other music courses