Romantic Brahms

1 day, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

The young Brahms

From his beginnings as a tavern piano player to his final appearance receiving ovations after every piece, Brahms was a man of contrasts. Never marrying but loving Clara Schumann all his life, writing in the late Romantic period but influenced by Classical composers, the unique beauty of his music can be grand and stirring, intimate and expressive, or bold and vibrant. This course examines the life and works of Brahms, in historical and social context, richly illustrated with music, paintings and photographs. No musical knowledge is necessary.

Course Outline

Session 1

  • What do we think of when we think of Brahms?
  • Brahms’ place in music history
  • Europe in the Romantic period
  • Brahms’ musical style
  • Brahms’ Lullaby: Cradle Song

Session 2

  • Childhood in Hamburg
  • Brahms’ music education
  • Early compositions for piano
  • Professional pianist
  • Brahms on the road: touring with Eduard Remenyi
  • Brahms meets Liszt and the Schumanns
  • Brahms’ love for Clara Schumann

Session 3

  • Hamburg and Vienna
  • Agathe von Siebold
  • Julie Schumann, daughter of Clara
  • The Alto Rhapsody
  • The piano music of Brahms
  • The German Requiem

Session 4

  • Brahms in his later years
  • Awards and adulation
  • The four symphonies
  • The Violin Concerto
  • Late chamber music and piano music
Book cover, Romantic Brahms

Buy the course notes for this class

In hard copy book form, through Lulu Press
$18 + postage


“The tutor is well organised so that the course flows seamlessly and more extensive than may be expected. She does her homework so you get much more than you anticipate. Thoroughly informative and enjoyable”

“Susan is an excellent presenter, very knowledgeable and sensitive to her audience”

“Excellent speaker, knowledgeable and logical in presentation. Well prepared”

“I am familiar with Susan Deas’ style of lecturing and find it helpful and instructive. Her interpretations of musical examples are particularly good”

“All excellent”

“Have Susan continue in providing these type of courses, she has a good, friendly, casual attitude with sound knowledge”

“Wonderful to learn the background of composers that we hear and learn to love and admire”

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

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Susan's other music courses