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Music appreciation classes

Join us for a selection of classes open to adults and students. Feel free to invite friends and family from near and far to see our offerings and register! Register here.

Classes are led by conductors Russell Ger, Jonathan Yates, and Jessica McNamara

“Song of Thanksgiving” - Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132  Monday, November 15, 8 pm

Beethoven spent much of his life suffering from severe gastrointestinal issues. But this time was different. Normally, he just pushed through the pain, but halfway through his latest string quartet, a commission from a Russian Prince, he went to bed and lay there fully expecting to die. But a miracle happened: he got better. And so, interpolated into the heart of this quartet is a seventeen minute (!) hymn of gratitude, which he titles A Holy Song of Thanksgiving. Come and explore this beautiful, stirring, and uplifting work with conductor Russell Ger; it is certain to create the perfect tone and mindset for the forthcoming holiday.     

 

1000 Years of Music in 60 Minutes! Tuesday, January 11, 8 pm

Have you ever wondered what people mean when they talk about Romantic or Baroque music? Did Mozart and Tchaikovsky ever have brunch together? Making sense of music history can sometimes seem as esoteric as paleontology.  NYS Concert Orchestra conductor Russell Ger guided us through the whole past millennium of music in mere minutes. As the musical history unfolds, his audience came to understand how this whole intricate puzzle has contributed to the music we listen to and enjoy today. 

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: Crash Course in Wagner Tuesday, February 15, 8 pm

It has been said that Wagner lovers are the SEAL-Team-6 of opera goers. This is because the perception of Wagner is of being very long and intimidating. But I am here to declare that this need not be the case! There is extraordinary gentleness and beauty to be found, as well as mind blowing feats of genius. So, with Russell Ger as your tour guide, come and dive in without fear into the wide world of Wagner. 

Berlioz: The Fantastic Voyage Wednesday, March 30, 8 pm

In 1830, the fiery Frenchman, Hector Berlioz composed a piece that shocked the world. The so-called symphony lurched madly from manic delirium to plaintive melancholy, from tranquility to turbulence, and most of all it had a story! A symphony that told a specific and explicit story was unheard of. Blazing a trail that would influence composers for the rest of time, Berlioz was a true revolutionary. With Russell Ger as your tour-guide, come and explore the fascinating true story of art-imitating-life that inspired this wild ride.

Beethoven Symphonies Series

Beethoven’s symphonies are arguably the most important set of works every written in classical music. These nine masterpieces not only defined the genre of the symphony, but how all composers who followed Beethoven would express themselves when they were writing for the orchestra. Music Director Jonathan Yates takes a deep dive into four of the most audacious Beethoven symphonies, giving insight both into the compositions themselves and what was going on in this remarkable man’s life that shaped them.

Beethoven Symphony No. 1 in C Major

Tuesday, January 18, 8 pm

 

Beethoven Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major “Eroica”

Tuesday, February 7,  8 pm

 

Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C Minor

Tuesday, March 8, 8 pm

 

Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in D minor

Tuesday, April 5, 8 pm

Developing Intrinsic Motivation In Your Young Musician Tuesday, February 1, 8 pm
Led by NYS Conductor Jessica McNamara, this session will help parents move from, "Mom, if I practice for 30 minutes can I have this chocolate?" to "Mom...I'll be in my room practicing for the chamber group that I just formed with my friends!" A conductor, a teacher and a mother, McNamara will share her techniques to nurture and motivate your young musicians to develop productive, enjoyable practice habits.

As parents, we have all used extrinsic motivators to encourage our children to take certain actions, e.g.”If you clean your room, you can have 30 minutes of screen time.” While these motivators certainly have their place in parenting, we can all agree that it would be preferable for our children to be self-motivated, for example, to clean their room on their own. When we signed up our child for music lessons, we envisioned them happily taking out their instrument on their own accord to play for enjoyment or to express themselves. The reality of music practice, however, is often more parent-driven than most of us imagined. Drawing on current research in the fields of motivation, grit, mindset and habits, Jessica’s talk will give parents concrete strategies to help children develop intrinsic motivation in music.