Upcoming, June, 2013: SF EMS: “Vivaldi and the Venetians” course


Although Classical Music holds a place of honor in Western culture, it is also one of the most potentially intimidating and least understood art forms. I believe that understanding the context of a piece of music can enhance the audience’s enjoyment, and that it can also whet the appetite for further encounters with Classical Music.

Classical Music lights me on fire – it is my personal passion. I use humor and anecdotes to help deepen the understanding of the music as well as humanize the lives and experiences of composers. I never tell other listeners how they should feel about the music, because I believe the best part of experiencing a work of art is one’s own informed personal response to it.

I think of these composers as part of my extended, eccentric musical family, and it would be my pleasure to introduce you to their works, their quirks and their inspirations.

I give lectures about music, composers, and specific works of art throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and other places by arrangement. Feel free to contact me for details.

In my lectures/discussions I usually accompany audiences on music journeys in two basic ways:


If a group is going to attend a concert, I can design a program to explore and illustrate the pieces they are about to hear, using the following questions as departure points:

  • What makes this music typical of its time?
  • What makes it unusual, or even revolutionary?
  • What was happening at the time the piece was written?

(Visit the Philharmonia Baroque Podcast links, on the Links page.)



I enjoy creating lectures/discussion around the particular needs or interests of a group. These can either be in the form of a series of lectures or a single lecture. Below is a sample of the topics I might cover:

  • A history of the symphony
  • Sacred music through the ages
  • History of opera
  • Women in music, an untold story
  • ‘Where high and low meet’ the relationship between classical and folk music
  • Musical Mishaps
  • Musical deaths
  • The instruments of the orchestra
  • The history of classical music in the United States
  • Composers’ lives: myth and fact
  • ‘From servant to genius’: the changing role of the musician in Europe throughout the centuries
  • The history of the Piano
  • What is humor in music?
  • A history of audiences: who went to concerts and how did they behave
  • Classical music in films and films on classical music
  • The many faces of contemporary classical music
  • Musical Monarchs: the kings and queens of Europe and their musical passions and abilities
  • The razor sharp musical wit of George Bernard Shaw

Copyright 2005 -- 2013, page updated: Wednesday, June 12, 2013

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