'From the New World': European Composers in America

Ref: C2342491

From the late 19th century onwards, many European composers visited the USA for significant periods, and some settled there permanently. Dvořák directed the National Conservatory of Music, New York, for three years. Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Bartók and Martinů were escaping from difficult political situations, and established close working relationships with American orchestras. Refugees from racial persecution included Erich Korngold, who more or less established the typical orchestral sound of Hollywood film soundtracks, and Kurt Weill, who composed seminal works in the history of the Broadway musical. Britten went looking for fresh opportunities, but then decided to return home. Milhaud and Hindemith became respected teachers. We shall look at how the various experiences of these and other composers enriched their own music, and what they contributed to American music in return.

Course aim

Join us to explore the work of some of the many European composers who either settled in the USA or spent significant periods of time there, such as Dvořák, Rachmaninov and Britten, and discover how their music was enriched by the encounter.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify six European composers who spent significant amounts of time in the USA.
  • Identify the reason(s) for them making the move
  • Identify and assess the influence of American culture on one each of their works.
  • Identify and assess their contribution to American musical life.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • You may wish to bring a folder for handouts, a notepad and pen.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • Suggestions for further reading and the addresses of relevant websites will be included in the handouts for the first session. Relevant broadcasts and related live performances in the area will be brought to students' attention at each session.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

'From the New World': European Composers in America

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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