Through a series of six on-demand video presentations combining lecture and piano performance, explore the revolutionary work of these composers while learning more about their lives, friendships and political influences.

The turbulent twentieth century produced a number of great composers of various styles and musical languages. Debussy and Ravel, inspired by nature and French history, created a new modern language, emphasizing the short form and perfection of structure. Rachmaninoff continued developing the lush and virtuosic style he inherited from Tchaikovsky, Arensky and Glazounov. Stravinsky became the most innovative and bold Russian composer of the 20th century, leading the way with atonality, neoclassicism and, even, serialism, in his later compositions. The works of Prokofiev and Shostakovich were closely linked with the development of the Soviet Union and the Stalinist totalitarian state. Even though Prokofiev spent a lot of time abroad after the revolution, he was ultimately lured back to the Soviet Union in 1936 where he created great masterpieces which were directly inspired by tragic events in Russian history and the war. Through a series of six lectures illustrated with performances by the instructor, we will explore the details of these composers’ lives, their friendships and  influences to better understand how the events of the twentieth century shaped their work.

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Course Instructor

Alex Tentser Alex Tentser Author

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