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AM081 Hector Berlioz: an Underappreciated Genius

  • 08 Mar 2017
  • 10:30 AM
  • 22 Mar 2017
  • 12:00 PM
  • WICE, 10 rue Tiphaine, 75015 Paris: metro La Motte Picquet Grenelle
  • 6


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Wednesdays, 8, 15, and 22 March 2017

10:30am - 12:00pm

Cost: €65 (three-part series)

--- Open to non-members ---

His life spanned three quarters of the 19th century.  His music – very modern for its time - heavily influenced composers such as Wagner, Richard Strauss, Rimsky Korsakoff and Liszt. Yet how much of Berlioz’s huge output is actually familiar to us?

In April 2017, American conductor John Nelson will direct a star-studded live recording of Berlioz’s opera Les Troyens (The Trojans) in Strasbourg.  WICE members are invited through personal connection to attend the final rehearsal of this event, combined with a specially organized tour of the city; see AA141 for details of this event.

WICE is exceptionally fortunate that acclaimed American pianist Jeff Cohen, John Nelson’s assistant for this undertaking, has agreed to teach a three-session course at WICE during which we will learn

  • Why Berlioz is an important – even ground-breaking – French composer

  • Which of  his works can be considered chefs d’oeuvre and why

  • What are some of the key innovations and characteristics of his music

  • Which musical excerpts will illustrate these

A special focus of this course will naturally be Les Troyens, in anticipation of the Strasbourg performance.  We will learn what prompted Berlioz to transpose Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid to this musical medium, acquaint ourselves with the cast of characters, and listen to some of the arias and choruses that make it such a passionate work, so as better to enjoy and appreciate this monumental opera.

About the instructor: Jeff Cohen is a pianist, an accompanist, a composer, a music conservatory professor and even a TV producer.  A partial list of world renowned artists with whom he has collaborated includes such stars as Roberto Alagna, Cecilia Bartoli, Felicity Lott, Georg Solti, Peter Brook, -- even film star Fanny Ardant. He now gives classes in French melody and art songs at the Conservatoire National in Paris when he is not concertizing at venues all over the world.

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