Introduction

Six years after the premiere of Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony, composer Hector Berlioz sought to make use of the symphonic genre, but on his own terms. Indeed, he wrote not only a five-movement symphony, but also a narrative program to accompany and explain the symphony.

 

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This music course introduces students to the music and programmatic elements of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, illuminating a new direction for nineteenth-century music. The course’s grand finale is a live performance of the entire symphony by the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra.

Harvard’s Thomas Forrest Kelly (Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music) guides learners through Berlioz’s Symphony Fantastique,, highlighting Berlioz’s compostional process, his innovative orchestration, and the reception of his controversial piece of narrative instrumental music.

What you'll learn:

  • Stylistic features of Romantic music, including program music
  • Technical details of composition and orchestration in the 19th century
  • Appreciate cultural context and performance circumstances of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique

Meet The Faculty

Thomas Forrest Kelly

Thomas Forrest Kelly

Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music, Harvard University

Thomas is the Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University. He received his B.A. from UNC-Chapel Hill, and his Ph.D. from Harvard. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary citizen of the city of Benvento, and a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Artes et Lettres of the French Republic.

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