Fall 2020

The Symphony Orchestra: Institution, Repertoire, and Performers

Listed in: Music, as MUSI-110

Moodle site: Course


David E. Schneider (Section 01)


In this class we will study the history of the symphony orchestra from its origins in seventeenth-century Europe to the virtuosic ensembles found in many of the world's great cities today. At the heart of our exploration of these groups will be understanding the development of their repertoire by tracing the history of the major genres of orchestral music: symphony, overture, symphonic poem, and concerto. A series of videos produced by the Boston Symphony in response to COVID-19 will enable us to gain insight into the life of contemporary professional musicians and their relationships to their instruments. In addition to studying long-canonized musical figures (e.g. Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Gershwin), we will study composers and performers who have been marginalized in the "classical" canon because of race andor gender (i.e. Dean Dixon, William Grant Still, Florence Price, George Walker, and Clara Wieck). Assignments will include listening to recordings, historical readings, watching concerts online, and writing short reflections and interpretative essays. No prior experience with symphonic music or the ability to read music is required. 

Fall Semester. Professor Schneider. The course will be offered Hyflex with as much individual/in-person contact as practical (highly dependent on enrollment). If enrollment allows and time-zone differences prove problematic for students off-campus, we may be able to divide the class into smaller sub-sections to allow for some meetings to take place synchronously over Zoom at a time other than the scheduled class meeting. Online elements of the course conducted on Zoom and through Moodle.

*In Fall 2021 this course counts as equivalent to MUSI 222 for the purposes of fulfilling the music major requirement to take MUSI 221, 222, or 223.


Artistic Practice, Fine Arts for Non-majors


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Fall 2021