Music and Society


Start Date




End Date


Meeting Day

Monday thru Thursday



This course will trace how a dozen works and genres transformed the course of modern music, modern history, and society.  The class will meet four times weekly for two hours and through a flexible combination of viewings, listenings, discussions, and directed study, students will achieve an in-depth understanding of these works, the influence of which has been paramount to the evolution of social history:

Handel: The Messiah
Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro/Beethoven: Fidelio (human rights operas)
Beethoven: 9th Symphony
Chopin‘s Polonaises and the foundation of musical nationalism
Mendelssohn: “Reformation” Symphony/Brahms: German Requiem (studies in ecumenism)
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique (igniting fantastical concepts)
Mussagorsky-Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition and the confluence of portraiture and music to reflect society
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (projecting the daemonic)
Gershwin: Porgy and Bess/Bernstein: West Side Story (projecting the angelic: stories of life and love among American minorities)

A personal reflection paper, 250-300 words in length on six of these works, will be required by the end of the course.

This remote class uses the ZOOM platform.

Paul Andre Bempéchat holds a DMA (Piano/Musicology) from Boston University, a Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies (M.Phil.) (Musicology and Comparative Literature) from Université de Paris Sorbonne, an MMus (Piano) from the Juilliard School, NY, and an MMus (Piano) and BMus (Piano) from the Manhattan School of Music. He has taught extensively throughout North America and Europe at … Read more