Classical Music Nights

with Michael Harrison

A screenshot from one of Michael Harrison's Classical Music Nights
Many people feel daunted by classical music and don’t know where to start to learn about it. My Classical Music Nights are presentations conceived as a sort of aural book club for those wanting to learn more about classical music in an informal and relaxed setting. As a professional trumpet player, I have spent 30 years touring the world with pre-eminent orchestras and renowned conductors, performing in the finest concert halls from Buenos Aires to Tokyo, Vienna to New York. With Classical Music Nights, I bring together this first-hand performance insight, as well as insider anecdotes and stories to offer an entertaining introduction to this wonderful world of sound.
"We are captivated: it requires no previous knowledge of classical music but rather an interest in knowing more - unpretentious and entertaining."
Chris and Helen
Putney

In each session, I showcase a different period in history and explore the ways in which events shaped the lives and music of composers working at the time. I contextualise the music with engaging and wide-ranging cultural references, using images and video clips alongside the musical excerpts to enhance the learning experience.

There are plenty of opportunities to ask questions and, afterwards, I contact everyone in the group personally with a recap playlist, as well as suggestions for further listening.

"Michael’s introductions begin with a historical scene-setter and are punctuated with wonderful anecdotes usually driven by his personal encounters and experiences with the trumpet. If you want to explore classical music from a position of relative ignorance and don’t want to be bored or patronised, these sessions are for you."
Nicola & Nigel Kennedy
London SW15

Classical Music Nights - How do I sign up?

Classical Music Nights are sessions tailored to groups of friends who want to enhance their understanding of classical music in a social setting. The sessions fit comfortably into supper club environments or cheese and wine evenings, while daytime sessions are also available if a coffee morning setting is preferable. They are currently delivered LIVE on Zoom.

An ongoing series of sessions can be arranged for continued learning and entertainment, or one-off sessions can be booked as “event gifts” to celebrate special occasions – these have proven particularly popular as presents for those who already have everything! Contact me for further details and pricing.

WHAT WILL WE LEARN?

You can find examples of Classical Music Nights session topics in the list below. They usually follow the same initial pattern to establish some basics. Beyond that, there is almost unlimited scope for delving more deeply.

You can find examples of Classical Music Nights session topics in the list below. They usually follow the same initial pattern to establish some basics. Beyond that, there is almost unlimited scope for delving more deeply.

THE BUILDING BLOCKS

Exploding Classical Music 
What is ‘Classical’ Music? An introduction to the music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven

Music of the High Baroque
The pre-Classical era with the music of Bach and Handel

Into the age of Romanticism
A new, post-Classical style evolves with Schubert, Mendelssohn and Berlioz

The Romantics are here to stay
Liszt, Robert and Clara Schumann and Brahms make Romanticism the new normal

"Michael is always happy to go into whatever depth of detail that interests you. He even follows up with a listening list. It is fun, informative and his knowledge of the music world is fascinating."
Jane and David
London

AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHT SESSIONS

I want to Break Free! 
The Nationalist movement mixes politics and music, featuring Chopin, Smetana, Grieg and Sibelius

The French go their own way
Late C19th and early C20th French music with Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Debussy and Ravel

The Russians are coming! 
A new style emerges in Russia with Tchaikovsky and members of the “Mighty Handful”, Balakirev, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov and Mussorgsky

The Russians are Here!
Russian music goes global with Rachmaninov and Stravinsky

The Austro-German Heavyweights
The music of Bruckner, Mahler and Richard Strauss

A Green and Pleasant Land
After a barren 100 years, British music emerges again in the Victorian and Edwardian eras with Sullivan (as in “Gilbert and”), Butterworth and Elgar

Merry England 
The sounds of Vaughan-Williams, Walton, Delius and Britten

Born in the USA
A new accent is heard in the music of Ives and Copland, with Gershwin, Bernstein and John Adams bringing us through to the present day

….and much, much more!

"Michael has a natural ability to bring classical music to life.  He enriches the music with descriptions and illustrations of contemporary society, art and architecture. Coupled with some juicy titbits about his fellow musicians, he creates an evening that is extremely entertaining!"
Tim & Maria
Putney