Skip to main content

Our music appreciation classes have now been expanded to include three sessions:

Music Appreciation (Thursday online and Friday @Semitone)

Advanced Music Appreciation (Wednesday online - not currently in session)

Have you ever wanted to know more about classical music but felt too intimidated to ask? Have you ever been at a concert and enjoyed it, but felt like you didn't totally know what was going on?

Or, are you a classical music enthusiast who wants to know more about your favourite works, or explore some pieces you haven't heard before? 


piano from above


Semitone's music appreciation classes might be for you. It's informed, but informal; complete but casual. If you want to develop a better appreciation of classical music, then you have to listen to it. Peter introduces each piece by saying something about the composer's place in the development of music, how the piece came to be written and what to listen out for before we listen to it. We listen together, and share our own reactions to each piece.

For any questions about music appreciation classes, please email

See below for details of the current sessions.

Music Appreciation

This course is for anyone who is interested in classical music. You needn't have any prior knowledge in order to fully enjoy the sessions.



Friday 10:30am-12:00pm/@Semitone Studios

Cost: £91 for all 13 spring/summer sessions or £8 per session

(If this cost is a hardship, please let us know and you may pay what you can afford.)

Friday 5 April: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Keyboard concerto in D minor, Wq 23, one of the 52 keyboard concertos by the ‘Berlin Bach’ who was more famous than his father for much of his life.

Friday 12 April: Joseph Haydn, Sinfonia concertante in B flat major for violin, cello, oboe, bassoon and orchestra, written during Haydn’s first visit to London, sometimes called Symphony No 105.

Friday 19 April: Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No 3 in E flat major, Opus 55 Eroica, which broke the mould of the classical symphony; nothing remotely like it had been written before.

Friday 26 April: Franz Schubert, Piano trio No 1 in B flat major, D.898, for violin, cello and piano, one of the many masterpieces he completed in the last year of his short life.

Friday 3 May: Richard Wagner, from The Ring: The ride of the Valkyries, Wotan’s farewell &magic fire music, Forest murmurs, Dawn & Siegfried’s Rhine journey, Siegfried’s funeral march.

Friday 10 May: George Gershwin, Piano concerto in F, commissioned the day after the first performance of Rhapsody in Blue in 1924 and first performed by the composer in 1925.

Friday 17 May: Witold Lutosławski, Concerto for orchestra, based on motifs from popular Polish music and first performed in 1954, leading to the composer’s international recognition.

Friday 24 May: Antonio Salieri, Concerto in D major for oboe, violin and cello, written in 1770 soon after the composer’s arrival in Vienna where he became one of the leading musicians.

Friday 31 May: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Symphony No 35 in D major Haffner K.385, written at the request of his father to celebrate the ennoblement of Sigmund Haffner.

Friday 7 June: Johannes Brahms, Variations on a theme by Haydn, Opus 56a, and Benjamin Britten, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Opus 34, two wonderful sets of variations.

Friday 14 June: Bedřich Smetana, Vysehrad, Vitava (Moldau) and From Bohemia’s Woods and Fields, three symphonic poems from Má Vlast (My Homeland) written to celebrate Bohemia.

Friday 21 June: Edward Elgar, Falstaff, Symphonic Study in C minor, Opus 68, which the composer said that he enjoyed writing more than any other music.

Friday 28 June: Francis Poulenc, Gloria, commissioned by the Koussevitsky Foundation in honour of Sergei and Natalia Koussevitsky, first performed in 1961 in Boston and very well received.


Advanced Music Appreciation

This course is for listeners who have at least basic knowledge of classical music - terminology, form, etc. Please enquire if you are unsure. 

The course has finished for the summer but will restart in September.



Cost: £60 for all 6 spring/summer sessions or £12 per session

(If this cost is a hardship, please let us know and you may pay what you can afford.)

Six Significant Years

(spring term, now completed)

These online sessions set out to explore a range of classical music composed over the past three hundred years or so, including music in a variety of genres: orchestral, instrumental, choral and songs. The aim to is to include some well-known pieces but also to explore less familiar repertoire; there is such a wealth of music that we do not normally hear. The theme for each course is chosen to provide a framework for this. Pieces will be introduced and then we will listen to them and share reactions. This short course of six sessions will explore the music which was new in six significant years in the history of ‘classical’ music, possibly written that year or first performed in that year.

Wednesday 17 April: 1732 the birth of Joseph Haydn

Wednesday 24 April: 1770 the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven

Wednesday 1 May: 1813 the birth of Richard Wagner

Wednesday 8 May: 1862 the birth of Claude Debussy

Wednesday 15 May: 1913 the birth of Benjamin Britten

Wednesday 22 May: 1945 the death of Béla Bartók