Athenaeum Library Write Out Loud

Music Lectures

The History of Music:

A Broad and Enthralling Panorama of Music From Babylon to the Present

Presented by Jacquelyne Silver


Thursdays, May 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31, 2018

All lectures begin at 7:30PM


“Where words fail, music speaks.”—Hans Christian Andersen


We have been making music since the beginning of mankind. It brings us together, quickens our pulses, and IS the universal language. With her pianistic expertise and powerful storytelling Jacquelyne will bring the makers of music to life in this penetrating journey through Western music.


May 3 » Medieval, Renaissance, And The Baroque Era

Evidence from prehistoric caves shows that art and music were part of the Neanderthal civilization and earlier. In antiquity, Greece produced mathematician-music theorist Pythagoras. We had the traveling musicians of Europe, the troubadours, followed by the cultural and scientific awakening of the Renaissance. We will hear the evolution of sound through works of Josquin des Prez and Count Carlo Gesualdo, the Grand Baroque with the exquisite music of Antonio Vivaldi, and the incomparable master of the Baroque, J. S. Bach.


May 10 » The High Baroque And The Classical Era 

Bach broached new frontiers. We will hear music so ahead of its time that jazz players today imitate him, including selections from the Well-Tempered Clavier and the Brandenburg Concerti. We’ll meet up with Frederic Handel and enter the magnificence of the Classical Era—with works by Wolfgang Mozart, Josef Haydn, and Domenico Scarlatti, and some early American music. Reflecting the times, a direct revolution against the Baroque, the Age of Enlightenment had begun.


May 17 » The Revolutionary From Bonn—Ludwig Van Beethoven And The Romantic Era

A revolutionary from Bonn, Beethoven spanned the bridge between the late Classical Era and the new Romantic Era. Pride in one’s culture became widespread and folk music became an inspiration. Chopin wrote mazurkas and polonaises; Liszt produced Hungarian rhapsodies; and Schumann, Brahms, Schubert, and Mendelssohn stayed close to German folk melodies. The United States’ first national music comes into being with Stephen Foster and Louis Moreau Gottschalk.


May 24 » The Continuation Of The Romantic Era And Impressionism

Verdi gave us his vision; Rossini, comic flair; and Tchaikovsky, dense harmonies. Johann Strauss became number one on the hit parade with his waltzes; Bizet wrote a surprise hit, Carmen; and Dvorak composed the New World Symphony. Enter Impressionism and Debussy, who heard sounds in the blends of color in the paintings of Monet, Renoir, and Picasso; the fascinating, mysterious Basque, Ravel; and Satie, who played his own jazz nightly at Le Chat Noir.


May 31 » The End Of The Romantic Era And Into The 20th Century  

The 20th century was an ever-changing era of music and art. We will explore the extraordinary development of Broadway, jazz, ragtime and American folk music. Arnold Schoenberg developed the 12-tone system; Prokofiev and Shostakovich’s creativity and beautiful visions transcended obstacles; Puccini, Bartok, Copland, and Bernstein gave us their brilliant musical signatures. From Cole Porter and Gershwin to the advent of the iPhone is a long and winding road, but the Muse of Music blazes her way into our heart forever.



Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Room

Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

1008 Wall Street

La Jolla, CA 92037



Individual tickets: $17 for members / $22 for nonmembers

Series tickets: $75 for members / $100 for nonmembers


Online tickets are subject to ticketing fees.