Fresh Look: The Symphony Exposed

Fresh Look: The Symphony Exposed

Now available on demand through August 31

Scott Foglesong

Now available on demand through August 31

Register now

Adult Education Classes — Live Online & On Demand This Summer

Have you ever wondered…

  • What does the conductor do besides wave the baton?
  • Why is Beethoven such a big deal?
  • What is the state of classical music today? Hint: It’s so much more than just “The Three Bs”—Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.

Fresh Look—The Symphony Exposed with Scott Foglesong is back after three record-breaking summer programs, with one extra class and updated music and composer selections to illustrate each session. If you’d like to increase your enjoyment of all things orchestra, we invite you to join this fun, informative, introductory class, for a fresh look at the Symphony—Exposed.

WHO SHOULD JOIN: Beginners to experienced music lovers welcome

WHERE: Online, with recordings available on demand through August 31

PROGRAM COST: $30, which you get back as a voucher towards your first purchase of any adult-priced California Symphony concert ticket in the 2021/22 Season

Register now

With support from the Heller Foundation and Walnut Creek Civic Pride.

Course Outline


Class 1: Orchestras 101 | You Could Google it, or…

Livestreaming Thursday, July 1 at 7:00 p.m. PT, and on demand through August 31.

We’ll start by tackling a pressing question: just what does a conductor do, anyway? After we’ve shone some light on that issue (with the aid of many conductors and orchestras) we’ll explore the orchestra from its early days to the present, culminating in a trip through the orchestra’s sections and instruments.

View Class One Outline

Class 2: Baroque & Classical Music | Coming into their Own

Livestreaming Thursday, July 8 at 7:00 p.m. PT, and on demand through August 31.

Classical music began to take shape in the Baroque Era (1600-1750) with masters such as Vivaldi, Bach, and Handel, but it really came into its own with the Viennese Classical (later 18th century) with Haydn and Mozart. We’ll dive into music from both those eras (and maybe a little later), expanding to composers beyond the usual suspects, including those of African heritage and from Asia.

View Class Two Outline

Class 3: Beethoven | Shifting into High Gear

Livestreaming Thursday, July 15 at 7:00 p.m. PT, and on demand through August 31.

Beethoven not only expressed the spirit of an era—artistic, political, and personal—but also served as an inspiration and model to future generations of composers. We’ll start with him, then go on to explore some early 19th-century Romantics who followed his lead.

View Class Three Outline

Class 4: Composers | Political Animals

Livestreaming Thursday, July 22 at 7:00 p.m. PT, and on demand through August 31.

Beethoven’s influence continued well into the later 19th century, as composers created works that were both politically charged and imbued with the spirit of adventure and exploration. We’ll look at some late Romantics who, like Tchaikovsky and Mahler, brought folk music into their works, as well as Brahms, who summed up the century while simultaneously bringing about a rebirth of the symphony.

View Class Four Outline

Class 5: Music of Our Time | A Kaleidoscope

Livestreaming Thursday, July 29 at 7:00 p.m. PT, and on demand through August 31.

Beginning in the early 20th century and continuing to the present day, the music of the modern world offers a rich and multi-varied array of styles. We’ll begin with Claude Debussy and move through jazz-inspired composers such as George Gershwin, reaching the 21st century with works written within the past few years. Professor Scott Foglesong and California Symphony Music Director Donato Cabrera will close out the course with a discussion about the past, present, and future of orchestral music.

View Class Five Outline