Northwest Community College

News & Events

Tuesday October 03, 2017

French Orchestral Music between Berlioz and Debussy

This fall, Northwestern Connecticut Community College will be offering Special Topics: French Orchestral Music between Berlioz and Debussy (MUS 298-01) on its campus in Winsted. This course will explore the French symphonic repertory from the 1850’s until the advent of Debussy and will detail the lives and times of composers from that period. Serving also as a musical travelogue, images will be shown of Parisian architecture closely connected to composers, their birthplaces and residences.

Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) and Claude Debussy (1862-1918), who were among France’s most innovative composers, bookended 19th century French music. Berlioz was the first to concentrate on symphonic music since the opening of ‘L’Academie Royale de Musique’ in 1671, which offered performances of only opera and ballet. He would be followed by a generation of composers, extending from St. Saens to Dukas, who wrote quality orchestral music that is still very popular today.

Special Topics: French Orchestral Music between Berlioz and Debussy (MUS 298-01 will meet on Tuesdays, October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. in Founders Hall Auditorium.

Jeffrey Engel, who will lead this class, graduated from Ithaca College, New York. He lived in Paris for fourteen years where he studied cello, art history (at the Sorbonne) and earned diplomas in the French language. As a cellist, he played with numerous French orchestras including that of the Paris Opera, performed in chamber ensembles and taught in municipal conservatories. Mr. Engel has been giving lectures devoted to music history in colleges, libraries, retirement communities and other venues for some fifteen years. He believes that such lectures should be entertaining as well as informative. To that end, his explanations are never too technical and he infuses his material with amusing anecdotes and musical illustrations.

Special Topics: French Orchestral Music between Berlioz and Debussy (MUS 298-01) is subsidized by the Northwestern Community College Foundation/Regional Advisory Council. Student attendance is mandatory at all five sessions, to obtain credit. For seniors, this is a lecture series rather than a college course. Seniors must register, but admission is FREE. Please call (860) 738-6314 to register.

For more information about this course, please contact Jeffrey Engel at