September 4, 2019 Grantley Adams

WINSTED, CT – September 4, 2019 – This fall, Northwestern Connecticut Community College will be offering Special Topics: Berlioz: The Bigger, The Better (MUS 298) on its campus in Winsted.  So much of Hector Berlioz’s life was big and over the top. His ideal number of performers for a concert was 825 (465 instrumentalists and 360 singers). The 130 players recruited for the 1830 premiere of “La Symphonie Fantastique” was but a chamber orchestra for him. Berlioz’s personal life was also big and full of emotional excess. He fell in love with an actress he saw on stage and courted her unsuccessfully for over two years. In Italy, he roamed the countryside with a notorious brigand. During an important musical competition, he could think only of racing home, picking up his pistols to take part in an insurrection happening just outside his window. His life reads like some neurotic novel. This course will explore the life and the career of Hector Berlioz, a singular musician and personality of the 19th century.

 Special Topics: Berlioz: The Bigger, The Better (MUS 298) will meet on Tuesdays, October 1, 8, 15, 22 from 1:00 – 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 twenty 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: Berlioz: The Bigger, The Better (MUS 298) is subsidized by the Northwestern Community College Foundation/Regional Advisory Council (NCCF/RAC).  Student attendance is mandatory at all five sessions, in order to obtain credit. For seniors, this is a lecture series rather than a college course. Seniors must register, but admission is FREE. Students should sign up for this class in the Registrar’s Office or call (860)738-6413 with questions.

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