Centre for Continuing Education

Music in Paris Course: 1821-1836

Music. Learn, enjoy, appreciate.

Appreciate and learn about music the smart way with Music courses at the University of Sydney.

Music in Paris marks the beginning of a new series of courses on French music in the nineteenth century and continues an in-depth study of classical music which began with the previous course, 'Music in Beethoven’s Time'. By changing the focus of the study from Vienna to Paris, and by changing our featured composers from Beethoven to Berlioz and Meyerbeer, we see how Paris rapidly became the new epicentre of everything that was most exciting and significant in the development of orchestral music and operatic performance. It is not essential for participants to have completed any previous music appreciation courses prior to attending this course.


This course aims to open out an often overlooked section of music history and to provide a wider understanding of French orchestral music and opera of the period.


Upon successful completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  1. Better understand how cosmopolitan Paris so quickly supplanted Vienna as the leading musical city in Europe.
  2. Appreciate how Berlioz managed to challenge the status quo in French music, laying out new and unexpected parameters for musical composition.
  3. Understand how the less talented Meyerbeer managed to reign supreme in the spectacular new forms of Grand Opera.


  • The new Paris Opera
  • The Paris Conservatoire and the Prix de Rome
  • Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ and 'Harold in Italy'
  • Meyerbeer’s spectacular Grand Operas
  • Liszt and Chopin in Paris
  • The lesser French composers: Auber, Halevy and others

Intended Audience

This music course is suitable for those who have previously attended Music in Beethoven’s Time with Robert Gay, or those who have an interest in French music. It is not essential for participants to have completed any previous music appreciation courses prior to attending this course.

Delivery Style

This music course will be presented as a series of informal talks, illustrated by playing musical excerpts on CD.


Lecture notes are handed out at each lecture. Recommended books will also be noted at appropriate points and details of recommended CDs are provided at all lectures.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion

What others say.

  • A wonderful lecturer who organised the course in a well-researched manner, bringing great enthusiasm and knowledge of their topic. The music selection underlines and illustrates the music of the era. Well done. More courses please!
  • The tutor was entertaining, very knowledgeable & an excellent lecturer. They gave a total picture of the period.
  • A superb course extremely well researched by one of Australia's finest lecturers. Make sure you look after this gem!