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 series 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.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • recognise how cosmopolitan Paris so quickly supplanted Vienna as the leading musical city in Europe
  • appreciate how Berlioz managed to challenge the status quo in French music, laying out new and unexpected parameters for musical composition
  • describe how the less talented Meyerbeer managed to reign supreme in the spectacular new forms of Grand Opera.


This course covers the following topics:

  • 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

Suitable for previous attendees of Music in Beethoven’s Time with Robert Gay, or those with an interest in French music. It is not essential to have completed any previous Music Appreciation courses prior to attending this course.

Delivery Style

Presented as a series of informal lectures, illustrated with musical excerpts (played on CD).


A weekly worksheet including a comprehensive synopsis of material being presented will be provided in class.


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

What others say.

  • This course is outstanding. I look forward to them as the highlight of my week. The tutor is extremely well prepared, the notes are succinct and useful to keep for reference, the musical examples well chosen, often rare but always enlightening. The whole experience is rewarding, satisfying and enriching. The tutor's deep knowledge, experience and enthusiasm are unique.
  • The great knowledge of the tutor enveloped us in a very interesting period of music in France. The music played was appropriate and varied. The two hour session each week went in a flash. We enjoyed every moment of the course and learnt a lot.
  • A superb course extremely well researched by one of Australia's finest lecturers. Make sure you look after this gem!