Centre for Continuing Education

Great Composers Course: Beethoven

Music. Learn, enjoy, appreciate.

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We are now delivering courses online and in-person. Please check the delivery format of each class before enrolling.

Please note that course materials (excluding prescribed texts) are shared electronically within 48 hours of course commencement. Printing is not available.

For two hundred years, Beethoven’s music has spoken to us and moved us in ways no previous composer had ever achieved. Born at a pivotal point in European social and musical history, Beethoven took the conventions of the Classical Period and moulded them into the beginnings of Romanticism in music.

This music appreciation will tell the tragic and inspiring story of Beethoven’s life, richly illustrated with portraits, readings, and the music of this great composer.


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

  • identify aspects of Beethoven’s musical style
  • describe how Beethoven’s music is related to the Classical and Romantic periods
  • identify some of the genres of music Beethoven composed
  • list some of Beethoven’s major works and describe their place in his musical output
  • describe the main periods of Beethoven’s career
  • list significant events in the life of Beethoven.


Topics to be explored

  • What do we think of when we think about Beethoven?
  • Beethoven’s place in music history
  • Beethoven’s musical style – what makes Beethoven sound like Beethoven?
  • The Classical period – music in Beethoven’s time
  • Beethoven’s legacy
  • Major events in the life of Beethoven
  • The First Period (1770-1802)
  • Beethoven’s early years in Bonn
  • Vienna – then back to Bonn
  • Vienna again
  • Beethoven the pianist
  • Beethoven’s deafness
  • The Heiligenstadt Testament (1802)
  • The Second Period (1802-1816)
  • The heroic symphonies
  • The Immortal Beloved Letter (1812)
  • The Third Period (1816-1827)
  • Beethoven and his nephew
  • Late works
  • The death of Beethoven
  • Beethoven’s piano music, symphonies, concertos and chamber music

Music we will listen to

We will listen to many Beethoven pieces, both famous and lesser-known. These include:

  • The “Moonlight” Sonata
  • The “Pathetique” Sonata
  • The “Hammerklavier” Sonata
  • Fidelio
  • The Violin Concerto
  • Piano Concerto No. 5 (‘Emperor’)
  • The Fifth Symphony
  • The Pastoral Symphony
  • The Choral Symphony, Ode to Joy
  • The Diabelli Variations
  • The Missa Solemnis
  • Für Eilse
  • The Rasumovsky Quartets
  • The Archduke Trio

Intended audience

Designed for fans of classical music, beginners and experienced listeners alike.



Delivery style

This course will be richly illustrated with musical examples, illustrations and video clips. Susan Deas will use the piano to demonstrate musical concepts to the everyday listener. Questions will be encouraged, and there will be room for discussion throughout the course.


Handouts will be provided in class.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • Great course, content and delivery.
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