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Upcoming Arts, Music, and Language Seminars

This list is of upcoming seminars only. Since most seminars meet more than once in a term, if a class has already met at least once, it will no longer show up on this list. To find a seminar that has already started or has finished, use the calendar and set the date range to include the seminar's starting date.

Starting: Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Tuesdays, February 17 - April 7
Beethoven's "Mighty Nine"
Led by Stephanie Ettelson

Seminar Description

It is always the right time to go “Back to Beethoven.” Beginning with the Eroica (Symphony no. 3) in 1805, Beethoven’s compositions paved the way into the Age of Romanticism from the Classical Period and represented the individualism, innovation, and change that are hallmarks of the nineteenth century. By listening...


Starting: Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Tuesdays, February 17 – April 28 (class will not meet on March 10)
Music Appreciation through Performance: Winter/Spring Term
Led by Stephen Kleiman

Seminar Description

This unique class offers participants a way to experience music not only as listeners, but also as performers. Last fall, we lauched the Newberry’s chamber ensemble seminar with meaningful success. We rehearsed reorchestrated versions of Gabriel Faure’s Pavane, Johannes Brahms’s Variations on a Theme of Haydn, and Anton...


Starting: Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Tuesdays, February 17 - April 28 (class will not meet March 31)
The Latin Roots of the Romance Language Family Tree
Led by Susan Pezzino

Seminar Description

This course in beginning Latin takes an approach that is unique among introductory language classes, offering a brief sketch of both the ancient roots and the modern branches of a linguistic family tree. Intended for students with no prior knowledge of Latin but with a basic speaking knowledge or two semesters’ study of a Romance tongue, this...


Starting: Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Wednesdays, February 18 - March 11
Bookbinding with Paste Papers
Led by Lesa Dowd

Seminar Description

Decorative paste paper has been used in bookbinding construction since as early as the sixteenth century. Referencing exquisite bookbindings from the Newberry collection, this course will explore historical designs and techniques, which participants will then apply to the creation of their own patterned paste papers and model bookbindings....


Starting: Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Wednesdays, February 18 - April 22
Great Movie Music from Garbo and Valentino to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Led by Stephen Kleiman

Seminar Description

This course will explore the development of film music from the early 1900s to the 1960s. By listening to and discussing some of the greatest film composers of that era, we will discover how music enhances cinema’s atmosphere and emotional expression. We will get to know composers Max Steiner, Aaron Copland, Adolph Deutsch, Erich-Wolfgang Korngold...


Starting: Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Wednesdays, February 18 - March 25
The History and Art of the Book of Kells
Led by Francis Crowley

Seminar Description

The Book of Kells, an illuminated Gospel book well over a thousand years old, has a complex history and legacy. Exploring one of the finest existing examples of medieval manuscript-making, this seminar will study the historical setting and artwork that influenced the Irish scribes who created this famed book. Readings for the first...


Starting: Thursday, February 19, 2015
Thursdays, February 19 - April 23
Ballet Music From Beethoven to Bernstein
Led by Stephen Kleiman

Seminar Description

This seminar will trace ballet’s journey from Beethoven’s 1801 The Creatures of Prometheus to Bernstein’s 1944 Fancy Free. After setting the stage with the early patrons Catherine de Medici and Louis XIV, we will leap into great nineteenth- and twentieth-century ballets by masters such as Copland, Gershwin, Prokofiev,...


Starting: Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Tuesdays, February 24 – April 14
From Caravaggio to Bernini: Italian Baroque Art, 1600-1700
Led by Jeff Nigro

Seminar Description

Baroque, the word most closely identified with seventeenth-century European art, has also become a byword for excess, bombast, and theatricality. The goal of this seminar will be to approach the art of seventeenth-century Italy on its own terms, and to discover a greater understanding and appreciation of the goals and values of its...


Starting: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Wednesdays, February 25 - April 15
Surrealism and the Second City
Led by Harrison Sherrod

Seminar Description

From the absurdist writings of David Mamet to the bizarre iconography of Hairy Who, Chicago has been home to odd, eccentric, and uncanny forms of artistic and literary expression. Is this penchant for the surreal merely happenstance, or can we identify a confluence of socioeconomic, political, and aesthetic forces that made Chicago a breeding...


Starting: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Wednesdays, February 25 – April 15
Victorian Style: British Fashion and Fiction 1850 to 1900
Led by Debra Mancoff

Seminar Description

This seminar will explore dress as a key to character in four iconic Victorian novels (Great Expectations, Lady Audley’s Secret, Far from the Madding Crowd, and The Picture of Dorian Gray). Behind the era’s elaborate etiquette and strict ideas of gender and class, the Victorian dress code allowed...


Starting: Thursday, February 26, 2015
Thursdays, February 26 – March 26
Watching, Thinking, Dancing, Acting: Angles on Bob Fosse
Led by Edward Crouse

Seminar Description

Known for his choreography and directing in Cabaret, Chicago, and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Broadway legend Bob Fosse cooked up some unforgettable dances. His slinky, suggestive moves leapt from the stage to the screen and continue to swagger through music videos (ask Beyoncé!). By critically...


Starting: Thursday, February 26, 2015
Thursdays, February 26 - April 16
Sun, Sea, and Swans: Musical Images of Nature
Led by Guy Marco

Seminar Description

Composers have always been interested in natural phenomena, including the sun, moon, and stars; oceans and rivers; rain and snow; flowers and trees; and animals, especially birds. Some music simply imitates natural sounds; but more often, music aspires to convey the essence of a living form or offer the composer’s feelings about an element of...


Starting: Saturday, February 28, 2015
Saturdays, February 28 - April 25 (class will not meet on April 4)
Early Opera: Music, Drama, and Society from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment
Led by Brian Oberlander

Seminar Description

Explore the origins and early development of opera in Western Europe. We begin with the private courtly entertainments of the Renaissance, when music and theater were intertwined with myth, magic, and royal ceremony. We end with the star-studded commercial enterprises of the Enlightenment, along with the divas, impresarios, and chattering...


Starting: Saturday, March 7, 2015
Saturdays, March 7 - May 9 (class will not meet April 4)
Gustav Mahler Reconsidered: The Conductor and Composer
Led by James L. Zychowicz and Salvatore Calomino

Seminar Description

Gustav Mahler was a musical innovator as both a conductor and a composer, and this seminar will explore the many factors that have contributed to the continued relevance of his music. We will enter Mahler’s mind through his memoirs and letters, as well as by examining the literature he read and adapted. By parsing these documents, we will...


Starting: Saturday, March 7, 2015
Saturdays, March 7 - March 21
Making a Drop Spine Box
Led by Barbara Korbel

Seminar Description

Some books are so fragile they can’t be mended. Others are so valuable they need special protection. Whether it’s a scrapbook bursting with unruly pages, or a rare volume beautifully bound, a drop spine box can serve as a valuable encasement for all manner of materials. . This standard enclosure is used to house books in special collection...


Starting: Saturday, March 28, 2015
Saturdays, March 28 - May 23 (class will not meet April 4 or May 2)
Best Addresses: Notable Residential Streets in Chicago
Led by Diane Dillon

Seminar Description

Through a series of walking tours, this seminar will explore some of Chicago’s “best addresses” —residential streets known for significant domestic architecture, notable residents, or historical events. Examples will be drawn from a variety of neighborhoods, including Prairie Avenue, the Gold Coast, Streeterville, Lake Shore...