Music Appreciation Online

  Bestseller     Winter Courses On Sale Now     Spring Courses On Sale March 1  


Join the Winspear Centre and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Musicologist, D.T. Baker for an engaging and lively series of music appreciation courses. Classes feature a variety of topics and genres that will be offered live online via Zoom.

Registrations start at $99 per course (8 classes)
75-minute sessions (on Zoom)
Class size is limited


Winter Semester Courses:


The Beautiful Machines – A History of the Keyboard

with D.T. Baker | Starts March 1
  New Course  

Keyboard instruments dominate much of music history and have been at the forefront of evolving musical technology throughout. Their origins lie in the pre-Renaissance, and embrace so much of what we call classical music, from the harpsichords of Bach and Handel to the utter dominance of the piano from Mozart to Beethoven to Chopin to Busoni, and the more modern marvels of computer-assisted synthesizers that define so much popular music, the story of the evolution of the keyboard, and the artists who mastered them, is the story of western art music itself.


Register    10:00 - 11:15 AM | Mondays and Wednesdays


$99 for 8 classes | 75-minute sessions (via Zoom) | Class size is limited


Audio Primer for this course:


Spring Semester Courses:


The Music of Latin America

with Cosette Justo Valdés | Starts April 6
  Bestseller  

South and Central America have a rich body of music that has been and continues to be composed. Throughout the course, we will explore great pieces that have not received the same amount of attention as its contemporaries in Europe and North America. We will get to know some exciting pieces, discover some amazing composers, and learn more about composers you already know! Get ready to groove as we go on this journey together, exploring classical music from Latin America from the 18th century to the most relevant popular genres.


7:00 - 8:15 PM | Tuesdays & Thursdays
$99 for 8 classes | 75-minute sessions (via Zoom)
Class size is limited

On Sale March 1


Innovation & Inspiration: New Music of the Last Century

with Megan Evans and Alex Prior | Starts April 26
  New Course  

This course will explore the profoundly human soundscapes and emotional worlds of music written in the last century. This music is pioneering and often challenging, and our goal is to make listening to it easier and even more enjoyable.
Presented by Chief Conductor Alex Prior and Associate Principal Horn Megan Evans, the duo will put a friendly face on music that they are passionate about and that you’ve always wanted to get to know better but weren’t sure where to start. Musical storytelling, listening strategies, historical context, and the composers’ personalities will be explored with the specific aim of opening up this music and starting a journey of immense reward and pleasure with what is sometimes dubbed “modern'' music.


2:00 – 3:15 PM | Mondays & Wednesdays
$99 for 8 classes | 75-minute sessions (via Zoom)
Class size is limited

On Sale March 1


Pops, Politics, & Protest

with D.T. Baker | Starts February May 18
  Bestseller     10 classes  

When most people think of "protest songs," they think of Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and the rebellious 60s. But protest songs date back as far as the troubadour tradition of the middle ages, and are still powerful and relevant today. What's changed is the way they're packaged - but the intent has always been the same: "A Change is Gonna Come."

Pops, Politics, & Protest examines the stories of protest songs, from complaints of enforced conscription by King George III to the 60s radicals doing the same thing - and on to how hip hop has taken on the role of the protest song today.


10:00 - 11:15 AM | Tuesdays & Thursdays
$120 for 10 classes | 75-minute sessions (via Zoom)
Class size is limited - Winter Semester course sold out!

On Sale March 1


Audio Primer for this course:

Clean version below. Click here for the explicit version.


Past Courses:

Strength in Numbers - The Story of the Orchestra, and Those Who Lead It

with D.T. Baker | Starts November 10th

French composer Hector Berlioz dreamed of an orchestra that numbered in the hundreds, and included 30 harps! But he didn’t have to pay for his dream. Orchestras have ever been part of the greatest achievements in western art music, while those who have led them have provided some of the most colourful, creative, and controversial figures during that history. This course follows the trail from small ensembles to the grand collectives of today, with music excerpts all along the way.

10:00 - 11:15 AM | Tuesdays and Thursdays


$99 for 8 classes | 75-minute sessions (via Zoom) | Class size is limited





A History of the Broadway Musical

with D.T. Baker | Starts January 18th
  Back by Popular Demand     Evening Classes  

The Broadway musical traces its roots to colonial America, and came fully into being in the early 20th century. At its height, it was a part of the cultural fabric – its creators and stars were well-known celebrities, and its scores have given us some of the most treasured songs ever written. Today, its relevance can be called into question, although shows such as Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen have shown there is still plenty of life in the genre. Explore it all in the stories, and so much of the amazing music in this course.


7:00 - 8:15 PM | Mondays and Wednesdays


$99 for 8 classes | 75-minute sessions (via Zoom) | Class size is limited



Audio Primer for this course:



Meet the instructors:

D.T. Baker

D.T. Baker is well known to Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and Winspear Centre audiences through his program notes, and popular pre- and post-concert presentations, as well as his 10 years as classical music writer for the Edmonton Journal. A 42-year veteran of the music industry, he has worked in many aspects and in nearly all genres of music. Presently Musicologist for the ESO/Winspear Centre, Mr. Baker is also a popular lecturer and instructor on music throughout the community.

Cosette Justo Valdés

Cosette Justo Valdés is the Assistant Conductor and Community Ambassador of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, starting in the 2018-19 season. Born and raised in Cuba, as a daughter of amateur musicians, she’s loved music all of her life, and she began learning piano and music theory from age 8. At 18 she saw a symphony orchestra for the first time and immediately knew she wanted to be a conductor. She took up conducting in 2002 at the National Institute of the Arts of Cuba, in Havana, and after graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting, she was appointed Music & Artistic Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Oriente (OSO) (Santiago, Cuba), Cuba’s second-most important orchestra.

Megan Evans

Megan Evans is currently serving as Assistant Principal Horn with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed as an orchestral musician in ensembles across North America, including l'Orchestre symphonique du Montréal, the Windsor Symphony, the Thunder Bay Symphony, the Niagara Symphony, the Alberta Baroque ensemble, the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and the Colorado Music Festival. Additionally she has been invited on several occasions as a soloist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Alberta Baroque Ensemble.

As a chamber musician she can be heard with notable national and international musicians on the “All Star Brass Live” recording from the Banff Summer Music Festival in 2014. Megan can also be heard as a chamber musician live in concert with her brass quintet the Bok Brass. This ensemble is a regular at special events, convocations, outdoor and indoor festivities, and has a wide variety of styles and genres. In the summer months, Megan has participated in several prestigious music programs including the Colorado Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Brott Music Festival. Ms. Evans obtained her Bachelors and her Masters of Music from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University studying with Denys Derome, Associate Principal Horn and John Zirbel, Principal Horn of the Montréal Symphony Orchestra. As a teacher herself, Megan currently maintains an active studio of both French Horn and Trumpet students.

Alex Prior

Alex Prior, who sparked an uncommonly deep relationship with Edmonton’s symphony and its audiences during several acclaimed guest appearances since 2014, is the new Chief Conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra beginning with a five-year contract.

The London-born, 24-year-old’s exuberance, vision, and musical excellence have taken him to orchestras from Munich to Seattle, Hong Kong to St. Petersburg. He will return to Edmonton to assume his new role in the 2017/2018 season, during which he will conduct several concerts on various ESO series.

Prior said his decision to choose Edmonton over other suitors was made easy by several factors: “The (ESO’s) players are among the best in North America. The Winspear Centre is among the best venues on the continent. I felt a special chemistry, with those players and in that room, and with Edmontonians.” “That intangible feeling of making excellent music with like-minded artists in a wondrous place; it’s what a conductor lives for, isn’t it?”

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