Lectures For Lifelong Learners!

Classical Music for Seasons and Holidays

twelve months of programs with Betsy Schwarm

January: Sleigh Rides & Snowstorms: Winter in Classical Music

For musical expression of the snowy season, Vivaldi’s Winter is hard to beat, but it is not alone. Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Leroy Anderson also brought their skills to the topic. Music historian Betsy Schwarm brings sounds of a classical winter, and the stories behind the music.

February: Classical Hearts and Flowers: Music of Romance

Two familiar wedding marches, tender songs, a bit of Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet: music historian Betsy Schwarm presents a variety of classical music on themes of love, and the stories behind the music. Puccini’s timeless romance, La Bohéme, rounds out the program in video form.

March: Beyond Danny Boy: Classical Music with Irish Connections

Irish music isn’t only Danny Boy! The spirit of the Emerald Isle also appears in classical music, thanks to Irish-born composers, as well as great composers from other lands, even Beethoven. Music historian Betsy Schwarm delves into the subject.

April: Spring Flowers: Classical Music for Springtime

Birdsong and blossoms, nature reborn, a touch of young love: the charms of springtime have a treasured place classical music. Music historian Betsy Schwarm brings us favorites from Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, and a bit of a May Day celebration in Olde England.

May: A Classical Lady for Mother’s Day: Clara Schumann

From the age of eight, Clara Schumann (1819 – 1895) was a classical music star. Gifted pianist, influential teacher, skilled composer: she captured the headlines. Music historian Betsy Schwarm brings the music and insights into Clara’s life and career.

June: The Livin’ is Easy: Summertime in Classical Music

Gershwin’s song may be the best-known bit of summery music, but it’s far from the only option. Music historian Betsy Schwarm also offers seasonally flavored works from Vivaldi, Beethoven, Respighi, and a spirited Swedish Midsummer celebration.

July: A Star-Spangled Survey: Sousa, Copland, Bernstein, and More

Marches, fanfares, film music, Simple Gifts, and a hint of spangly stars: a red, white, and blue selection of American classical music. Music historian Betsy Schwarm has the music and the stories behind the scenes with compositions tied to our national holiday.

August: On the Trail: A Classical Grand Canyon

From sunrise to sunset, the Painted Desert, a burro trip, and a magnificent thunderstorm. It’s all told quite vividly in music by American composer Ferde Grofé. Music historian Betsy Schwarm guides us through the journey, including pictures of the scenes and the composer’s own thoughts.

September: Falling Leaves: Classical Music for Autumn

Fall festivals, wine-tinged revelries, Autumnal dancing, and a harvest hymn: classical music for Autumn! Music historian Betsy Schwarm brings musical visions of shorter days, cooler temperatures, and imagery both graceful and joyous. The stories behind the music add to the exploration.

October: Ghosts and Goblins: A Classical Halloween

From sweet to spooky, Halloween offers opportunities for imagination. Classical composers have embraced that in various ways. Music historian Betsy Schwarm brings some examples: music for a haunted mountain, an apprentice sorcerer, and a hint of Alfred Hitchcock.

November: The Nutcracker: Artistry, Excellence, and Not Just for Kids

Many of us first saw The Nutcracker in childhood. However, Tchaikovsky didn’t write it just for youngsters. He also hoped to create a satisfying artistic experience for all. Music historian Betsy Schwarm explores the work, its background, and its musical highlights.

December: Silent Nights and Festive Days: Classical Music for Christmas and Hanukkah

The end of the year brings celebrations both sacred and secular, frequently adorned with music. Music historian Betsy Schwarm offers Yuletide merriment, Hebrew folk songs, the beauteous light of Christmas morning, and the peace of a silent night.
Betsy Schwarm

Betsy Schwarm

Classical Music

Expertise: Classical Music & Opera

Available for in-person lectures in: Denver

Available via Zoom? Yes

To book Betsy, e-mail: dan@hudakonhollywood.com

Music historian Betsy Schwarm spent a dozen years on the air at the vintage KVOD radio, "The Classical Voice of Denver." She has also taught university-level music appreciation, but is especially known for her user-friendly approach to talking about classical music. She gives pre-performance talks for Opera Colorado, has frequently spoken at the Colorado Symphony, and has written ten books on classical music as part of her Classical Music Insights series. The most recent of these is Classical Music Insights:  Between the Wars (2021). More than 200 of her articles are available on Encyclopædia Britannica online. Additionally, she writes for classical performers and organizations throughout the US and abroad, and teaches for the University of Denver Enrichment program, as well as other organizations.