Blog | Jun 12

Exploring Music: A Journey from Russia to Indonesia

A Free Online Course with Dr. Koji Attwood

“The best way to learn about a culture is either through the music or the food.” - Dr. Koji Attwood.

Enough said!

If music and food are the gateways to culture, culture is the passageway to understanding the music that comes out of it. 

Before the spread of a global pandemic, Dr. Koji Attwood was contemplating learning a unique program of repertoire to perform both domestically and internationally this summer. That idea went on hold, but because he had already started learning the repertoire, he thought he would fly with it to a new place: the online classroom. In his upcoming online lecture series, A Musical Journey from Russia to Indonesia, Dr. Attwood will delve deeply into the historical context and cultural climate that directly influenced some late Romantic and early 20th Century composers and their compositions. Commonly esteemed composers like Franz Liszt and Franz Schubert will be featured, but Dr. Attwood designed his program around one of his bigger curiosities and fascinations: the great, though obscure, under-the-radar composers like Ottorino Respighi and Leopold Godowsky. 

“I’ve always had an intellectual curiosity about pieces that aren’t canonized,” Dr. Attwood said. Just like there is magic to be uncovered in the “third and fourth rate masters” in the visual art world, not only were these less celebrated composers fantastic in their own right, there are objective things to be gleaned from studying their works. Dr. Attwood added, “As a performer, it gives you a little more freedom to inject your own personality. You have to be an advocate for them.”

All the attendees will have the unique opportunity to see and hear Dr. Attwood’s interpretation of these pieces through the Zoom platform. Under five minutes, each piece featured on the program is relatively short. Along with playing the pieces for the class, Dr. Attwood will talk specifically about each one, and give a sense of the atmosphere and time period at the time of its genesis. For example, Leopold Godowsky from early 20th Century Eastern Europe was intrigued by the exotic sounds of Indonesia, and composed “Musical postcards” with very programmatic titles. 

Starting on June 22, 2020, the class will run for six weeks, every Monday at 6:00pm MDT, and though is geared toward to the adult learner in its sophistication, is open to all who are interested!

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