Martin Goldray

Marjorie Leff Miller Faculty Scholar in Music

BA, Cornell University. MM, University of Illinois. DMA, Yale University. Fulbright scholar in Paris; pianist and conductor, with special interests in 17th- through 20th-century music. Performed extensively and recorded as pianist, soloist, chamber musician, and conductor; performed with most of the major new music ensembles, such as the New Music Consort and Speculum Musicae; worked with composers such as Babbitt, Carter, and numerous younger composers and premiered new works, including many written for him. Toured internationally as a member of the Philip Glass Ensemble from 1983-1996; conducted the premieres of several Glass operas and appears on many recordings of Glass’s music. Conducted film soundtracks and worked as producer in recording studios. Formerly on the faculty of the Composers Conference at Wellesley College. 2010 Recipient of the Lipkin Family Prize for Inspirational Teaching. SLC, 1998–

Undergraduate Courses 2018-2019

Music

Philosophy of Music

Open , Lecture—Spring

This course may be taken as a five-credit humanities class or as a component of a Music Third.

In recent years, a number of philosophers have examined the experience of music: Does it express emotions? And, if so, how? Does it convey meaning? Can we use the idea of narrative to help understand music without a text? Etc.? This class will begin by examining some different perspectives on the role of music—and art in general—in life and thought, including that of the Ancient Greeks, Kant, Hegel, Dewey, and Adorno. We will then look at the work of more recent philosophers. The ideas presented in the class will always be related to musical examples; the class will equally involve reading and attentive listening. Musical examples will come mostly from the Western classical tradition, but some other traditions may also be relevant. The goal of the class will be to see how music and philosophical thought can illuminate each other and, hopefully, to deepen our awareness of the range and power of music. We will use analytical techniques in looking at pieces of music, but prior knowledge of music theory is not required.

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Related Disciplines

20th-/21st-Century Music History

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In this class, students will study the history of Western music from the beginnings of modernism at the end of the 19th century, with music by Debussy and Mahler, to music of today. The focus will be on the study of major works in various genres (symphonic music, opera, chamber music, and vocal music), but we will also examine the changing social and intellectual contexts of the period such as the influences of two world wars, the rise of mass entertainment, the development of recording and broadcast media, and the changing role of the arts in society.

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Previous Courses

First-Year Studies in Music

Open , FYS—Year

This is a full Music Third open to students at any level interested in the study and performance of music. Prior experience with music theory or the ability to read music is not required

In this seminar, we will examine classical music in virtually all of its forms—symphonic music, chamber music, opera, and the enormously varied vocal repertory—throughout the entire history of Western music, starting with its conceptual beginnings in ancient Greece to the music of today. We will examine the role of the performer and the history of performance, as well as categories such as sacred and secular, public and private, popular and esoteric musics. The goals will be twofold: 1) to make the listening experience deeper, more pleasurable and more multifaceted; and 2) to broaden our awareness of the various functions of music in various societies throughout history. We will learn terms for the analysis of music as we progress through the course. In the second semester, the class will join the lecture Bach to Beethoven; the material of that lecture will function as the basis for the syllabus in the spring semester.
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Bach to Beethoven

Open , Lecture—Spring

Prior experience in music theory or the ability to read music is not required.

The period from Bach to Beethoven, just over 100 years, is central to music history and to Western culture. In music historical terms, the period runs from the late Baroque of Bach in the first half of the 18th century, through the classical style of Haydn and Mozart in the late 18th century, and to Beethoven in the early 19th century. Bach is a watershed figure who assimilated much that had been thought and done in music over the previous centuries and raised it all to an unprecedented level of intellectual rigor and musical power. Haydn and Mozart both forged the classical style against the background of the Enlightenment and its ideals of natural expression, wit, and intellectual clarity. Beethoven's music still challenges listeners with its fierce and unpredictable combination of classical principles and subversive tendencies and reflects forces such as of the rise of Romanticism, the rise of the public concert, the newly fashioned role of the independent musician, and developments in technology. The music of these four composers and the genres in which they wrote—including solo sonatas, chamber music, symphonies, and, in Mozart's case, operas—will be the focus of the class; but some of their contemporaries will also be considered, from Handel at the beginning of this period, to Couperin in France, and to Beethoven's younger contemporary, Schubert. A constant focus in the class will be the role of the performer and how ideas about translating the notes on the page into musical performance have changed, yet are central to our understanding of the music.

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Bach to Beethoven

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See course description under Lectures and Seminar.
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Theory I: Materials of Music

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This course is a prerequisite to the Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition and Advanced Theory sequence.

This introductory course will meet twice each week (two 90-minute sessions). We will study elements of music such as pitch, rhythm, intensity, and timbre to see how they combine in various musical structures and how these structures communicate. Studies will include notation and ear training, as well as theoretical exercises, rudimentary analyses, and the study of repertoire from various eras of Western music.

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Conducting

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Consent of the instructor and completion of Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition are required.

An introduction to orchestral conducting for qualified students, the fall semester will focus on
baton technique, score reading, and interpretation, as well as on how to prepare a score and how to
lead a rehearsal. The aim will be to give students the tools that they need to have in place before
interacting with live musicians. The spring semester will focus on utilizing those tools with live
musicians. In each class, students will have the opportunity to conduct rehearsals, starting with
duets and increasing in size over the course of the semester. A final project will include rehearsing
and conducting a large chamber piece such as the Spohr Nonet. There may also be opportunities
for students who are ready to conduct the Sarah Lawrence College Orchestra in rehearsal.

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Orchestra Projects

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This component will be taught by Mr. Sohn in the fall and Mr. Goldray in the spring. The Sarah Lawrence College Orchestra is open to all students, as well as to members of the College and Westchester communities, by audition. It is required for all instrumentalists taking a Music Third.

In rotation over two years, students will have the opportunity to experience and participate in a broad range of musical styles from the Baroque to symphonic and contemporary repertory, including improvisation and experimental music.

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