Carsten Schmidt

on leave fall semester

Künstlerische Abschlussprüfung “mit Auszeichnung,” Folkwang-Hochschule, Essen, Germany. MM, Artist Diploma, Indiana University. MMA, DMA, Yale University. Extensive performance and broadcast activities as soloist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestras throughout Europe, North America, and Japan; numerous master classes, lectures, and workshops at educational and research institutions. Special interests include: keyboard literature and performance practices; early keyboard instruments; the music of Ernst Krenek; the relationship of performance, analysis, hermeneutics, and recent gender studies; and the interaction of poetry and music in song repertoire. Member, artistic board, Volte Foundation for Chamber Music, the Netherlands; artistic director, International Schubert Festival 1997; research fellow, Newberry Library; fellow, German National Scholarship Foundation. SLC, 1998–

Undergraduate Courses 2017-2018

Music

Survey of Western Music

Component

This component is required for all students taking Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition and is also open to students who have completed the theory sequence.

This course is a chronological survey of Western music from the Middle Ages to the present. The course is designed to acquaint the student with significant compositions of the Western musical tradition, as well as to explore the cyclical nature of music that mirrors philosophical and theoretical ideas in Ancient Greece and how that cycle appears every 300 years: the Ars nova of the 14th century, Le nuove musiche of the 17th century, and the New Music of the 20th century and beyond. The course involves participation in listening, reading, and discussion, including occasional quizzes about and/or written summaries of historical periods. Presentations are required during the second term.

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Monteverdi to Monteverdi

Component—Spring

Permission of the instructor is required.

Claudio Monteverdi occupies a truly unique position in music history. His early works are masterful examples of the often serene and balanced style of late Renaissance vocal music. Yet, by the end of his long life, he had become a key player in developing and establishing the much more personal and often extravagant musical language of the early Baroque. Our course will follow this journey, as well as some of his other extraordinary transitions—such as from the secular and privileged world of the court of Mantua to directing musical worship at St. Mark’s in Venice and eventually returning to the secular sphere by being an engine of early commercial opera. We will also have an opportunity to examine important aspects of his artistic evolution by comparing the youthful innocence and immediacy of his L’Orfeo to the cynicism and wisdom of his late work, L’Incoronazione di Poppea. In addition, we will attend a number of performances of his music in New York City and invite some professional stage directors and singers to share their insights into the Italian master.

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Awareness Through Movement™ for Musicians

Component—Spring

This course will offer a selection from the thousands of Awareness Through Movement lessons developed by Moshe Feldenkrais. The lessons consist of verbal instructions for carefully designed movement sequences that allow the students to better sense and feel themselves and thereby develop new and improved organizational patterns. These gentle movements are done in comfortable positions (lying, sitting, and standing), and many instrumentalists and singers have found them to be hugely helpful in developing greater ease, reducing unwanted tension and performance anxiety, and preventing injuries. Another benefit is the often increased capacity for learning and, perhaps most importantly, an increased enjoyment of music making and the creative process.

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Baroque Ensemble

Component—Spring

An audition is required.

This performance ensemble focuses on music from roughly 1600 to 1750 and is open to both instrumentalists and singers. Using modern instruments, we will explore the rich and diverse musical world of the Baroque. Regular coachings will be supported by sessions exploring a variety of performance practice issues, such ornamentation, notational conventions, continuo playing, and editions.

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Evolution of a Performance

Component—Spring

Permission of the instructor is required.

This advanced seminar presents a unique resource designed to help students develop well-informed and inspired performances. The content of this course will be carefully tailored to participants’ interests, needs, abilities, and chosen repertoire. It will include a combination of the following: textual criticism and possible creation of a performance edition; consideration of performance practices, drawing on historical documents and recent scholarship; study of historical instruments; review of pertinent analytical techniques and writings; analytical, compositional, and ear-training assignments; readings that explore the cultural, artistic, and emotional worlds of the composers studied; in-class performances and coaching; and discussion of broader philosophical issues relating to authenticity in performance. This course is for accomplished and highly motivated performers who have a theory background commensurate with completion of at least the first semester of Advanced Theory: Advanced Tonal Theory and Composition. It is especially suitable for instrumentalists and singers who are preparing for a recital or performances of major chamber music works.

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Previous Courses

Advanced Theory: Advanced Tonal Theory and Analysis

Component

Successful completion of the required theory sequence or an equivalent background is a prerequisite for this class.

This course will focus on the analysis of tonal music, with a particular emphasis on chromatic harmony. Our goal will be to quickly develop a basic understanding and skill in this area and then to refine them in the analysis of complete movements and works. Our repertoire will range from Bach to Brahms, and we will try to incorporate music that class participants might be studying in their lessons or ensembles.

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Intermediate and Advanced Aural Skills

Component

Permission of the instructor is required.

This course is dedicated to helping students develop their fluency with theoretical materials through dictation and sight-singing practice. Initially, we may focus on individual parameters such as pitches, rhythms, and harmonic progressions; but the ultimate goal of the course is to be able to perceive all of those in an integrated way.

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Music of the Fin de Siècle

Component—Fall

Permission of the instructor is required.

The years 1880-1914 provided an exceptionally fertile ground for musical life in Europe. This course will explore some of the major composers of this period, and we will try to place their music in the larger context of artistic, philosophical, and political trends that informed their work. Among the composers whom we will study are Brahms, Wagner, Mahler, Debussy, Satie, Busoni, Puccini, Mussorgsky, Scriabin, and Janacek. The ability to read musical scores is essential for this course, and some background in music theory is as well.

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Music From 1914-1945

Component—Spring

Permission of the instructor is required.

No previous period of music history saw such a plethora of musical styles and expressions as the first half of the 20th century. In this course, we will encounter many of the important compositional voices active between the two world wars. The range of styles of only some of the composers whom we will study is breathtaking. The high romanticism of Rachmaninoff, the grandeur of Richard Strauss, Bartók’s folk-infused idioms, Schoenberg’s 12-tone creations, Prokoviev’s at once classical and subversive works, Gershwin’s jazz-inspired inventions, Messiaen’s colorful and spiritual music, and Stravinsky’s many evolving musical languages are only part of what will encounter. The ability to read musical scores is essential for this course, and some background in music theory is, as well.

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Orchestra Projects

Open , Seminar

This class is required for all instrumentalists taking a Music Third. Audition required.

In a 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. The Sarah Lawrence Orchestra is open to all students, as well as to members of the College and Westchester communities.

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Advanced Theory: Advanced Tonal Theory and Analysis

Component

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the required theory sequence or an equivalent background.

This course will focus on the analysis of tonal music, with a particular emphasis on chromatic
harmony. Our goal will be to quickly develop a basic understanding of—and skill in—this area, and then
refine them in the analysis of complete movements and works. Our repertoire will range from
Bach to Brahms, and we will try to incorporate music that class participants might be studying in
their lessons or ensembles.

Faculty

Intermediate and Advanced Aural Skills

Component

Permission of the instructor is required.

This course is dedicated to helping students develop their fluency with theoretical materials through dictation and sight-singing practice. Initially, we may focus on individual parameters such as pitches, rhythms, and harmonic progressions; but the ultimate goal of the course is to be able to perceive all of those in an integrated way.

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Bach

Component—Spring

Some background in music theory is necessary, and reading knowledge of music is essential.

Bach continues to be a central figure of Western music history. His roots are deep, arguably reaching into the Middle Ages, and his influence is still keenly felt by many contemporary composers. This course will explore some of these roots and examine Bach’s extraordinary contributions to various genres such as organ music, the keyboard suite, chamber music, the concerto, mass, cantata, passion, and pedagogical works. It will also discuss his theological, scientific, and philosophical foundations. In addition, we will pay attention to the reception that history has paid to his music and its performance practices. The course will feature frequent in-class performances by participants, the instructor, and guests.

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First-Year Studies in Music

Open , FYS

Each student in First-Year Studies in Music will be enrolled in a full music program (also called a Music Third) that reflects Sarah Lawrence’s educational philosophy of closely integrating theory and practice in the study of music. In addition, all students in this course will be members of a weekly seminar, which provides a forum to explore a broad range of musical topics in both artistic and critical ways. Throughout the year, we will attend numerous performances on campus, as well as in New York City—for instance, at the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. We will start with live musical experiences in order to generate our investigations. The seminar will also feature frequent in-class performances by guest artists, class members, and the instructor. The music that we study in class will range from the early 16th century to the early 21st. Our emphasis will be on Western classical music and will occasionally include jazz, non-Western, and popular music traditions, as well. In order to develop and improve their insights and their ability to share them with others, students will write regular response papers and give short presentations. In the spring, they will also undertake a larger research project. First-Year Studies in Music is designed for students with all levels of prior music experience, from beginning to advanced.

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