Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for news

Robert Greenberg’s The Great Courses Available for Direct Download!

Dr. Robert Greenberg, best selling creator of audio and video courses for The Teaching Company/The Great Courses since 1993, is now offering those courses for direct download, right here on RobertGreenbergMusic.com! These courses are crafted and produced for lifelong learners and offer a learning experience that goes far beyond anything that can be achieved merely by placing a camera in a classroom. The 27 courses currently available constitute a full-blown musical curriculum, a curriculum that divides the courses into “basics” and those that “dive deeper”. Explore these categories below: The Basics How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, third edition. This is The Great Courses’ “Music 101”, 48-lecture survey spans nearly 2500 years of Western music, from the music of ancient Greece to the year 1913. (FYI: this course was named by Inc. Magazine as being “one of the ten great leadership classics you’ve never read”, or watched as the case may be.) How to Listen to and Understand Great Opera.  This series offers a broad survey of the single most important genre of Western music to have emerged over the last 400-plus years, opera. Understanding the Fundamentals of Music. This course expands on the vocabulary and listening skills… 

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Announcing New Courses!

A drum roll (okay; perhaps just an onion roll): announcing the upcoming releases of my latest Great Courses survey and my first webcast courses, what I will now refer to as “webcourses”. It’s been a year since I announced my intention to begin self-publishing such webcourses; I have now completed writing two of them. The first is “Mozart in Vienna”, a 16-part course that deals with the last 10 years of Mozart’s tragically short life, from 1781 to 1791. Featuring Mozart’s chamber music for strings, the webcourse focuses on Mozart’s day-to-day life and his amazing compositional development during his years as a resident of Vienna. While there is some overlap with the repertoire covered in my The Great Courses/Teaching Company course “The Chamber Music of Mozart” (recorded back in 2004), “Mozart in Vienna” is considerably less technical than the aforementioned Great Courses survey and explores many works I’ve never before examined, including Mozart’s last four string quartets: the so-called “Hoffmeister” Quartet and the three “Prussian” Quartets. The second webcourse is one I’ve wanted to create for many, many years: an 18-part survey entitled “The Music of the Twentieth Century”. The “music” to which the title refers is primarily concert music,… 

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New Course Coming Soon

It has been a long time since I last blogged. I have an excuse (sort of) which I’d share, and in doing so request your help. I have been writing a new, 24-lecture course for The Teaching Company/The Great Courses, and have only today – this morning, in fact – finished the first draft. I began work in December, so the draft (which runs about 140,000 words, about the length of a 450 page book) took seven months to write. I’ll need another three months to rewrite, by which time the course will run about 120,000 words. It has been, by far, the toughest survey I’ve ever written. The working title is “Big History and Great Music.” The premise is as follows. Each lecture features a different piece of music. Each piece of music was written as a direct response to a historical event. The bulk of each lecture, then, will explore that event and the manner in which the music under study reflects that event. For example. Lecture 17 focuses on a piano sonata by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček (pictured below as a young dude with his wife Zdenka), a piece entitled Piano Sonata I. X. 1905 (meaning… 

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Composers, Inc. News

I’m about to become even more tiresome than usual in my promotion of the new music performance group “Composers, Inc.” Founded in 1984, Composers, Inc. is dedicated to the creation and performance of new American music. There are no Euro-composers, alive or dead, on its programs; goodness knows, the Euros have enough venues already. Neither will you find metabolically challenged (i.e., deceased) American composers on the programs of Composers, Inc. (although the organization will, on rare occasion, mark the passing of an American composer with a performance). No, the mission of Composers, Inc. is to perform (and commission) works by living Americans, particularly emerging composers. My interest in the group is both personal and professional. For 29 years I have been one of the “composers” who directs the group (I was asked to join when the organization was just a year old), and on May 1 of this year I was elected president of its Board of Directors. Check out our beautiful website! My election means that you, my friends, will have to endure my ongoing efforts to enlist Board members, raise moolah/dinero/buckaroonies, build audience, etc. etc. The Board and money can wait; the remainder of this post is about… 

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“The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works” Wins a TELLY Award

. . . and finally [small tear running down cheek] . . . I’d like to thank the Academy [*choke*] . . . I’d like to thank the Academy . . . for . . . for . . .FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! WHAT A BUNCH OF LOSERS! YOU’RE NOTHING BUT A PACK OF GROVELING, PEA-BRAINED WEASELS: BLOOD-SUCKING PARASITES ON THE BODY OF ART; OPEN, OOZING CARBUNCLES ON THE ASS OF PROGRESS! Yes, YES: PUT THAT ON YOUR PIZZA AND EAT IT! One day, before we all pass on to the great unknown, one day – perhaps – we’ll be lucky enough to hear an award acceptance speech end just that way. It would become an instant classic, among the most quoted, listened to and viewed bits of spontaneous media since Sally Field’s “You like me!” speech at the Academy Awards and Ed Ames’ tomahawk-to-the groin on the Johnny Carson show. Given my own occasional proclivity towards ingratitude, it is just as well that when I received a “Telly Award” back in May, I was standing in a nearly empty corner of an office building in Chantilly, Virginia, accompanied only by my great pal Ed Leon of The Great Courses (with… 

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Announcing A New Series for Ora TV — “Conspiracies, Peccadilloes, and Dirty Little Secrets! Fun and Games with the Great Composers”

I have been busy with a new project that I am now in the position to share with you! I have been writing a series of fifteen eight-minute episodes (1100-1150 words each) for Ora TV, an on-demand digital television network founded in 2012 by Carlos Slim (Forbes Magazine’s 2013 “richest man in the world”) and Larry King. The CEO of Ora TV, a fine gent named Jon Housman, contacted me after reading my December 4 post on Mozart’s death on this very site. Together, we have developed a show entitled: “Conspiracies, Peccadilloes, and Dirty Little Secrets! Fun and Games with the Great Composers” in which each episode focuses on a conspiracy, or a peccadillo, or a dirty little secret from the life of a composer. Aside from the purely salacious, voyeuristic joy of dishing dirt on famous dead people, the point of this series is to render composers, who for reasons mysterious to me are among the most hallowed of historical figures, more real, more human, and more accessible. By doing so, this series is ultimately intended to make their music – which is so often treated like some supra-human thing – more real, more human, and more accessible as… 

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Robert Greenberg Named An Official Steinway Artist

It has been a very good week. I distrust very good weeks. I would explain. By calling this a “good week” I am (obviously) asserting that good things have happened during the last seven (or so) days. And that is true. But saddled (as I am) with my particular psychoneuroses, such a positive assertion is riddled with dangerous implications. You see, by publically admitting that I’ve had a good week I fear I have called down a Karmic wet blanket that will suffocate my present high spirits and render me, once again, susceptible to the existential gloom that is my natural emotional condition. I expect it can all be boiled down to a single unfortunate assumption: that when a good thing happens there must be a bad reason for it. So here’s what’s happened. On Saturday last, I got married, as documented previously on this site. Yes; all good. In fact, all great. Then today (Thursday), I was informed that I’ve been designated a “Steinway Artist” by Steinway & Sons piano manufacturers. This is, no doubt, a tremendous honor, and I have indulged myself mightily by announcing it here on this page. But my ingrained suspicion of positive news has… 

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