Humanities Moments

Forking Paths

Contributed by Barbara Barry, 72, music theorist and philosopher
Piano and Sheet Music
My music education was primarily as a professional pianist. As part of this training, I went to the Dartington Hall international summer school in music to play in the piano master class by William Glock, who was Head of the BBC and a strong supporter of young musicians. Also at Dartington was Hans Keller, Head of BBC Modern Music and an expert on the works of Beethoven and Schoenberg. Keller gave a series of analytic seminars on Beethoven's late string quartets with a live string quartet to play the examples, the Chilingirian Quartet. While I had studied musical forms in college, Keller's seminars were a revelation of insight into these extraordinary works, their logic of structure and power of innovation. I decided, suddenly and definitely, that this was the path in music I was going to follow. During the course of the summer school I got to know Keller, and he encouraged me to bring my analytic work on Schoenberg to him at the BBC, which I did. Much of my professional work as a teacher, educator and writer stemmed from this powerful 'centeredness' of musical understanding: that music, and the humanities more broadly are essential parts of human experience and understanding. They give us the tools to delve deeply and internally into texts and works to find meaning, and opportunities to share those insights with others.

Title

Forking Paths

Description

My music education was primarily as a professional pianist. As part of this training, I went to the Dartington Hall international summer school in music to play in the piano master class by William Glock, who was Head of the BBC and a strong supporter of young musicians. Also at Dartington was Hans Keller, Head of BBC Modern Music and an expert on the works of Beethoven and Schoenberg. Keller gave a series of analytic seminars on Beethoven's late string quartets with a live string quartet to play the examples, the Chilingirian Quartet. While I had studied musical forms in college, Keller's seminars were a revelation of insight into these extraordinary works, their logic of structure and power of innovation. I decided, suddenly and definitely, that this was the path in music I was going to follow. During the course of the summer school I got to know Keller, and he encouraged me to bring my analytic work on Schoenberg to him at the BBC, which I did. Much of my professional work as a teacher, educator and writer stemmed from this powerful 'centeredness' of musical understanding: that music, and the humanities more broadly are essential parts of human experience and understanding. They give us the tools to delve deeply and internally into texts and works to find meaning, and opportunities to share those insights with others.

Creator

Beethoven

Source

Seminar in the late Beethoven quartets at Dartington Hall

Date

1978

Contributor

Barbara Barry, 72, music theorist and philosopher

Identifier

forking-paths

Referrer

Email

Location