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Curtis Institute of Music faculty, renowned for training the world's finest young musicians, teach free online courses designed to engage lifelong learners and to build a global music community so that our students, alumni, and the art form thrive.

The Curtis Institute of Music was the first classical music conservatory to partner with Coursera to create and distribute a massive open online course (MOOC). Since launching its first class in Fall 2013, Curtis has reached students, from teens to lifelong learners, in countries from Australia to Canada, from India to Brazil. A global community emerged as participants engaged in forum discussions about the course content and their own discoveries in classical music. Faculty directly interacted with students in online chats and live Q-and-A sessions. Most recently, we launched Part 2 of Jonathan Biss's Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas at the end of 2016.



Taught by Jonathan Biss

Watch lecture videos, join a global online conversation, and review what you've learned in multiple-choice quizzes. This course takes an inside-out look at the 32 piano sonatas from the point of view of a performer. Each lecture focuses on specific sonatas and an aspect of Beethoven’s music exemplified by it. These include: the relationship between Beethoven the pianist and Beethoven the composer; the critical role improvisation plays in his highly structured music; his mixing of extremely refined music with rougher elements; and the often surprising ways in which the events of his life influenced his compositional process and the character of the music he was writing.

Inspired after the debut run of the course, Mr. Biss remarked on the "number of people who have told me, in one way or another, that being exposed to a performer’s relationship to the music he plays, with all its layers and complexities, has allowed them to hear music in a way they hadn’t been able to previously."
Sign up for Part 1
Sign up for Part 2, launched in December 2016

The World of the String Quartet

Arnold Steinhardt, first violin of the internationally acclaimed Guarneri String Quartet, invites music listeners to the amazingly diverse world of the string quartet repertoire and ensemble. Join him and interpretive analysis instructor Mia Chung to hear the extraordinary stories behind great repertoire, discover renowned performers' experiences, and develop keen insight as a listener.

Repertoire includes 32 quartets written by 24 composers and performed by 26 professional string quartets. Composers span from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert to Bartók, Debussy, Ravel, Schoenberg, and Ives, among others. Throughout the course, the Aizuri Quartet, quartet in residence at Curtis welcomes us into the player's perspective, as they demonstrate how notes, ideas, and skill emerge as breathtaking music. 

Join the class now