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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas by Curtis Institute of Music

557 ratings
132 reviews

About the Course

Our relationship to Beethoven is a deep and paradoxical one. For many musicians, he represents a kind of holy grail: His music has an intensity, rigor, and profundity which keep us in its thrall, and it is perhaps unequalled in the interpretive, technical, and even spiritual challenges it poses to performers. At the same time, Beethoven’s music is casually familiar to millions of people who do not attend concerts or consider themselves musically inclined. Two hundred years after his death, he is everywhere in the culture, yet still represents its summit. This course takes an inside-out look at the 32 piano sonatas from the point of view of a performer. Each lecture will focus on one sonata and an aspect of Beethoven’s music exemplified by it. (These might 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.) The course will feature some analysis and historical background, but its perspective is that of a player, not a musicologist. Its main aim is to explore and demystify the work of the performer, even while embracing the eternal mystery of Beethoven’s music itself. This season's Curtis courses are sponsored by Linda Richardson in loving memory of her husband, Dr. Paul Richardson. The Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation supports Curtis's lifelong learning initiatives....

Top reviews

Jun 2, 2020

This course and Mr. Biss' immense knowledge of Beethoven's sonatas and that era has given me a new interest in classical music. I can understand and speak about it more confidently than ever!

Aug 22, 2016

Fascinating trip through the marvellous Beethoven sonatas.\n\nAlthough I love them since many years, I'm very happy to see that It's always possible to progress.\n\nMany thanks Jonathan.

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101 - 125 of 131 Reviews for Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas

By António M d S A

Jan 26, 2017

Thank you very much.

By Percy Y

Nov 1, 2015

Exciting and Clear !

By Rafael S

Mar 20, 2016

So far, excellent!

By Karim T R

Feb 9, 2017

Incredible class.

By wang p

Nov 12, 2015



Sep 3, 2016

Great course!

By Jacob F

Aug 15, 2015

great teacher

By Beethoven

Feb 8, 2016


By Ji Y

Aug 15, 2015

Pretty good!

By elizabeth c

Feb 7, 2019


By Tom M

Jan 19, 2016

Good stuff.

By Ignacio T A

Oct 18, 2016


By Wan Y

Sep 1, 2016


By Kenneth J

Jun 17, 2016

very good

By Dongfang S

May 9, 2016

Super good

By Lizao L

Oct 31, 2015

Very nice.

By Rogerio A G F

Aug 28, 2015


By Leora W

Aug 23, 2015


By Sebastian G

Aug 23, 2015


By sean f

Sep 19, 2015


By Miguel A V

Aug 21, 2015


By Thaís F L

Jun 28, 2016


By Peter C

Oct 10, 2016

This was an enjoyable course taught by someone who is obviously not only a superb pianist and musician but also completely in love with Beethoven's piano music. The reason for my 4-star rather than 5-star rating was that I felt the teaching would have benefited from a few visual aids as well as demonstrations at the keyboard. As Mr Biss appeared equally enthusiastic about the music of Haydn, perhaps we might look forward to 'Exploring Haydn's Piano Sonatas' in the future?

By Rob E

Jul 11, 2016

The course is rich in information and I appreciated the fast pace of the professor's lectures (especially his enthusiasm and passion for the subject which I found delightfully infectious ha) - however I feel that for many people his very quick elocution was perhaps a bit of a minor hindrance for those that process information a touch slower. I definitely plan to resume this course as I enjoyed the professor's manner and passion.

By Abhijit B

Jul 1, 2017

It is a beautiful course for the fans of classical music and specially for the fans of Beethoven! Prof. Jonathan is really passionate about the music of Beethoven which is evident from his style of analyzing his sonatas. Although sometimes the course becomes too technical we enjoy it once we listen to the music and understand the nuances of the composition. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and will join next course too.