1. On Wednesday, August 1, 2018, Gil Harel presented his fourth and final lecture in his Beethoven series.

    Week 4: Concerti, Masses, Sonatas, and the Triumph of Symphony No. 9
    The last years of Ludwig van Beethoven's life could not have been pleasant ones for the composer. Suffering from various physical maladies which in turn affected his psyche, the grizzled composer must have drawn comfort through the one act which had continued to sustain him throughout his difficulties: composing. Among the masterpieces of this "late" period, historians and musicologists often cite the pinnacles reached in the realms of solo piano works (e.g., the op. 111 sonata), chamber music (e.g., the op. 131 string quartet), and his colossal and challenging setting of the Catholic Mass Ordinary, the Missa Solemnis. Towering above perhaps everything else sits the famous Symphony no. 9, with a finale setting the words of Schiller's famous "Ode to Joy" poem. For listeners in the post-Beethoven world, this symphony has often imbued a feeling of transcendence - representing the apex of human achievement and sending out a message of hope and peace which continues to resonate today.

    Can't make the live event? Check out the video recording at DarienLibrary.tv

    About the Presenter
    Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from classical repertoire to jazz and popular music, as well as opera, medieval, and renaissance music. Previously, he has served on the faculty at CUNY Baruch College, where he was awarded the prestigious "Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching", as well as the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. Currently, he teaches at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he was recently presented with the coveted "Merit Award for Exemplary Service to the College." At NVCC, Dr. Harel conducts the college chorale, teaches music history and theory, and serves as musical director of theater productions. Outside of teaching, he enjoys staying active as a pianist and vocalist.

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  2. On Wednesday, July 25, 2018, Gil Harel presented the third lecture in his Beethoven series.

    Week 3: Fate Knocking at the Door: Beethoven's Symphony no. 5
    Perhaps no musical motive is as iconic and instantly recognizable as that which begins Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 in C minor. Contemporary accounts suggest that this music strikes us today much as it struck listeners 200 years ago. Audience members are often captivated by the sense of gloom and urgency which begins the work, and are taken along an odyssey which introduces lyrical determination (mvt. 2) before yielding to a demonic scherzo (mvt. 3) and finally melting into the triumphant fanfare of the finale. The symphony constitutes an important watershed in the development of classical music, and marks what many commentators describe as a foreshadowing of the romantic style. For Beethoven, the symphony may have symbolized something deeply personal.

    Can't make the live event? Check out the video recording at DarienLibrary.tv

    About the Presenter
    Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from classical repertoire to jazz and popular music, as well as opera, medieval, and renaissance music. Previously, he has served on the faculty at CUNY Baruch College, where he was awarded the prestigious "Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching", as well as the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. Currently, he teaches at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he was recently presented with the coveted "Merit Award for Exemplary Service to the College." At NVCC, Dr. Harel conducts the college chorale, teaches music history and theory, and serves as musical director of theater productions. Outside of teaching, he enjoys staying active as a pianist and vocalist.

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  3. On Wednesday, July 18, 2018, Gil Harel returned for the second lecture in his Beethoven series.

    Week 2: The 'Heroic' Beethoven
    Though his reputation had been established with early masterpieces (such as the "Sonata Pathétique"), Beethoven's legacy was perhaps cemented when he completed his Symphony no. 3 (Sinfonia Eroica) in 1803. Contemporary accounts relate that audiences were initially polarized by the work, as it presented them with a symphony whose length and scope was completely unprecedented. Historians, connoisseurs, and casual listeners alike are often fascinated by this work for many reasons. Chief among these is the fact that Beethoven's hearing had deteriorated considerably by the time the symphony was premiered. The composer's resolve to write music in the face of this relentless malady planted the seeds for the Demigod status future artists would confer upon him.

    Can't make the live event? Check out the video recording at DarienLibrary.tv

    About the Presenter
    Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from classical repertoire to jazz and popular music, as well as opera, medieval, and renaissance music. Previously, he has served on the faculty at CUNY Baruch College, where he was awarded the prestigious "Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching", as well as the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. Currently, he teaches at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he was recently presented with the coveted "Merit Award for Exemplary Service to the College." At NVCC, Dr. Harel conducts the college chorale, teaches music history and theory, and serves as musical director of theater productions. Outside of teaching, he enjoys staying active as a pianist and vocalist.

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  4. On Wednesday, July 11, 2018, Gil Harel kicked off the first lecture in his new Beethoven series.

    Week 1: Beethoven in the Twilight of the Enlightenment
    Ludwig van Beethoven was not yet 6 years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed. This perhaps serves to remind us that the young composer grew up in an era very much dominated by Enlightenment thoughts and philosophies. And yet, by the time he moved to Vienna to pursue his destiny in the great "City of Musicians", society was changing rapidly. During this program, we will discuss Beethoven's childhood and adolescence, comparing him - as is so often the case - to W. A. Mozart. Our repertoire discussion will cover works which reflect the logical and rational aspects of the late 18th century, as well as works which foreshadow the deeply personal and passionate attributes evinced by art of the coming era.

    Can't make the live event? Check out the video recording at DarienLibrary.tv

    About the Presenter
    Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from classical repertoire to jazz and popular music, as well as opera, medieval, and renaissance music. Previously, he has served on the faculty at CUNY Baruch College, where he was awarded the prestigious "Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching", as well as the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. Currently, he teaches at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he was recently presented with the coveted "Merit Award for Exemplary Service to the College." At NVCC, Dr. Harel conducts the college chorale, teaches music history and theory, and serves as musical director of theater productions. Outside of teaching, he enjoys staying active as a pianist and vocalist.

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  5. On Thursday, May 10, 2018, national bestsellnig authors Dee Davis and Jamie Beck shared secrets about how to get published.

    Interested in publishing a book? Join authors Dee Davis and Jamie Beck to learn how to polish your manuscript, what it takes to get it published, and how to promote your work. This discussion will cover traditional and self-publishing options.

    About the Authors
    National bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than one million copies. She’s a 2017 Booksellers’ Best Award finalist, and critics at Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” Her tenth book, ALL WE KNEW, released in January. In addition to writing, she enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking, and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family. Fans can learn more about her on her website: jamiebeck.com, which includes a fun “Extras” page with photos, videos, and playlists. She also loves interacting with everyone at facebook.com/JamieBeckBooks.

    Bestselling author Dee Davis has a masters degree in public administration. Her first novel was published in 2000. Since then, she’s won the RT Reviewers Choice, Booksellers Best, Golden Leaf, Texas Gold and Prism awards, and been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award and the Holt. She was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Romance Writers and has also been nominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award for romantic suspense from Romantic Times. In addition, she is Hall of Fame member of the New Jersey Romance Writers and was awarded an Odyssey Medal from Hendrix College. Dee is the author of over thirty novels and novellas.

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