Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Free Lectures on Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas by Jonathan Biss



Happy New Year, everyone!  It’s good to be back after a very busy holiday season.

Great news for piano music lovers!  Pianist Jonathan Biss is back with his third series of lectures on Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas on  Biss is in the process of recording all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.

This series, like the previous two, is designed for everyone—no prior knowledge is needed.  And if you missed the first two lecture series, they are also available on Coursera.  The first series provides a wealth of background information to understand Beethoven’s world and the sonata form.  I wrote about series one here.  The second series focuses on the exploration of individual sonatas, including the Waldstein and Pathétique.

Here are links for the three lecture series on Coursera

Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas

Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Part 2

Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Part 3.

Need more Beethoven?  This post provides more resources for learning more about Beethoven.

Here is a video of Biss playing a portion of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 5 in C minor.

You can hear the entire sonata here.


Image attribution:  Beethoven, Painting by Carl Jäger (1833-1887), public domain, via Wikimedia Commons,

2 thoughts on “Free Lectures on Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas by Jonathan Biss

  1. A friend of my youth who adored Beethoven and never tired of saying to me, you MUST listen to THIS, persuaded me, in the time that followed our college days together, to devote much of my free time over a two-year period to simply listening to every piece I could get my hands on in the library. Reading liner notes while playing vinyl on turntables in the library. That was my one and only music appreciation experience. During that time the Waldstein sonata, Opus 54, completely mesmerized me. I have listened to it at least three times in the last year. Reverberation. Shadows. I will go through these, and thank you for posting. Of all the things that matter in life, music may matter most.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ll get no argument with me there! Reading liner notes while listening to vinyl was a fine way to get a musical education, and the only one open to a lot of us, and what a pleasant education that was. You’ve taken me back in time to my old room, mammoth headphones, lounging in a comfy chair, leg draped over the arm, and absorbing music. I might just have to spin some vinyl today!


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