The Romantic Symphony – Description

The Romantic Symphony (1820-1910)
by Dr. Robert Butts,
Wednesday, 1:30-3:00 pm, March 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31, 2021

The Romantic period (1820-1910) was the golden age of the symphony. The new aesthetics and social changes of the 19th century impacted music in many ways – both in terms of developing the form and style as well as in terms of it becoming the most important public aspect of orchestral creativity. The period is marked by three distinctive periods, represented by some of the most beloved composers and works. Early Romantic symphonists included Berlioz, Schumann, and Mendelssohn. Middle Romantic composers included Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and Bruckner. The leading late Romantic symphonic composers were led by Mahler and Sibelius. Each generation developed its own definition of the symphony as well as its own meaning. In the 20th century, many composers were inspired by the aesthetics and ideas of romanticism blended with the techniques and styles of modernism.

  • March 3: Early Romantic: Berlioz, Schumann
  • March 10: Mendelssohn; Middle Romantic: Brahms
  • March 17: Tchaikovsky, Dvorak;
  • March 24: Bruckner; Late Romantic: Mahler
  • March 31: Sibelius; 20th century

Dr. Robert Butts has won acclaim as conductor, composer and educator. He is the director of the Baroque Orchestra of NJ, now in its 25th season. He teaches/lectures at Montclair State University, the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew University, NJ Council for the Humanities and the College of Saint Elizabeth. He has conducted major orchestra and opera performances throughout NJ and the US, as well as guest appearances in Romania, the Czech Republic, Russia, Italy and England. Dr. Butts received his MA in Musicology from the University of Iowa with a specialty in 17th and 18th century music and a DMA in conducting from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. He also studied conducting at Julliard with Maestro La Selva. His awards include the 2019 Artist of the Year Award by the New York Classical Music Society; the 2019 Exemplary Leader Award from the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, the 2016 Tourism Award from the Morris County Tourism Bureau, the 2015 Comcast Newsmaker Award from Comcast, and the 2015 Honored Artist Award.

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