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Our FREE monthly lecture series dives into the world of music. This series of discussions brings you closer to the music with a different topic each month. Each topic and speaker is chosen to specifically enhance our MasterWorks concert series. The atmosphere is casual and engaging.

Bring your lunch, relax, and enjoy!

All in the Family: Brahms and the Schumanns

March 9th, 2020 at noon

Musical inspiration comes from many places. In the case of Robert Schummann, his wife Clara was a great source of inspiration. Did she inspire other composers? How did Johannes Brahms fit into their family? M.J. Albacete explores these questions and examines the lives of other composers to find out how relationships affected the music they wrote.


After a long career with the Canton Museum of Art, M. J. Albacete retired as Executive Director Emeritus in 2013. During most of that time, MJ and his wife Pat were patrons of the Canton Symphony, and at least once a year MJ was a CSO pre-concert lecturer. For five years MJ reviewed CSO concerts for the Canton Repository. He has presented lectures on music at various venues including the Cleveland and Akron Orchestras, with programs at the Wagner Societies in New York and Boston. MJ has been involved in several educational programs with the CSO, and this season presents his third lecture in the ConverZations series. He and his wife are also members of the CSO Symphony League. Currently an Adjunct Professor on the history of architecture at Kent State University Stark Campus, he is a “regular” at Walsh University’s Lifetime Learning program and is a popular speaker in our community on a variety of topics.

Opera or Poetry? Classical Choral Music

April 13th, 2020 at noon

One of the most fractious debates in Romantic music was about how demonstrative it should be. Should music just be music and give pleasure in and of itself, or should it serve broader ends, relating ideas beyond the notes by helping to emphasize ideas of a picture, emotions, or a story? Professor McGuire examines Romantic choral and instrumental music by Brahms, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Verdi, and Wagner, investigating the tension between what music could do and what composers wanted music to achieve.


Charles Edward McGuire is Professor of Musicology at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. His areas of scholarly interest are the music of Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, the British music festival, sight-singing techniques, and the intersection of choral singing and moral reform movements. His publications include Music and Victorian Philanthropy: The Tonic Sol-fa Movement (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Elgar’s Oratorios: The Creation of an Epic Narrative (Ashgate, 2002) and The Historical Dictionary of English Music (Scarecrow, 2011), which he co-authored with Oberlin colleague Professor Steven Plank, as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. McGuire has been a Fulbright Scholar at the Department of Music of the University of York (2012-2013), and a Humanities Writ Large Fellow at Duke University (2015-2016). He is the Principal Investigator of the Musical Festivals Database, and is writing a history of British musical festivals from 1695-1940.

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