Music Speaks

A Four-Session Course with Seth Knopp
Saturdays, 10:30am-12:30pm
March 16, 23, 30, and April 6
Putney, Vermont


Course fee: $250 | Register Online
Please note that the class size is limited to 12 participants.
For those who do not live locally, housing options are available.


Do I need to be a musician to take this course?
Music Speaks is open to non-musicians and musicians alike.
Will you be offering Music Speaks by Zoom?
This first Music Speaks course is for in-person attendance only. We are testing the possibility of a Zoom version in the future.
If I live out of town and wish to come up the night before, is there a place for me to stay?
Yes! We have recently renovated the Wells House, which is located right on Main Street in Putney. The home of our founders and the site of the original Yellow Barn, it offers multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, plus a full kitchen. In addition, we have special arrangements with nearby hotels and inns. Contact us for rates and more information.


How music speaks to us determines why we listen.
Music Speaks is a course based on this single proposition.
For the first time, Yellow Barn offers the opportunity to enroll in Music Speaks, an in-person course developed and taught by its Artistic Director, Seth Knopp. Over the span of four weekly sessions augmented with independent assignments, students will explore the course proposition, arriving at an understanding of the more complex, shifting relationships that allow music to speak, and that determine its importance in our lives.
For me, the musical experience is not first or foremost a history lesson or anthology. We may come away from concert programs knowing more about how the musical world has organized itself by natural evolution, by geography, by invention, by cultural upheaval, but in the end, we are left with one fundamental continuum crystalized in those moments when composer-interpreter-listener become inseparable, and also invisible. Those are the rare moments that move us unmistakably, but that we cannot quantify or replicate, when all that is left is Music, and its love affair with itself. 
—Seth Knopp


Pianist Seth Knopp is a founding member of the Peabody Trio, recipient of the 1989 Naumburg Award. After making its Alice Tully Hall debut in 1990, the trio performed on the most important chamber music stages nationally and internationally. 
In over 25 years as Artistic Director of Yellow Barn, Seth has built an international center for chamber music, bringing musicians and audiences to Putney, Vermont each summer. Yellow Barn’s holistic philosophy and programming focuses listeners in new ways and has become an important influence in the music world. In 2008, he created Yellow Barn’s Artist Residencies, the first residency program for performing musicians in the United States. 
In 2010, Seth founded and became the artistic director of Soundings: New Music at the Nasher, a concert series at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, exploring the unique lens through which music helps us better understand our world. 
Recent projects include the creation of Beethoven Walks, transcriptions of Bach’s Musical Offering and Chaconne, the premiere recording of Jörg Widmann’s song cycle Das Heiße Herz with baritone William Sharp and Eric Nathan's song cycle Some Favored Nook with William Sharp and soprano Tony Arnold, and performances with members of the Brentano String Quartet for the opening of the Chou Wen-chung Center in Guangzhou, China.
For thirty-five years Seth was a member of the piano and chamber music faculties at the Peabody Institute. His solo and chamber music performances can be heard on the Artek, Koch, and New World Records labels. He studied with Leonard Shure at New England Conservatory, Nathan Schwartz at San Francisco Conservatory, and with Leon Fleisher.