Schubert's String Quartets


Schubert’s first experience of string quartets came from playing the viola in a quartet with his father and brothers at home and his first essays in this medium were written for the family quartet. These earliest quartets demonstrate the extraordinary musical talent that gained Schubert a scholarship to the cathedral school in Vienna where his compositional gifts were nurtured by Salieri – who used to say that Schubert would quite possibly be his greatest work.

Whilst Schubert’s crowning achievement is his astonishing outpouring of lieder, he continued to write string quartets throughout his life, and the same gift for melody informs these works, sometimes literally when he quotes from his songs in his quartets. The later quartets evolve from the classical Viennese style of his early works into a more Romantic style, full of drama. This day school will survey his quartet output, from the works of his teens through to the famous Rosamunde and Death and the Maiden quartets.

Programme details

9.15am  Registration

9.30am  Introduction. Schubert’s earliest string quartets

10.45am  Coffee/tea break

11.15am  Schubert’s stylistic development

12.30pm  Lunch break

2.00pm  The “middle” period

3.15pm  Coffee/tea break

3.45pm  Schubert’s last quartets

5.00pm  Course ends


Description Costs
Standard course fee £80.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Peter Copley


Peter Copley D.Phil, MA, B.mus is a composer, cellist and pianist. He is a visiting lecturer at OUDCE, the University of Sussex and for the Open University, where he has been a Research Associate for the music faculty.

IT requirements

The University of Oxford uses Microsoft Teams for our learning environment, where students and tutors will discuss and interact in real time. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

If you have not used the Microsoft Teams app before, once you click the joining link you will be invited to download it (this is free). Once you have downloaded the app, please test before the start of your course. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer, you will also be offered the option of connecting using a web browser. If you connect via a web browser, Chrome is recommended.