Curious Minds: Leonard Cohen: Words and Music



Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Thu, Feb 8, 2018 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Thu, Feb 22, 2018 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Thu, Mar 1, 2018 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Thu, Mar 8, 2018 10:00 AM


Leonard Cohen was one of the great literary and musical figures in Canadian history. From his affecting and skillful early poetry and novels to his stunning and enduring music, Cohen's work has captivated generations of fans across the country and around the world. Best remembered for iconic musical compositions like "Hallelujah" and "Suzanne," and for his hypnotic baritone singing voice, Cohen was also a fascinating public figure, with passionate love affairs, rich friendships and life-changing adventures in places like Israel, the Greek island of Hydra and the Zen Center in California where he became a Buddhist monk. A year after his death at 82, Cohen’s life and work are as inspirational as ever, full of keen observations and impassioned writing and music that will stand the test of time.

In this six-week course, Hot Docs favourite Dr. Mike Daley (The Beatles and their World, Bob Dylan: Words and Music) tells the incredible life story of Leonard Cohen in detail, using the best available research. Mike will select some of Cohen's best poetic, prose and lyric work for deeper discussion, but we won't forget about his music—the memorable melodies, Cohen's haunting Spanish-style guitar playing and his laconic vocal delivery.

Doors will open one hour before the first class.
Registrants will receive supplementary materials in advance of their first class.

Thursdays, January 25-March 8
*Please note: no class February 15

January 25: Golden boy of Montreal poetry
In this lecture we will cover Leonard Cohen's childhood and family life, continuing through his university career and the publications of his first four books of poetry and prose. We'll follow him from Montreal to Hydra.

February 1: New York, Nashville and the First Three Albums
Cohen slipped fairly easily from a cult following as a poet to popular acclaim as a singer-songwriter. We'll cover the transition and hear classics like "Suzanne" "Famous Blue Raincoat" and "Bird on the Wire."

February 8: Concerts and Collaborations
The first Leonard Cohen concert tour in 1970 was a riotous affair and the beginning of a run of memorable concerts. Cohen finished the decade with the chaotic, Phil Spector-produced Death of a Ladies Man and the lovely Recent Songs.

February 22: Challenges and a Comeback
Facing a new pop music landscape in the 1980s, Cohen began to compose his music on a synthesizer and make promotional music videos. His career was at a low ebb until a series of tribute albums, as well as his own strong albums I'm Your Man and The Future, revived his fame and acclaim.

Corresponding Film Screening: Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man

Wednesday, February 21 - 8:30 PM & Thursday, February 22 - 1:00 PM 

March 1: The Icon and the Monk
Not long after winning the Juno award for best male vocalist ("only in Canada," he quipped) in 1993, Leonard Cohen entered Mount Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles and lived the life of a Zen Buddhist monk for five years. Emerging to record a new album in 2000, he looked towards retirement, but a financial crisis forced him to resume touring -- much to the delight of his fans. 

Corresponding Film Screening: Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man

Thursday, March 1 - 1:00 PM 

March 8: Last Works
Along with his acclaimed concert tours, Cohen resumed publishing written work with Book of Longing in 2006 and recorded collaborations with his backup singers. His last three albums, culminating with You Want It Darker, represent some of his best work. With his death in November 2016 at 82, Leonard Cohen is silenced but the accolades and tributes continue for this great Canadian cultural icon.

Additional Information

Six-week course: $63 (Members: $54, $42, Free) - REGISTER NOW
Single class: $21 (Members: $17, $14, Free)

See all Curious Minds courses for Winter 2018

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