Joni Mitchell: The Renaissance Woman

Course Number


Study Group Leader (SGL)

Julian Moehring


This course will take place virtually on Zoom with a cap of 40. Participation in this course requires a device (ideally a computer or tablet, rather than a cell phone) with a camera and microphone in good working order and basic familiarity with using Zoom and accessing email.

10-Week Course

Feb. 26 - May 6. No Class April 22.


One of the most influential songwriters of all time, Joni Mitchell emerged from the 60s folk circuit as a genre-defying artist, reinventing her music again and again over the span of her nineteen albums, while unfailingly remaining true to her artistic self. Her deeply personal lyric writing has struck a chord with generations of fans. She has been highly regarded as a musical innovator by her peers and collaborators, folk, jazz and pop musicians alike. As a woman in a male-dominated music industry, she has been a role model for many of today’s female artists. Equally gifted as a lyricist, composer, singer and instrumentalist, while also finding expression in other disciplines, such as painting and dance, she may very well be considered one of the most complete artists of all time, a true Renaissance woman.

This course will deepen our understanding and appreciation of Joni Mitchell’s songwriting from both the lyrical and the musical point of view. We will explore her enormous catalogue of genre-shifting music and her lasting influence on musicians, songwriters and artists as well as her place in culture from the 60s until today. On a very personal level, we will find inspiration in Joni Mitchell’s unwavering search for pure expression of her inner self and in the philosophical background of her lyrics.  

Group Leadership Style

Roughly the same amount of lecture and discussion.

Course Materials

The SGL will provide weekly playlists of a selection of songs together with lyric sheets, as well as other reading material, interviews, videos, pictures and paintings, all easily accessible on a dedicated website. 

Preparation Time

Approximately 1 hour of dedicated listening and reading.


Julian Moehring is a singer-songwriter, pianist and music producer from Germany.  A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he now works as a songwriter, producer, performer and educator in the fields of jazz, folk, and pop music. Under his artist name Julian Moreen he has toured in Asia, Europe, and the United States and taught songwriting, composition and piano classes at schools and universities. In 2023 he finished production on two albums with his original songs. Previously, he led the course “Leonard Cohen: A Pop-Star Poet" for three semesters at BOLLI. This is the second time leading his Joni Mitchell course.