Celebrate Christmas at our Concert by Candlelight

Celebrate Christmas at our Concert by Candlelight

Celebrate Christmas with Jackdaws

SOLD OUT! Sorry!
Our annual Christmas concert takes place on Wednesday 18 December at 6:30pm in the beautiful church of St Mary Magdalene, Great Elm, and we invite you to join us.

Mince Pies by Neil Cummings performances from…

• Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg
• Baritone Owain Browne *JUST ANNOUNCED*
• Jackdaws Songbirds
• Jack’s Music Club
• Congregational Carols
• To the piano accompaniment of Colin Hunt

With Mulled wine and mince pies, this charming evening celebration reflects all the faces of Jackdaws musical activities.

All seating is unreserved. The concert should last approximately 2 hours.


Wednesday 18 December, 6:30pm (doors open 6pm)
St Mary Magdalene Church, Great Elm

Winners of the 2019 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Winners of the 2019 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

During the Winners’ announcement, Sir John Tomlinson, one of the judges, addressed the finalists and said of their recitals, “Thank you for eight excellent performances. You have given us a lot of pleasure and it was difficult reaching a decision.” Philip Fowke, who had also been judging, also described his “great pleasure” at listening to the afternoon of performances.

The Winners of the 2019 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are:
First Place
Harriet Burns, Soprano

Second Place
Annabel Kennedy, Mezzo-Soprano

Third Place
Caroline Taylor, Soprano

Accompanist Prize
Ana Manastireanu, playing for Annabel Kennedy

Audience Prize
Rebecca Leggett, Mezzo-Soprano

The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards: 2019 Finalists

The final will be held at the Wigmore Hall, Thursday 14 November, 1-4pm. Adjudicated by Sir John Tomlinson, Emma Bell, Michael Dussek and Chaired by Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg.

One Day Courses this Autumn

One Day Courses this Autumn

Our One Day Courses are open to musicians and non-musicians of all abilities. Running from 10:30am – 4pm, the price includes lunch and tuition, and welcome coffee from 10am. They give the same high-quality tuition you expect at Jackdaws, without taking up a whole weekend.

Lehane-Wishart Studio at JackdawsSinging for the Over Fifties
Penny Jenkins
Sat 30 November

When we ensure that our voices are used correctly, we can continue to enjoy all the benefits that singing brings to our lives as we get older. Penny’s inspirational course is for singers of all abilities, with no upper age limit!
Read more…

Healing with the Voice
Anne Bourne
Sun 1 December

Opera Singer, Teacher and Sound Healer – Anne Bourne gives an introduction to the healing power of your voice. She will encourage you to find your true voice and unlock its healing potential to transform mind, body and spirit. Bring a yoga mat/blanket and notepad.
Read more…

One Day Courses cost £45, including lunch and refreshments.

Understanding Your Voice
Jess Walker

Sat 7 December

With key breathing and vocal exercises to help you develop a healthy and more secure vocal technique, Voice coach Jessica Walker will help you to increase your confidence as a singer and get the most out of your voice.
Read more…

From Panic to Poise
Wendy Skeen
Sun 8 December

Performing can be a deeply enriching experience, yet many musicians experience anxiety when performing in public. Wendy will introduce you to practical strategies drawn from Cognitive Hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming to help manage this anxiety.
Read more…

Masterful Recital from Philip Fowke

Masterful Recital from Philip Fowke

OnPhilip Fowke in the Lehane-Wishart Studio Friday 13 September, pianist Philip Fowke gave a 45 minute recital in the Lehane-Wishart Studio at Jackdaws in Great Elm, which held the audience entranced.

After taking to the Steinway, Philip joked that he had not had a chance to warm up, and would the audience mind if he did so now? Unsure of what to expect – perhaps scales, arpeggios, maybe some Hanon exercises? – there was a pleasant sigh of recognition as Philip began and the audience were treated to an off-programme performance of Grieg’s Melodie, from the op. 47 Lyric Pieces. The studio was instantly filled with the light, repeated-chords and melancholy melody floating above. A delightful introduction to a programme of larger works.

Jackdaws Tutor Philip FowkeThe programme as advertised opened with the third and central movement of Robert Schumann’s Piano Sonata no. 3, a set of variations on a theme by his wife Clara. The day had special significance, being the 200th anniversary of Clara Schumann’s birth, and at a performance to celebrate the opening of a studio whose existence owed great debt to another musical husband and wife pair – mezzo-soprano Maureen Lehane and composer Peter Wishart.

What followed the was another highly-virtuosic compositon, Busoni’s Kammer-Fantasie on Bizet’s Carmen, delivered with effortless panache and style, glittering as the sun shone on the rose garden in the background behind the piano.

Philip Fowke’s impressive programme was brought to a rousing conclusion with the final work, Chopin’s Heroic Polonaise in A flat major. The audience made quite sure Philip was aware of their gratitude with rapturous applause for his masterful programme.

Lehane-Wishart Studio at JackdawsJoin us for our next Open Fridays lunchtime concert at 12:15pm on Friday 20 September, when Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg will be joined by Baritone Owain Browne for a recital of favourite songs and arias accompanied by long-standing Jackdaws accompanist Colin Hunt.

Entries open for the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Entries open for the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2019Entries are now open for the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2019.

The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are unique in recognising potential as well as achievement. For over 20 years, the Award has been a springboard on to international careers in opera house and on the concert stage. For a full history of past winners, who include Anna Devin (2008), Dawid Kimberg (2004), Christopher Maltman (1994), Sarah Fox (1996), Amanda Echalaz (2002), Madeleine Pierard (2009) and Julien van Mellaerts (2015), visit the archive.

Key Information
1st Prize: £2000
Final Round: The Wigmore Hall, 14 November
Singers aged: 22 – 30
Closing date: Friday 18 October

Enter Online Now

Open Fridays

Open Fridays

Lehane-Wishart Studio at JackdawsPlease join us on a Friday in September to see our new development. We will be offering a range of activities and the Jackdaws ‘pop-up’ cafe will be open for coffee, lunch and teas (and of course the famous Jackdaws cake) from 11am to 4pm on Fridays 13, 20 and 27 September.


Saffron van Zwanenberg and Owain BrowneFriday 20 September, 12:15pm
Lunchtime concert

Saffron van Zwanenberg Soprano
Owain Browne Baritone
Accompanied by Colin Hunt

The second of our Open Friday concerts features a selection of songs and arias from our Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg and Jackdaws OperaPLUS alumnus Owain Browne, with much-loved Jackdaws accompanist and supporter Colin Hunt at the piano.

Saffron van Zwanenberg has been Artistic Director at Jackdaws since 2009. She trained at the Royal College of Music, graduating from the Opera Course with Distinction. She maintains a successful directing career alongside her post at Jackdaws.

A graduate of the Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Owain has since studied at the Flanders Opera Studio in Ghent. Recent performances include Luzifer in ausLICHT for Dutch National Opera at the Holland Festival, and Sulpice in Jackdaws OperaPLUS performance of The Team Mascot (aka. Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment).

Tickets: £10
or £20 to include Lunch

20JackdawsJackdaws Piano Club

Fridays 10am to 12 noon

First session 13 September
Further sessions 20 September and 27 September – thereafter to be announced

A chance to meet informally with like-minded pianists to play and share the pieces you are currently practising, and to play together.

Fee: £5 per session

Jackdaws Cafe

Open from 11am to 4pm on Fridays 13, 20 and 27 September serving tea, coffee, and the famous Jackdaws cake.

Lunch served 12 noon to 2pm.

Jackdaws Courses 2019-20

Jackdaws Courses 2019-20

All 2019-20 Courses are Live on our website! With a wealth of wonderful courses, and our new studio now completed, we have an exciting year of music making ahead.

General booking opens on Wednesday 10 July. A full list of courses can be found below with links to course blurbs and tutor biographies.

If we have your address, your hard copy brochure should be with you shortly (they are being printed as we type!) If we don’t have your address and you would like a printed copy, let us know.

We look forward to welcoming you to Jackdaws soon!


Interpreting Song
with Amanda Roocroft
Fri 20 – Sun 22 September 2019

Singing in Russian
with Alexandre Naoumenko
Fri 4 – Sun 6 October 2018

Songs of Mozart and Schumann
with Joan Rodgers
Fri 25 – Sun 27 October 2019

Audition Preparation Weekend
with Audrey Hyland and Saffron van Zwanenberg
Fri 8 – Sun 10 November 2019

Art Songs by African-American
and Black British Composers

with Michael Harper
Fri 24 – Sun 26 January 2020

Sing, Sing, Sing
with Evelyn Tubb and Michael Fields
Fri 7 – Sun 9 February 2020

What’s the Score!
with Phillip Thomas
Fri 21 – Sun 23 February 2020

English Song Weekend
with Sarah Leonard and Stephen Varcoe
Fri 13 – Sun 15 March 2020

Singing in English
with Adrian Thompson
Fri 20 – Sun 22 March 2020

A Song by Any Other Name
with Richard Jackson
Fri 27 – Fri 29 March 2020

The Golden Age of Broadway
with Paul Knight
Fri 24 – Sun 26 April 2020

Singing Handel
with Rosa Mannion
Fri 8 – Sun 10 May 2020

Schubert & Gurney: A Poet’s Dream
with Ian Partridge
Fri 5 – Sun 7 June 2020

Discover Your Voice
with Penny Jenkins
Fri 19 – Sun 21 June 2020

Stagecraft for Singers
with Rosa Mannion and Saffron van Zwanenberg
Thurs 2 – Sun 5 July 2020
Three Day Course

Singer as Artist
with Alison Wells
Fri 10 – Sun 12 July 2020

A Celebration of Lieder and Art Song
with Simon Wallfisch
Fri 7 – Sun 9 August 2020

Opera Workshop
with Mary Plazas and Robert Chevara
Fri 21 – Sun 23 August 2020

Singing in French
with Robin Bowman
Fri 18 – Sun 20 September 2020


Jackdaws Studio in Great ElmFinding Your Voice at the Piano
with Stephen Savage
Fri 27 – Sun 29 September 2019

Playing by Ear for Pleasure and Technique
with Stephen Marquiss
Fri 18 – Sun 20 October 2019

Learning from Chopin
with James Lisney
Fri 1 – Sun 3 September 2019

Practising the Piano
with Graham Fitch
Fri 15 – Sun 17 November 2018

Polishing Your Piano Technique
with Melanie Spanswick
Fri 17 – Sun 19 January 2020

Piano Music from the First Viennese School
with Graeme Humphrey
Fri 31 January – Sun 2 February 2020

Becoming a Confident Pianist
with Timothy Barratt
Fri 28 February – Sun 1 March 2020

The Pianist’s Technical Toolbox
with Alisdair Hogarth
Fri 3 – Sun 5 April 2020

Knowing the Score
with Karl Lutchmayer
Fri 17 – Sun 19 April 2020

From Panic to Poise Weekend
with Wendy Skeen
Fri 1 – Sun 3 May 2020

Beethoven in Context
with Julian Jacobson
Fri 15 – Sun 17 May 2020

The Complete Pianist
with Margaret Fingerhut
Fri 26 – Sun 28 June 2020

Intermediate Piano Summer School
with Mark Tanner
Mon 20 – Thurs 23 July 2020
Three Day Course

Advanced Piano Summer School
with Mark Tanner
Thurs 23 – Sun 26 July 2020
Three Day Course

Piano Workshop: A New Departure
with Philip Fowke
Fri 11 – Sun 13 September 2020

One Day Courses

Family Singing Afternoon
with Caroline Radcliffe
Sunday 13 October 2019

Singing for the Over 50s
with Penny Jenkins
Saturday 30 November 2019

Healing with the Voice
with Anne Bourne
Sunday 1 December 2019

Understanding Your Voice
with Jessica Walker
Saturday 7 December 2019

From Panic to Poise One Day Course
with Wendy Skeen
Sunday 8 December 2019


Winter Guitar Ensemble
with Eden Stell Guitar Duo
Thurs 12 – Sun 15 December 2019
Three Day Course

Summer Guitar Ensemble
with Eden Stell Guitar Duo
Thurs 21 – Sun 24 May 2020
Three Day Course

Strings & Things: Intermediate – Advanced
with Nic Fallowfield
Thurs 13 – Sun 16 August 2020
Three Day Course

Violin and Viola Workshop
with Madeleine Mitchell
Fri 28 – Sun 30 August 2020

Stylish Baroque
with Theresa Caudle and Alastair Ross
Fri 4 – Sun 6 September 2019


Recorder Weekend
with Anna Stegmann
Fri 22 – Sun 24 November 2019

The City Musick – Renaissance Wind Band Music for Court & City
with William Lyons and Richard Thomas
Fri 14 – Sun 16 February 2020

with David Campbell
Fri 6 – Sun 8 March 2020

Oboe Weekend
with Sarah Francis and Ruth Watson
Fri 29 May – Sun 31 May 2020

Bassoon Workshop – From Reed to Recital
with Robert Codd
Fri 12 – Sun 14 June 2020

Chamber Music Weekend
with Sarah Francis, Robert Codd, Ian Mitchell and Stephen Gutman
Fri 17 – Sun 19 July 2020

Building Blog – Part Three

Building Blog – Part Three

With just a short pause for a break over Christmas, progress on the new Jackdaws studio has taken a huge step forward since our last update in October.

Outside, the roof tiles, windows and doors have transformed the façade. Meanwhile, work inside continues to create a superb new studio with large, bi-fold doors opening out on to the rose garden which can now be appreciated more fully. The underfloor heating makes this space extremely pleasant to work in on these cold frosty days.

Now that the weekend courses have resumed after the Christmas break, our builder Paul’s final job each Friday afternoon is to ensure the site is ready for the arrival of our participants. Courses have continued to run throughout the development and we are keen to move our courses into the new studio as soon as possible.

We are still fundraising for the studio, to help with furnishing and equipment, and there is time yet to have your donation recognised on the special 20Jackdaws wall-mounted display which will feature in the new building. The commission will celebrate and thank all our supporters who have contributed to the project since its inception in 2012. Your donations are as important to us now as they were then, and we rely on them to keep progress moving.

If you wish to add your name to our list of supporters, there are a number of ways you can do so – get in touch with us and let us know how you would like to help.


The Winners of the 2018 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

The Winners of the 2018 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Following a close final at the Wigmore Hall this afternoon, Jackdaws are delighted to announce the winners of the 26th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards:

MLVA2018First Prize
James Atkinson, Baritone

Second Prize
Charlotte Bowden, Soprano

Third Prize
Verity Wingate, Soprano

Accompanist Prize
Michael Pandya, playing for Charlotte Bowden

Audience Prize
Charlotte Bowden, Soprano

The judges – Amanda Roocroft, Patricia Bardon, Alisdair Hogarth and Saffron van Zwanenberg – said this has been the finest year for interpretations of Peter Wishart’s music.

All finalists were required to present a programme consisting of four items, two own choice items in addition to one song by each of the two set composers; Handel, of whose music Maureen Lehane was a renowned interpreter, and Peter Wishart, her late husband in whose memory the awards were founded.

The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are possible because of supported from The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, AIMS, Cooper Hall Emerging Artists, and Geoffrey & Margaret Batten. The Audience Prize was supported by the Jackdaws Trustees.


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