Archive for May 2016

Summer at the Keys

Summer at the Keys

Summer is a wonderful time for music. What better time to enjoy a classical music retreat at Jackdaws, where you can focus entirely on your music.

 

Jackdaws Tutor Elena RiuThe Pianist Within
with Elena Riu

“Its lovely to have a weekend away, share music, make new friends and have lovely meals cooked..bliss.”

Elena Riu’s weekends in Great Elm are something a little different to your average piano course. Elena, who trained in El Sistema, the revolutionary music education system in Venezuela which also produced Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bólivar Symphony Orchestra, begins with a revised timetable and introduces simple stretches and relaxation exercises to help you calm those pre-performance nerves.

As Professor of Piano at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, her credentials are in no doubt, and her continued success as a specialist performer of South American and Spanish music gives an exciting twist to this unique weekend. In 2016, a significant anniversary for two of Spain’s most renowned composers – Manuel da Falla and Enrique Granados, there is no better time to explore this wonderful music and try a new approach to the piano.

The Pianist Within
Friday 17 – 19 June 2016
Deposit: £50
B&B: Available
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Jackdaws Tutor Julian JacobsonSharpen Up Your Chopin
with Julian Jacobson

“There is something fundamentally personal and at the same time so very masterly in his playing that he may be called a really perfect virtuoso.” – Felix Mendelssohn on Chopin

Julian Jacobson, whose own playing “reveals the known repertoire of sonatas by Haydn and Chopin in a clearer, penetrating and often revelatory light” (The Oxford Times), leads another composer focused weekend at Jackdaws. Previous weekends, highlighting composers such as Beethoven and Liszt, have been received enthusiastically by pianists wanting to explore the music of these composers who are so dominating in the central repertoire.

More than 260 years on, Chopin’s music still glitters, shining a light directly onto the deepest of human emotions with unrivaled power and delicacy. To understand Chopin’s music is to understand expression at the piano.

Sharpen Up Your Chopin
Friday 1 – Sunday 3 July 2016
Depost: £50
B&B: Available
Book now

Dutch Piano Pedagogue Caecilia Andriessen returns to the UK for the final time

Dutch Piano Pedagogue Caecilia Andriessen returns to the UK for the final time

Caecilia AndriessenIn 1995, Dutch pianist Caecilia Andriessen came to Jackdaws in Somerset with a new idea for a music course. A piano ensemble course. Maureen Lehane, Jackdaws founder and then Artistic Director, was intrigued to find out exactly what she meant.

Caecilia Andriessen is known in her native Netherlands for her unusual brand of piano ensembles – that is, multiple people at multiple pianos playing together in the same way that string or wind players might. She didn’t invent the genre – with composers such as Liszt also writing for groups of pianists – but Caecilia Andriessen is known worldwide for being one of the largest advocates of this type of pianism. Her arrangements and publications, not to mention performances, are praised for their style, charm and individual ambition; one book of arrangements Spelen met Liszt “Playing with Liszt” is for 5 pianos played by 15 pianists (or multiples thereof)!

Back in 1995, Caecilia Andriessen arrived at Jackdaws, bringing a few Dutch friends and pupils with her, with the remainder of the course places taken by musicians from the local area. They played music by Bach, Mendelssohn and others… all with the little twist that she had arranged all the music herself for multiple pianos playing simultaneously.

Piano Ensembles at Jackdaws with Caecilia AndriessenThe course sees pianists playing in ensembles just like string or wind players might. This does not mean four players at one piano, it means four players at four pianos – each pianist with their own full part. They play music from the 17th to the 21st centuries, either composed or arranged for piano ensemble by the tutor. The course in 1995 was a huge success and Maureen Lehane had invited the new tutor back the following year before she had even left.

Jackdaws has developed a great deal since 1995; it now approaches its 25th anniversary and is under the direction of Saffron van Zwanenberg, but the Piano Ensemble course still runs every year.

On Friday 27 May, Caecilia Andriessen will begin her Pianos for All weekend for the 21st and final time. Starting the course with her will be one particular participant, her student Paul Kocken, who has made the trip over from The Hague to Great Elm with her every year since 1995. He says,

Pianos for All weekend course with Caecilia Andriessen at Jackdaws“Caecilia is a wonderful teacher with a lot of experience teaching groups of twelve people playing four pianos together. You can imagine that this asks a lot of her teaching skills to have four pianists playing one piece. She arranges existing music for pianos or even string quartets for a combination of two or three pianos. We practice mostly at home a modern piece and an older one that Caecilia has arranged that year. For example, a piece of Lutosławski and Bach. By doing so we can play difficult pieces.

“She likes to tell little anecdotes and stories she has experienced in her musical life. All course members like the relaxed atmosphere of Jackdaws; the hospitality of the Great Elm community that gives the music students a warm welcome every year is heart warming.”

Over the 20 years, Caecilia Andriessen and Jackdaws have got the course just right. It has become an institution and the attendees have become friends outside the course as well.  In 2015, when regular participant Tanya had to break the sad news that Irene Hessel – another of the regulars who made the annual trip to Somerset from The Hague – had passed away from cancer at the age of 45, the news affected everyone. Tanya and Caecilia were at the funeral and said their farewell by playing four-hand piano music just as they had done with Irene.

On Pianos for All this year, we plan a celebration to mark over 20 years of joyous music making at Jackdaws. An occasion to reflect on the power of the music, and the friendships which have developed as a result.
Hard at work

Song Story 2016: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

https://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticalice/3123649457/in/photolist-6eqQrx-fCJMuo-pxJ1fX-dGBbKP-rTWghx-n1vLWS-53f1SC-nZvh9P-9gtRUS-7egSfW-dbLtWi-nFezv9-53aLqR-nXBWHU-nFfoai-97yDr3-ir9an-7LQAkH-97vwXc-3ixD9k-n1uakT-4VKxjw-9g3HiP-pb5CAn-5L2wa8-8vYXh2-nZvg4n-dJRghq-8vGFZq-53aLkV-7YEe7F-aRU4ov-bnzitw-n1vKKJ-gzeSg2-gvx7uv-6yqhtu-8x4ERN-8vDEB4-aG3aQB-C8V8FG-zyNm1f-ekonpL-5LjGga-53f1Z7-z74VMU-ySGhMT-ABWdqz-n9UBNJ-7vSh1MFinal Performance: Wednesday 29 June
Elmwood & Robert Blake Science College, Bridgwater

Song Story 2016 explores Vivaldi’s vivid Four Seasons.

Four SEN schools – Elmwood, Avalon, Critchill and Selworthy – will investigate Vivaldi’s evocative work with conductor William Carslake, violinist Flora Curzon and soprano Saffron van Zwanenberg in series of workshops, culminating in the grand performance of their own musical response to the work on 29 June.

The unique Song Story project was designed to introduce children to the music of the great composers by engaging them in a live performance, using the composer’s music as inspiration to a dramatic narrative of their own creation.

A Song Story Performance

Jack’s Summer Series

Jack’s Summer Series

Jacks LogoEvery Friday in May we are giving you the chance to try Jack’s Music Club for free.

At Jack’s we give teenagers the opportunity to make music together by inviting a different tutor each week to give sessions introducing their unique way of making music.

You don’t need to be able to read music and don’t need to be a confident performer – we’ll be playing together anyway. All instruments and singers welcome.

 

Guitars by Laurence ParnellThe Summer Series Sessions take place on:

Friday 6 May, 4:30 – 6pm

Friday 13 May, 4:30 – 6pm

Friday 20 May, 4:30 – 6pm

Friday 27 May, 4:30 – 6pm – SPECIAL VISIT TO FROME FM STUDIOS

Cost: Free

Location: Jackdaws Music Education Trust