Expired Beethoven in Context with Julian Jacobson

  •  May 15, 2020 - May 17, 2020
     6:30 pm - 4:00 pm

We have removed deposits for all courses in our current season. Your registration is now a Declaration of Interest, and we will hold you a place on the course in the same way, with no deposit payable at this time.

Beethoven in Context
with Julian Jacobson

Friday 15 – Sunday 17 May 2020

Level: Advanced
Fee: £230

Celebrate the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the most important composers for piano. His music makes specific demands on us, requiring a technical security and a strong feeling for harmony and structure. By pairing this with a free-choice work by any other composer, in any style, we can learn what makes for specifically Beethovenian style as well as gaining greater insight into the paired composer’s idiom and sound world. Julian’s great expertise and experience in Beethoven, he is currently recording the complete sonatas, as well as his encyclopaedic knowledge of music of all periods, should ensure an enlightening class.

In 2020 the whole musical world will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth in 1770 of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the most significant and powerful figures in the history of music. A virtuoso pianist and legendary improviser, he expressed himself most naturally through the piano, composing for it throughout his creative life and contributing a great many masterpieces to the pianist’s repertoire, from relatively modest works like the two opus 14 Sonatas to the craggy uplands of the “Hammerklavier” and the Diabelli Variations.

Yet Beethoven isn’t always easy to get to grips with. His music is often “unpianistic” compared with, say, Chopin or Debussy, and it requires technical stability and a feeling for classical structure and harmony to make it convincing. This course aims to contrast your Beethoven piece or pieces with another work of your own choice by any other composer you are working on. By concentrating on both the differences and any similarities of approach needed for Beethoven and your other composer, you will gain insight into both styles and gain more control over the different touch, pedalling technique, relative rhythmic freedom or strictness, and many other matters as they arise.

Julian is uniquely qualified to teach Beethoven: as a pianist, he has given eleven complete cycles of the piano sonatas including three “marathon” performances where he played the complete 32 sonatas from memory in a single day. In 2020 he will conclude his CD recordings of the sonatas as well as visiting the USA where he will be guest artist at the Centre for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University. He has given masterclasses specifically on Beethoven in many countries and is Chairman of the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe. Away from Beethoven, as many Jackdaws attendees will know, he has a comprehensive active repertoire covering all periods.


All courses are held at Jackdaws in Great Elm, a small village to the west of Frome in Somerset, approximately 14 miles south of Bath. Frome Train station is just 3 miles from Jackdaws with direct trains from Bristol, Bath, Cardiff and London.

A £50 deposit is required to secure your place on this course.

Course Fee
The Course Fee is inclusive of all meals, refreshments and tuition at Jackdaws, except Breakfast which is included in the separate B&B fee.

The balance payments for fees are due 3 weeks before the course start date, as indicated on your deposit receipt. Balance payments can be made in the following ways;
– By card, phone 01373 812383
– By cheque
– By bank transfer (BACS info sent out on request)

Accommodation Fees are payable in addition to the Course Fee. Jackdaws will take care of booking your accommodation; B&B rooms will be allocated a few  weeks before the course starts, and we will send you details of where you are staying. B&B rates start at £40 per night (single room, shared bathroom) and from £50 (en suite, subject to availability) including booking fee.

B&B accommodation is arranged with local hosts, who are happy to welcome Jackdaws course participants, and includes a continental breakfast. Several are within walking distance of Jackdaws in Great Elm, and in neighbouring villages just a short drive away (5 – 10 minutes). Alternatively, we can arrange accommodation in local inns and guest houses (with a cooked breakfast available) please call us to discuss your requirements.

If you are vegetarian/vegan or have any food allergies please let us know in plenty of time, so that our cooks can plan the meals for the weekend accordingly. All meals and refreshments (except breakfast) are prepared and served at Jackdaws by our dedicated cooks, Loo and Alex. We are ‘allergy aware’, but we rely on participants letting us know if they have specific food allergies. Please also let us know if you carry any emergency medication.

During the weekend, communal lunch and dinner will be served at the table, allowing you to converse with your fellow participants and tutors.

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