OperaPLUS 2013 is a Big Success

OperaPLUS 2013 is a Big Success

We are delighted that our OperaPLUS performances of Handel’s opera Semele were a fantastic success. The performances, in Frome’s Cheese & Grain on Thursday 2nd and at Dulverton Middle School on Friday 3rd May saw Jackdaws Young Artists performing the lead roles supported by a chorus of eager children from local schools.

The OperaPLUS project is an intensive course aimed at Young Artists about to embark on their professional careers. It encompasses a full performance of an opera and gives valuable additional training and opportunity to experience wider music education by collaborating with at least three local schools who feature in the performance and take part in workshops. It runs annually at Jackdaws, to the delight of local parents and audiences, who treasure the unique opportunity to see their children performing in an opera.

My son really enjoyed taking part… a great hit.

OperaPLUS: Handel's Semele

Jassy Husk as Handel’s Semele, Jackdaws OperaPLUS 2013

OperaPLUS 2013 concludes this weekend with the final performance at Abingdon’s Unicorn Theatre on Sunday.

In 2012, the OperaPLUS performance concluded with a sold out production of Cinderella, and the project will return in May 2014 with Rossini’s Barber of Saville.

Gifted and Talented Sessions at Jackdaws


Jackdaws is delighted to be able to offer two new strands of gifted and talented provision for young musicians thanks to support from Sound Foundation Somerset (the Somerset Music Education Hub) and Jackdaws Education.

We are in the unique and fortunate position of having a different outstanding, professional musician(s) coming to Jackdaws every weekend to tutor on our courses for adult musicians of all abilities. Gifted and Talented opens up the opportunity for young people aged between 5-18 and at school in Somerset to learn from and be inspired by these international players in two different ways.

Preparation Gifted & Talented
Groups of young players of the relevant instrument come to Jackdaws for a workshop between 1-3.30pm supported by a teacher. 20 places available on a first come first served basis.

Gifted & Talented
Fully funded places available on the weekend course for an older more advanced student (typically aged 15+ and of a Grade 5 plus standard, each course has a slightly different criteria). There is also a subsidised place available for their teacher if desired. Young people under the age of 17 may need a chaperone if not accompanied by their teacher. Help can be given with travel and accommodation costs.



Weekend course fee usually £190 which includes all food. Bursary place reduces this to £0 and includes accommodation if required. Subsidised place for teachers reduces cost to £95.


Friday 10th May
Preparation Gifted & Talented 1.30-3PM
20 PLACES AVAILABLE for Piano students of any ability (Must be supported by school staff)

10th – 12th May
PHILIP FOWKE Piano Workshop Weekend Course ALREADY TAKEN!
Gifted & TalentedONE BURSARY PLACE AVAILABLE for student aged 15+ (Intermediate-Advanced level) & a subsidised place for their teacher if desired.

Friday 7th June
Preparation Gifted & Talented 1.30-3PM
20 PLACES AVAILABLE for singers of any ability (Must be supported by school staff)

7th – 9th June
PENNY JENKINS – Discover Your Voice Weekend Course
Gifted & TalentedFUNDED PLACES AVAILABLE for students aged 15+ (Intermediate and above) & a subsidised place for their teacher if desired. Must book ASAP as places are limited and will not be held.

Friday 14th June
Preparation Gifted & Talented 1.30-3PM
20 PLACES AVAILABLE for bassonists/contrabassoonists of any ability (Must be supported by school staff)

14th – 16th June
ROBERT CODD & MARIA MEALEY – From Reed to Recital Weekend Course
Gifted & TalentedFUNDED PLACES AVAILABLE for students aged 15+ (Intermediate – Advanced level) & a subsidised place for their teacher if desired. Must book ASAP as places are limited and will not be held.

Free Summer Workshops in Piano, Strings and Voice with some of our most popular tutors.
There are TWENTY places available on each day and places must be booked in advance.
All abilities are welcome.

Workshops run from 11am – 2pm and a packed lunch should be brought.

Thursday 25th July 11am – 2pm
Piano Workshop with Mark Tanner

Thursday 1st August 11am – 2pm
Singing Workshop with Saffron van Zwanenberg

Thursday 15th August 11am – 2pm
Strings Workshop with Elizabeth Turnbull

Thursday 22nd August 11am – 2pm
Composing Workshop with William Carslake

Further information about the tutors can be found on our tutor pages on the menu.

If you would like any other information, or to book a place, please call the office on 01373 812383 or email us at


Oboe Workshop with Sarah Francis & Jean Marsden

Friday April 12, 2013 – Sunday April 14, 2013

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Oboe Workshop
Sarah Francis & Jean Marsden
Course No. 3037
Level: Intermediate
Fee: £190

Sorry – This course is fully booked!

Explore the oboe repertoire and improve your ensemble playing. Enjoy working with an experienced pianist and playing in small groups with professional help. There is a session for cor anglais players with specialist Jean Marsden, and help with reed making and adjustment. Sarah Francis is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and has given masterclasses in Amsterdam, Geneva, Moscow and Cologne.


Pianos for All with Caecilia Andriessen

Friday May 24, 2013 – Sunday May 26, 2013


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Pianos for All
Caecilia Andriessen
Course No. 3042
Level: Intermediate
Fee: £180

Are you an amateur pianist who can play Bach’s Inventions and Haydn’s Sonatas? Would you like to play in an ensemble with other pianists, just like string players do in a string quartet? Then join “Pianos for All”!

We play music from the 17th to the 21st centuries, music that was either composed for two or more pianos, or that has been adapted for a piano group. The pieces vary in difficulty and style. You will be sent two of the pieces we will be playing during the course so as to enable you to practice these in advance. We will also sight read less difficult pieces which will still reflect a wide range of styles and periods.

Participants of all ages are welcome who would like to play as a group, as this joyous weekend provides the opportunity for piano playing in groups of one, two, three and four pianos.


Russian Miniatures with Julian Jacobson

Friday May 31, 2013 – Sunday June 2, 2013


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Russian Miniatures
Julian Jacobson
Course No. 3043
Level: Advanced
Fee: £180

As well as writing some of the grandest works in the repertoire, Russian composers poured forth a stream of piano miniatures; music that can be passionate, reflective, charming or fantastical but which always demands a heartfelt response and a big but varied tonal palette. Composers such as Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Medtner, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Kabalevsky, Kapustin and many others have given us a wealth of exquisite music in preludes and other short forms. Julian Jacobson, himself of partly Russian descent, will guide you through this challenging and inspiring repertoire.

Course suggested repertoire: two or three contrasted pieces of up to 5 minutes each.


Discover Your Voice with Penny Jenkins

Friday June 7, 2013 – Sunday June 9, 2013


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Discover Your Voice
Penny Jenkins
Accompanist: Tim Nial
Course No. 3044
Level: Beginners
Fee: £190

A hugely popular beginners’ course in vocal technique, this course is designed for singers who have not already acquired a solid technique and are interested in releasing their ‘true’ sound. Work will include a physical and vocal workshop; technical exercises and a chance to begin applying this newly learnt technique in a friendly and supportive atmosphere by performing solo songs from memory in a group tutorial.


Simple Gifts with Dinah Harris

Friday July 19, 2013 – Sunday July 21, 2013


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Simple Gifts
Dinah Harris
Accompanist: Robert Aldwinckle
Course No. 3049
Level: Advanced
Fee: £190
Unfortunately we have had to cancel this course

The gift of singing is something we all share, whether a keen amateur or budding professional. But why is it the more we work at something sometimes the more complicated it can become? Renowned teacher and RCM Professor Dinah Harris believes in getting back to the simple basics of good air flow as promoted by the Accent method of teaching. Do you believe you have a problem area of the voice or perhaps there is one note that you view with dread when seen in a score? Dinah will help you begin to free the voice by using the simplest of gifts, breath.


Piano Summer School with Mark Tanner

Thursday July 25, 2013 – Sunday July 28, 2013


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Piano Summer School
Mark Tanner
Course No. 3050
Level: Advanced
Fee: £260

A very popular course, offering the opportunity to use the longer time of three days to get a better understanding of the sprawling piano repertoire. This lively course will concentrate on repertoire, style, technique and practice methods. How to choose music for diploma, grade exams and skeleton score study, improvisation, duets and more will all be discussed. Support will be available for those taking grade and diploma exams as well as those who just want to play for pleasure.


Staged Scenes with Saffron van Zwanenberg & Rosa Mannion

Thursday August 1, 2013 – Sunday August 4, 2013


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Staged Scenes
Saffron van Zwanenberg & Rosa Mannion
Course No. 3051
Level: All
Fee: £260

PLEASE NOTE: Due to recovery from a minor operation, Rosa Mannion has been forced to withdraw from this course. We are delighted and thankful that her replacement will be the sought after Operatic and Concert soprano Mary Plazas, who has kindly agreed to help us at such short notice.

This course is now fully booked, but don’t worry – it will return in July 2014!

Have you always wanted the experience of working with an opera director on staging a scene or aria, whilst also having the chance to work on it musically and technically? During this extended weekend course renowned RCM voice teacher Rosa Mannion will guide you through the vocal preparation of your pieces, whilst experienced opera director, Saffron van Zwanenberg, will direct you in a series of staged scenes culminating in a performance at the end of the course. They will also work together to help solve some of the problems of technique vs performance!

Each participant should offer one solo piece and 3 suggestions of roles they would like to tackle. They will then work on their solo and one ensemble piece, which will be one of their suggested roles IF POSSIBLE. (To make sure everyone has the opportunity to perform in an ensemble it may not be possible to allocate roles based on these suggestions, but every effort will be made, and if not then something suitable and mutually agreeable will be chosen.)


Strings and Things Ensemble Course for Violin, Viola and Cello with Elizabeth Turnbull

Thursday August 15, 2013 – Sunday August 18, 2013


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Strings and Things: Ensemble Course
for Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass
Elizabeth Turnbull
Course No. 3052
Level: Intermediate
Fee: £260

Sorry – this course is fully booked!

Specifically designed for amateur string players who are searching for the opportunity to experience intensive and detailed rehearsal on string repertoire; it affords the luxury of sufficient rehearsal time to attain one’s best possible standard of playing. Sight reading will not be required as all music is sent out in advance.

This course provides the chance to work specifically on all aspects of rehearsal technique. Attention will be given to working in detail with a specialist string coach on issues such as ensemble, articulation, rhythm, intonation and style. Seating will be rotated in order to give everyone the chance to understand the different roles in ensemble playing. The chosen repertoire will be small and varied. Because of the necessity of creating a balanced group acceptance on this course will be subject to some selection.



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