Articles tagged with: New Studio

Our new music studio is a firm commitment to arts education

Our new music studio is a firm commitment to arts education

The opening of a new music studio for Jackdaws is a firm commitment to arts education in the South West

Jackdaws New StudioOn 25 May, Jackdaws officially opens a new, purpose-built music studio, with an afternoon of musical activities and it is all thanks to a legacy from its founder, the celebrated mezzo-soprano Maureen Lehane.

Maureen founded Jackdaws Music Education Trust 26 years ago with an ambition to enable access to and the promotion of, classical music and musicians, through courses for all and an outreach programme for young people. In addition to this remarkable legacy, her financial legacy, together with donations from over 100 supporters, has enabled Jackdaws to invest in a new custom-build studio, The Lehane-Wishart Teaching Studio.

It is a major new addition to both Jackdaws’ facilities and the arts education sector in the South West and alongside extra practice rooms, it brings much needed space to Jackdaws home base in Great Elm, just outside Frome. It will house the Steinway model D grand piano, allowing this piano’s voice to finally have an appropriate space in which to be heard.

Over five years from inception to completion, Jackdaws’ new studio is sympathetic to its beautiful surroundings, built of wood and stone, with a design which incorporates special features specifically aimed at minimising its impact on wildlife and surrounding nature in the Vallis Vale. It includes bifold doors at the rear of the studio allowing the space to be opened up into the enclosed rose garden and the riverside setting provides a rural retreat in an idyllic location, not 10 miles from Bath.

Jackdaws Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg is overjoyed with the addition:

“This beautiful studio is the result of an incredible legacy from Maureen and the help of over 100 supporters who have donated to the project. I am thankful to each of them and delighted that we can finally provide this, much-wanted, extra space.

“It will provide a home our regular courses and our community projects, creating a welcoming environment in which music and musicians of all abilities can flourish.”

Jackdaws celebrates the launch of the Lehane-Wishart Teaching Studio with a Garden Party on Saturday 25 May, an afternoon of masterclasses and performances by world-class musicians.

All events will be free to attend but due to limited number of seats, tickets for each event must be booked by visiting the booking page. Only two tickets can be allocated per person.


2:00pm Guided Tour with Development Manager Katharine Meadows

A short tour of the new facilities with Katharine Meadows, who oversaw the development.

2:30 – 3:15pm Vocal Masterclass with Rosa Mannion

Observe a masterclass for singers of all abilities with Royal College of Music professor Rosa Mannion.

3:30 – 4:15pm Piano Surgery with Philip Fowke

This will be an interactive session, with attendees invited to bring up a section of a piece of music which might be troubling them – either in performance or just working from a score.

4:30pm Guided Tour with Development Manager Katharine Meadows

5 – 6pm Celebration Concert

Performances from Philip Fowke, clarinettist David Campbell, the Eden Stell Guitar Duo, and Baritone James Atkinson (Winner of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2018) bring our day of celebration to a close.

Go to the Booking Page

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.


Last Chance to get Your Name on the Wall

Last Chance to get Your Name on the Wall

In 2013, we launched the 20Jackdaws campaign to raise funds to help with the building of a new studio at Jackdaws. We asked you to give us £20 (or £200, or £2000..!) to celebrate our 20th birthday and the beginning of the journey towards the new space. In return, we would note your donation by adding your name to a display in the new studio with your own ‘jackdaw’.

New Build October 20182018 marks our 25th birthday and, following a long process of appointing an architect and getting planning permission etc, the build commenced in July this year and will be complete early next year.

There is still time (just!) to add your name to the long list of people who donated to the 20Jackdaws campaign. This would help us to decorate the space inside, and landscape the gardens around the studio.

So why not have your name on our wall of Jackdaws fame and help us to complete this project, which will support the future of Jackdaws for another 20 years.

You can make a donation in a number of ways, but please remember to let us know that you have made the donation as part of the 20Jackdaws campaign by emailing .

If you would like to discuss your donation further, then please contact Development Manager Katharine Meadows by emailing or calling 01373 812383.

Many thanks,




Saffron van Zwanenberg
Artistic Director of Jackdaws Music Education Trust

See how the build is progressing on our Building Blog.

Our build team made the most of the warm September days to make great progress with the structure (that you can now see), Read more…

Below: Progress on the new studio, 28 September 2018

Jackdaws Studio by the River

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