Articles tagged with: piano

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.

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.

NewStudio

Autumn One Day Courses at Jackdaws

Autumn One Day Courses at Jackdaws

One Day Courses are your chance to learn from the expertise of our world-class tutors who visit Jackdaws, and enjoy our delicious home cooked lunches without giving up a whole weekend.

With tuition from 10:30am – 4pm, and a free lunch included, One Day Courses at just £45 are excellent value*.

Autumn at Jackdaws
Understanding Your Voice
with Jessica Walker
Saturday 3 November
To inspire you to take that next step with your singing, we’ll use breathing and vocal exercises to develop a healthy and more secure technique!

Family Singing Afternoon
with Caroline Radcliffe
Sunday 4 November, 2 – 5pm*
Caroline will teach us easy songs from near and far, and we’ll add parts and build harmonies to encompass all ranges and abilities!

“I got the most I could possibly get from a one-day
course and felt it was so worthwhile”

Play the Piano by Ear
with Stephen Marquiss
Sunday 2 December
If you’ve always played from sheet music, you may find you lack the confidence to play by ear. These principles will be widely applicable to any genre and will help you to escape the score!

Heart Song – Healing with the Voice
with Anne Bourne
Saturday 8 December
An introduction to the healing power of your voice, and how it can transform mind, body and spirit. Explore the use of vocal toning, breath work and meditation to access your own resonance.

From Panic to Poise
with Wendy Skeen
Sunday 9 December
Performing music can be a deeply enriching experience, so discover practical strategies to help you enjoy performing and sharing your music-making with others.

*Family Singing Afternoon costs £12 per adult & child pair, (£3 per extra child, £10 per extra adult) Includes tea and cake.

Jackdaws Studio by the River

Booking open for Jackdaws 2018-19 Courses!

Booking open for Jackdaws 2018-19 Courses!

Every year, we announce the more Jackdaws residential Weekend and One Day Courses. We welcome a range of new and returning tutors to our programme to keep our teaching varied, current, and so we can encourage you to try something new and find a new challenge.

We have full weekend courses, running Friday evening until Sunday afternoon; longer Three Day Courses from Thursday to Sunday; and One Day Courses bite-sized introductions to essential topics for all musicians. Some of the wonderful new tutors we welcome this year are Joan Rodgers, Alisdair Hogarth, Isobel Buchanan, Robert Chevara, Madeleine Mitchell and Alison Wells. Follow their links to read their full biographies and course descriptions, booking is now open!

Jackdaws Tutor Jessica Walker

Jessica Walker helps you with “Understanding Your Voice”

One Day Courses
Understanding Your Voice
with Jessica Walker
Saturday 3 November 2018

Family Singing Afternoon
with Caroline Radcliffe
Sunday 4 November 2018

Singing for Health
with Penny Jenkins
Saturday 1 December 2018

Jackdaws Piano Tutor Stephen Marquiss

Stephen Marquiss runs “Play the Piano by Ear”

Play the Piano by Ear
with Stephen Marquiss
Sunday 2 December 2018

Heart Song
with Anne Bourne
Saturday 8 December 2018

From Panic to Pose One Day Course
with Wendy Skeen
Sunday 9 December 2018

Voice Courses
Singing in English
with Adrian Thompson
Fri 21 – Sun 23 September 2018

Jackdaws Tutor Isobel Buchanan

Learn the Art of Bel Canto with Isobel Buchanan

The Art of Bel Canto
with Isobel Buchanan
Fri 19 – Sun 21 October 2018

Audition Preparation Weekend
with Audrey Hyland and Saffron van Zwanenberg
Fri 9 – Sun 11 November 2018

Schubert, Schumann and Wolf
with Joan Rodgers
Fri 23 – Sun 25 November 2018

Jackdaws Tutor Joan Rodgers

Study German Lieder with Joan Rodgers

Art Songs by African-American and Black British Composers
with Michael Harper
Fri 25 – Sun 27 January 2019

Sing Sing Sing
with Evelyn Tubb and Michael Fields
Fri 8 – Sun 10 February 2019

The Singer as Artist
with Alison Wells
Fri 1 – Sun 3 March 2019

English Song Weekend
with Sarah Leonard and Stephen Varcoe
Fri 15 – Sun 17 March 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Richard Jackson

Richard Jackson returns with A Song by Any Other Name

A Song by Any Other Name
with Richard Jackson
Fri 29 – Fri 31 March 2019

The Vocal Technician
with Joy Mammen
Fri 12 – Sun 14 April 2019

Singing Handel
with Rosa Mannion
Fri 10 – Sun 12 May 2019

Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg

Live & Sing your Favourite Opera scenes with Saffron van Zwanenberg and Rosa Mannion

Discover Your Voice
with Penny Jenkins
Fri 21 – Sun 23 June 2019

Staged Opera Scenes
with Saffron van Zwanenberg and Rosa Mannion
Thurs 4 – Sun 7 July 2019
Three Day Course

Summer Singing Workshop
with Jessica Walker
Thurs 8 – Sun 11 August 2019
Three Day Course

Robert Chevara - credit Rikki Beadle-Blair

Robert Chevara and Mary Plazas run Opera Workshop

Opera Workshop
with Mary Plazas and Robert Chevara
Fri 23 – Sun 25 August 2019

Singing in French
with Robin Bowman
Fri 30 August – Sun 1 September 2019

Piano Courses
Finding Your Voice at the Piano
with Stephen Savage
Fri 28 – Sun 30 September 2018

Jackdaws Tutor Elena Riu

Elena Riu returns with New Course “The Embodied Pianist”

The Embodied Pianist: Focus – Release – Tune In
with Elena Riu
Fri 12 – Sun 14 October 2018

Improvisation: An Art for Everyone
with Mark Polishook
Fri 26 – Sun 28 October 2018

Practising the Piano
with Graham Fitch
Fri 16 – Sun 18 November 2018

Polishing Your Piano Technique
with Melanie Spanswick
Fri 18 – Sun 20 January 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Alisdair Hogarth

New Tutor Alisdair Hogarth opens his Piano Toolbox

The Pianist’s Technical Toolbox
with Alisdair Hogarth
Fri 22 – Sun 24 March 2019

Knowing the Score
with Karl Lutchmayer
Fri 26 – Sun 28 April 2019

Becoming a Confident Pianist
with Timothy Barratt
Fri 17 – Sun 19 May 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Mark Tanner

Mark Tanner’s 2 part Piano Summer School

Improvisation: An Art for Everyone
with Mark Polishook
Fri 14 – Sun 16 June 2019

The Art of Pedalling
with Julian Jacobson
Fri 28 – Sun 30 June 2019

Intermediate Piano Summer School
with Mark Tanner
Tues 23 – Thurs 25 July 2019

Anna Stegmann Photo: Marco Borggreve

Anna Stegmann’s Recorder Weekend returns in October

Advanced Piano Summer School
with Mark Tanner
Thurs 25 – Sun 28 July 2019
Three Day Course

Piano Workshop: A New Departure
with Philip Fowke
Fri 13 – Sun 15 September 2019

Wind Courses
Recorder Weekend
with Anna Stegmann
Fri 5 – Sun 7 October 2018

Jackdaws Tutor William Lyons

Discover Renaissance Wind Music with William Lyons

The City Musick – Renaissance Wind Band Music for Court & City
with William Lyons and Richard Thomas
Fri 15 – Sun 17 February 2019

Clarinets
with David Campbell
Fri 8 – Sun 10 March 2019

Oboe Weekend
with Sarah Francis and Jean Marsden
Fri 31 May – Sun 2 June 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Madeleine Mitchell by Rama Knight

Workshop Viola and Violin music with Madeleine Mitchell

Bassoon Workshop – From Reed to Recital
with Robert Codd
Fri 7 – Sun 9 June 2019

Strings Courses
Winter Guitar Ensemble
with Eden Stell Guitar Duo
Thurs 31 January – Sun 3rd February 2019
Three Day Course

Violin and Viola Workshop
with Madeleine Mitchell
Fri 5 – Sun 7 April 2019

Eden Stell Guitar Duo

A long awaited Summer Guitar Course with the Eden Stell Duo

Summer Guitar Ensemble
with Eden Stell Guitar Duo
Thurs 11 – Sun 14 July 2019
Three Day Course

Strings & Things: Intermediate – Advanced
with Elizabeth Turnbull
Thurs 15 – Sun 18 August 2019
Three Day Course

Stylish Baroque
with Theresa Caudle and Alistair Ross
Fri 6 – Sun 8 September 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Wendy Skeen

Wendy Skeen’s successful One Day Course gets a full weekend!

Ensemble Courses
From Panic to Poise: Strategies for Managing Performance Anxiety Weekend
with Wendy Skeen
Fri 3 – Sun 5 May 2019

Chamber Music Weekend
with Sarah Francis, Robert Codd, Ian Mitchell and Stephen Gutman
Fri 19 – Sun 21 July 2019

Request a printed copy of the new brochure, or subscribe to our mailing list below.


By submitting your details, you agree that you have read and understand the Jackdaws Privacy Policy.

Jackdaws 2017-18 Season Announced

Jackdaws 2017-18 Season Announced

Jackdaws Music Education TrustJackdaws have announced their 2017-18 Season of weekend music courses. Featuring a selection of new and returning tutors, we are sure that there is something for everybody.

During the upcoming season, we will celebrate the 25th year of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, and commemorate the occasion with an updated logo. Taking place on Friday 10 November at the Wigmore Hall, we do hope you can join us for what will be a wonderful afternoon of music, performed at the highest standard.

Update: Booking is now open online, by phone, email or post. Full information about all Jackdaws courses is available on our website, or get in touch to request a printed brochure.

Jump to Voice, Piano, Wind, Strings & One Day Courses

Voice

Lucy Schaufer by Dan Welldon22 – 24 Sept 2017: Jane Austen Song Celebration with Sarah Walker

6 – 8 Oct: Singing in Russian with Alexandre Naoumenko

20 – 22 Oct: The Healthy Voice with Russell Smythe

17 – 19 Nov: Audition Preparation with Audrey Hyland & Saffron van Zwanenberg

1 – 3 Dec: Voice & Body Integration with Lucy Schaufer

2 – 4 Feb 2018: Sing Sing Sing with Evelyn Tubb & Michael Fields

23 – 25 Feb: Art Songs by Black British & African American Composers with Michael Harper

16 – 18 Mar: English Song with Sarah Leonard & Stephen Varcoe

13 – 15 April: Opera Workshop with Mary Plazas

4 – 6 Apr: Singing Handel with Rosa Mannion

25 – 27 May: The Vocal Technician with Joy Mammen

8 – 10 June: Discover Your Voice with Penny Jenkins

22 – 24 June: A Song By Any Other Name with Richard Jackson

5 – 8 July: Staged Opera Scenes with Saffron van Zwanenberg & Rosa Mannion

20 – 22 July: The Golden Age of Broadway with Paul Knight

9 – 12 Aug: Unlocking Your Vocal Potential with Jessica Walker

23 – 26 Aug: Preparing a Role with Phillip Thomas

31 Aug – 2 Sept: Singing in French with Robin Bowman

21 – 23 Sept: Singing in English with Adrian Thompson

Piano

Jackdaws Tutor Karl Lutchmayer (credit Helen Murray)29 Sept – 1 Oct 2017: Lifelong Learning for the Pianist with Ruth Harte

13 – 15 Oct: Finding Your Voice at the Piano with Stephen Savage

27 – 29 Oct: Improvisation: An Art for Everyone with Mark Polishook

24 – 26 Nov: Practising the Piano with Graham Fitch

9 – 11 Feb 2018: Polishing Your Piano Technique with Melanie Spanswick

9 – 11 Mar: Towards Effortless Piano Playing with Penelope Roskell

23 – 25 Mar: The Complete Pianist with Margaret Fingerhut

27 – 29 Apr: Knowing the Score with Karl Lutchmayer

18 – 20 May: Intermediate Piano Course with Timothy Barratt

15 – 17 June: Realising Your Inner Musical Image with Julian Jacobson

26 – 29 July: Piano Summer School with Mark Tanner

14 – 16 Sept: Piano Workshop – A New Departure! with Philip Fowke

One Day Courses

Sat 11 Nov 2017: Singing for the over 50’s with Penny Jenkins

Sun 12 Nov: Singing for All the Family with Caroline Radcliffe

Sat 9 Dec: Singing with Confidence with Jessica Walker

Sun 10 Dec: One Day Guitar Course with Chris Stell

Fri 15 Dec: Jackdaws Christmas Concert at Great Elm Church (concert)

Sun 8 April 2018: From Panic to Poise with Wendy Skeen

Strings

Jackdaws Tutor Flora Curzon25 – 28 Jan 2018: Guitar Ensemble with Eden Stell Guitar Duo

11 – 13 May: Folk Fiddle with Flora Curzon & Holly Harman

29 June – 1 July: Strings & Things Part One with Elizabeth Turnbull

16 – 19 Aug: Strings & Things Part Two with Elizabeth Turnbull

Wind

3 – 5 Nov 2017: Recorder Weekend with Anna Stegmann

16 – 18 Feb 2018: The City Musick: Renaissance Music for Court & City with William Lyons & Richard Thomas

2 – 4 Mar: Clarinets with David Campbell

20 – 22 Apr: Oboe Workshop with Sarah Francis & Jean Marsden

1 – 3 June: Bassoon Workshop – From Reed to Recital with Robert Codd

13 – 15 July: Chamber Music with Sarah Francis, Robert Codd, Ian Mitchell & Stephen Gutman

7 – 9 Sept: Stylish Baroque with Theresa Caudle & Alastair Ross

Jackdaws Tutors 2017-18

Welcome to Jackdaws

Welcome to Jackdaws

We’ve just launched our new video – Welcome to Jackdaws.

What is it like in Great Elm? And what happens on a weekend course? If you’re considering a music course find yourself asking these questions, give us 4 minutes to introduce ourselves.

A full list of Jackdaws Courses is available on our website.

Or take a look at our Vimeo channel.

2016-17 Music Courses

2016-17 Music Courses

We are delighted to announce booking is now open for our 2016-17 season weekend and one-day music courses for Voice, Piano, Wind and Strings at Jackdaws; full details are available below.

You can now book through our website, by phone, email and post. Scroll down to see our exciting new courses.

Jackdaws New Courses 2016-17

Jump to section: Voice, Piano, One Day Courses, Strings, Wind

Voice

23 – 25 Sept 2016: Singing in Russian with Alexandre Naoumenko

7 – 9 Oct: Singing and Imagination with Ameral Gunson

4 – 6 Nov: The Healthy Voice with Russell Smythe

11 – 13 Nov: Bridge to Britten with Ian Partridge

18 – 20 Nov: Audition Preparation with Audrey Hyland & Saffron van Zwanenberg

27 – 29 Jan 2017: Sing Sing Sing with Evelyn Tubb & Michael Fields

10 – 12 Feb: Opera Workshop with Mary Plazas

24 – 26 Feb: Art Songs with Michael Harper

17 – 19 Mar: English Song with Sarah Leonard & Stephen Varcoe

31 Mar – 2nd Apr: A Song By Any Other Name with Richard Jackson

7 – 9 Apr: Singing Handel with Rosa Mannion

5 – 7 May: Singing in Spanish with Carlos Aransay

17 – 19 May: The Vocal Technician with Joy Mammen

9 – 11 June: Discover Your Voice with Penny Jenkins

23 – 25 June: The Golden Age of Broadway with Paul Knight

13 – 16 July: Staged Opera Scenes with Saffron van Zwanenberg & Rosa Mannion

21 – 23 July: 20th Century & Beyond with Linda Hirst

10 – 13 Aug: Unlocking Your Vocal Potential with Jessica Walker

24 – 27 Aug: Preparing a Role with Phillip Thomas

1 – 3 Sept: Singing in French with Robin Bowman

Click on Course Titles for more information

Jackdaws May 2016Piano

30 Sept – 2 Oct 2016: Performance Anxiety with Ruth Harte

14 – 16 Oct: Sight-Reading, Memorisation and Piano Technique with Melanie Spanswick

28 – 30 Oct: Finding Your Voice at the Piano with Stephen Savage

25 – 27 Nov: Practising the Piano with Graham Fitch

10 – 12 Mar 2017: Improvisation: An Art for Everyone with Mark Polishook

24 – 26 Mar: The Complete Pianist with Margaret Fingerhut

28 – 30 Apr: Piano Workshop – A New Departure! with Philip Fowke

12 – 14 May: The Pianist Within with Elena Riu

30 June – 2 July: Rachmaninov and other Russian Composers with Julian Jacobson

27 – 30 July: Piano Summer School with Mark Tanner

15 – 17 Sept: Piano Workshop – A New Departure! with Philip Fowke

 

One Day Courses

Sat 3 Dec: Singing for the over 50’s with Penny Jenkins

Sun 4 Dec: One Day Guitar Course with Chris Stell

Sat 10 Dec: Free to Perform with Ann Hetherington

Sun 11 Dec: Singing with Confidence with Jessica Walker

Fri 16 Dec: Jackdaws Christmas Concert at Great Elm Church (concert)

 

Strings

2 – 5 Feb 2017: Guitar Ensemble with Eden Stell Guitar Duo

16 – 18 June: Strings & Things Part One with Elizabeth Turnbull

17 – 20 Aug: Strings & Things Part Two with Elizabeth Turnbull

 

Wind

21 – 23 Oct 2016: Recorder Weekend with Anna Stegmann

17 – 19 Feb 2017: The City Musick: Renaissance Music for Court & City with William Lyons & Richard Thomas

3 – 5 Mar: Clarinets with David Campbell

21 – 23 Apr: Oboe Workshop with Sarah Francis & Jean Marsden

2 – 4 June: Bassoon Workshop – From Reed to Recital with Robert Codd

7 – 9 July: Chamber Music with Sarah Francis, Robert Codd, Ian Mitchell & Stephen Gutman

8 – 10 Sept: Stylish Baroque with Theresa Caudle & Alastair Ross

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
Book Now

 

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

Julian Jacobson sharpens up your Chopin

Julian Jacobson sharpens up your Chopin

The magic of Chopin’s music is still as potent as ever, even more than 260 years after his death. No notes feel so grateful under the pianist’s fingers yet require such great subtlety, delicacy, fire and virtuosity to make their full effect. Sharpen up your Chopin offers the opportunity for pianists to explore this unique composer through his music, under the expert guidance of Royal College of Music professor Julian Jacobson.

Frederic ChopinSimplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.

– Frederic Chopin

His is music has such immediacy, with the delicate interplay of melody and accompaniment so carefully arranged. The titles, descriptive rather than poetic, reveal nothing of the glorious music they contain. Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg, said “Chopin’s music is so powerful and worthy of further exploration that a weekend devoted to it is long over due“.

Choosing Your Repertoire

Julian has led courses at Jackdaws for a most of its history. He suggests each participant bring two of their favourite pieces from Chopin’s huge ouvre. Of course, he is happy to assist with selection of repertoire at a suitable level of difficulty, and has written a one page guide giving approximate difficulties of Chopin’s most popular pieces.

Regarding what “stage” the pieces should be at, Julian says, ‘it’s nice if one of them represents what the participant feels is a fairly finished performance; maybe something they will have already played in public or performed for friends, and the other is more “work in progress” that the participant feels I can help with.’

We understand that each participant is different and if your two pieces are both further along the road that’s also fine; it’s best if the music is reasonably well prepared and this is more significant than the overall difficulty of the piece. Julian adds ‘The main thing is not to stress about how “good” the pieces will be, while hopefully doing one’s best to get them into reasonable shape for working on in the class!’

Finally, consider the size and length of the pieces. If you bring short pieces, Preludes for instance, we might find time to work on three or even four. Compare this with the complexity of a major work such as the 4th Ballade; this piece alone would be enough for an entire course. Assuming they will be short, but not too short pieces, two is perfect.

Julian was Head of Keyboard Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and is now a professor at the Royal College of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire, and a Guest Professor at Xiamen University China. He gives masterclasses internationally and is a Diploma Examiner for ABRSM.

Sharpen Up Your Chopin
with Julian Jacobson
Friday 1 – Sunday 3 July 2016
Level: Advanced
Fee: £200
B&B: Available
Book now

Search for a Course

Archives