Articles tagged with: Weekend Courses

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

Building Blog – Part Two

Building Blog – Part Two

Autumn Approaches and we Raise the Roof!

Since our last update, construction on the new studio has really taken shape, with the roof timbers rising into the autumn landscape.

Our build team made the most of the warm September days to make great progress with the structure (that you can now see), and the drainage (which thankfully you can’t!) It’s becoming easier to see how the new building will fit into the Jackdaws site, and how wonderful the open aspect onto the rose garden will be.

Recent participants have been impressed to see how the building is taking shape, and have reassured us that the works are not a problem, which has always been a priority!

“The facilities at Jackdaws, although in a state of flux due to the building works, were first class. Everything was very clean and well maintained.”

Jackdaws Studio by the RiverOur adjusted access and parking arrangements have worked well, and we’re most grateful for the support that participants and tutors have given us. If you’re coming on a course, we’ll keep you updated throughout the process with any changes, as we continue to run our full programme of events.

There are still plenty of opportunities to see this exciting ‘work in progress’, we have an inspiring range of One Day Courses this autumn, alongside our weekend retreats at Jackdaws.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Read the Building Blog Part One

Building Blog – Part One

Building Blog – Part One

Building the future of Jackdaws!Building at Jackdaws

We’re delighted to announce that building work for our new purpose built studio has now started! The first month of the build project has seen a lot of work on the foundations and at ground level, and we can now see the shape of the building beginning to emerge. Those of you who have attended a summer course here will have seen the progress being made, and our upper terrace area has provided a bird’s eye view of the new development. The terrace has proved to be a very popular area in itself, especially during the amazing sunny weather we’ve had!

Rest assured, our weekend courses will continue to run as planned; you’ll still find inspiring tutors, delicious food and the usual peaceful retreat at Jackdaws, as the build team will be working from Monday to Friday. There will be some minimal adjustments to parking and access, which we’ll advise participants about before their course, as these will alter as the project progresses.

We look forward to welcoming you during this exciting time, to come and see for yourselves the start of this hope-filled chapter at Jackdaws. All courses for the 2018 – 2019 season are now available to book, online, by phone or by post – see you soon!

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

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2017 Review

2017 Review

12 months of activity has given us much to talk about. Our Education projects have excelled themselves, reaching thousands of children across Somerset. We’ve won Awards, reached milestones and made some wonderful music.

Jackdaws Receive the AwardWe started 2017 with our first large-scale project of the year, Year of Recorder, with Recorder virtuosi Anna Stegmann and Tabea Debus. The project told the story of “How the Wren Became King”, using music both composed and improvised on recorders of all different shapes and sizes by children from 12 schools performing en masse at Frome’s Cheese & Grain. Less than two weeks before rehearsals and school visits began, we were delighted to win Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2017 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence for the second year running  for “The Year of…” project. We continue this project in 2018 with a special Year of Brass, working with Onyx Brass Quintet; join us for the Grand Finale Concert on Tuesday 20 March 2018.

Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2017Music Teacher Awards OperaPLUSOperaPLUS (Best Classical Music Education Initiative 2016) revived the successful 2016 production of Donizetti’s The Love Potion, for the composer’s 225th anniversary year with 5 performances with schools across the length and breadth of Somerset in April and May. The humorous and light-hearted tale set on a farm in Somerset of a hopeless lover and his encounter with a trickster street doctor, was a big hit. In 2018, we stay with the work of Donizetti, this time transforming the famous La fille du Régiment into “The Team Mascot”, telling the story of rival football teams and all of the passion that brings.

Song Story focused on the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, telling his story through his music. During the project, 4 Somerset SEND Schools and one Secondary collaborated with Composer William Carslake, Violinist Flora Curzon and Soprano Saffron van Zwanenberg to create an hour-long show, spanning the composer’s child prodigy years through to the tragic unfinished Requiem, encompassing elements of his most famous works played, sung and acted by the group.

On Friday 16 June, the annual Schools Picnic at Jackdaws welcomed 100 children from 5 local schools who all performed and enjoyed a picnic in the Rose Garden. We heard singers, recorder and ukulele players, performing in mixed groups from whole classes down to solo performers. Everyone performed fantastically! Best of all, the rain held off until we had finished our lunch.

Taking the Singing Strategy out of the classroom, the Somerset Singing Festival Frome event on Thursday 13 July was directed by our wonderful singing leader Caroline Radcliffe. It was a heart-warming event, with pupils from schools across the county joining together to sing music they had learnt through the county wide Singing Strategy.

Macbeth at the Jackdaws Summer Production

Macbeth at the Jackdaws Summer Production

We closed the 16-17 academic year with the great news that the first entrants from our Friday club for young people, Jack’s Music Club, had achieved their Bronze Arts Award which they had been working towards through Jack’s. They were the first that Jackdaws have entered for the Award and will now work towards their Silver Award, as the rest of Music Club tackle their Bronze this year. Come and join us on Friday’s at 4.30pm if you want to find out more and make music with other local young people.

At the beginning of the summer holidays our intake of keen young artists were taking part in our Summer Production week. They transformed Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with music inspired by Mahler and set and costume design inspired by graphic designer David Carson.

Judges and Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2017

With the new academic year came The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2017, which marked the 25th Award since its foundation in 1992. The winner was Mezzo-Soprano Ema Nikolovska and we were very privileged to have Mary Nelson, winner of the Award in 1995, judging the competition, alongside renowned accompanist Christopher Glynn and Soprano and Jackdaws Trustee Rosa Mannion. The audience obviously agreed with the judges as Ema won not only the First-place prize, but the Audience Prize as well.

2018

A very big year for Jackdaws as we will be celebrating our 25th birthday!

We will be marking this in a number of ways so please keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for further information. Wonderfully, Onyx Brass who are leading our Year of Brass are also celebrating a 25th anniversary in 2018, so schools taking part in the project have the chance to compose a birthday fanfare which Onyx will judge and the winner will be invited to play it at our birthday party in June. There will be cake!

Arts Award LogoWe are also very excited to announce now that we are expanding our opportunities for young people with a brand new Explore the Arts Week, during half term. It will be a chance for children from ages of 7-12 to explore, learn and create using different forms of art. The aim is for the children to take their Discover or Explore Arts Awards, the entry level qualifications, over the course of the week. Get in touch for more information!

Remember that you can stay up to date with all our projects, courses and concerts by signing up to our mailing list at www.jackdaws.org.uk or subscribing at the bottom of this page.

Ameral Gunson: Obituary

Ameral Gunson: Obituary

Ameral Gunson at JackdawsMezzo-Soprano Ameral Gunson studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Walter Gruner before joining the BBC Singers; she continued her studies with Otakar Kraus. After leaving the BBC Singers she quickly established a successful and varied solo career which has included performances throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East. She included many operatic roles in her repertoire and appeared at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Alter Oper Frankfurt and the Turin and Helsinki opera houses. Her recordings for EMI and Chandos include Verdi’s Requiem, Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass with Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia under Richard Hickox, and the Grammy award winning discs of Peter Grimes, also with Hickox.

As a vocal coach, Ameral was second to none. She taught at Jackdaws Music Education Trust for many years, and was one of their longest serving tutors. She attracted a devoted following of students who admired her sensitive, creative and thoughtful approach. Ameral’s annual “Singing and Imagination” weekend course was centered on her belief that “Singing is an activity first and foremost of the imagination,” encouraging pupils to bring props to stimulate their imagination whilst singing. She last visted Jackdaws in October 2016, when she announced plans to retire from teaching.

Ameral passed away in August 2017. She was 68.

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

2016 – A Year in Review

2016 – A Year in Review

2016 – what a year it was. We say it every year, but this one really was the busiest we’ve ever known in Great Elm. We welcomed 400 participants on our weekend courses, a third of whom were new to Jackdaws; we delivered award-winning projects across Somerset and appointed our first ever Artists in Residence – the VIDA Guitar Quartet.

Our Projects

Credit Music Teacher Awards 2016

L to R: Margherita Taylor (Classic FM Presenter), René Bloice-Sanders (Company Member), Audrey Hyland (Music Director), Saffron van Zwanenberg (Director) and Sam Taylor (Classic FM Managing Editor). Credit: Music Teacher Awards 2016

The first success of the year was in February, when we attended the Gala Dinner of the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, as our large-scale project OperaPLUS had been nominated for the Best Classical Music Education Initiative of 2015. We were absolutely delighted to hear OperaPLUS announced as the winners by Margherita Taylor, presenter on ClassicFM, who sponsored the prize. The 2016 OperaPLUS project was then a huge success in April; Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg directed five fun-filled performances of Donizetti’s The Love Potion with 18 schools across Somerset packed with acting, singing and segways!

On Tuesday 22 March, the Gelachter Wind Trio performed alongside over 100 children from 12 schools across Somerset in the Grand Finale concert of the Year of the Reed project at the Cheese & Grain Frome. They performed arrangements of music by composers from Duke Ellington to Tchaikovsky interspersed with performances from the Gelachter Trio in the hour long concert.

Song Story 2016 was an exciting and fresh look at Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons concertos. Composer William Carslake, together with Violinist Flora Curzon and Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg investigated this work with four SEN Somerset schools – Elmwood, Avalon, Critchill and Selworthy. Each school focused on one season, working with the team and using the sonnets which inspired Vivaldi’s original composition, to create their own music and play and sing along with Vivaldi’s original score. There was a spectacular final performance of “Saving Earth” on Wednesday 29 June at Elmwood & Robert Blake Science College, Bridgwater. The students updated the story to tell of the fight against global warming and how we are saving earth from mankind’s thoughtlessness; a modern retelling which was really effective. It was a truly joyful experience for all involved.

Since September, Jack’s Music Club has been enjoying a new term of varied experiences and sound worlds. We have a whole new intake of keen young musicians attending each week, who gave two fantastic performances at the Jackdaws Christmas Concert, celebrating Ludwig van Beethoven (the concert happened to take place on 16 December, the maestro’s birthday). Jackdaws is now also an Arts Award centre and Jack’s members have the opportunity to earn a qualification during their usual weekly session.

We have continued to develop our work with the Music Hub for Somerset, taking a very active part in the Singing Strategy for Somerset schools, offering a mixed-programme of teacher training and in-school sessions, and the first Somerset Schools Singing Festival, which took place in the Summer term.

Caecilia AndriessenSaying ‘Vaarwel’

In May, we said a very sad farewell to Caecilia Andriessen, who retired. Caecilia was one of the very first tutors at Jackdaws and has been leading her unique “Pianos for All” ensemble course for the last 21 years, making the trip over from The Hague with several faithful students every year since 1995. The Pianos for All weekend involved groups of pianists playing music arranged for two, three and four pianos! We will miss this very special and joyful part of our annual calendar.

Saying ‘Hello’ to our Artists in Residence

In the Summer, the VIDA Guitar Quartet became the first Jackdaws Artists in Residence. It is the first time that such an appointment has been made by Jackdaws, and we are looking forward to unveiling future plans and discovering how the new relationship will bear fruit.

VIDA Concert at Jackdaws in December 2016VIDA celebrated this announcement with a fundraising concert on Saturday 3 December; their last before heading off on tour to the United States at the beginning of 2017. The concert raised important funds for Jackdaws and was a great treat for the local community.

The VIDA Quartet have a strong association with Jackdaws through the longstanding relationship between two members, Mark Eden and Christopher Stell (who also perform as the Eden Stell Guitar Duo). The Duo have been teaching at Jackdaws for more than 20 years and, as Artists in Residence, the Quartet will be ambassadors for Jackdaws in the UK and around the world.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 216

L to R: Saffron van Zwanenberg, Leo Nicholson (Accomp Prize), Holly Marie Bingham (2nd Prize), Nardus Williams (1st & Audience Prizes), Rosemary Joshua, Sam Carl (3rd Prize), Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson

The 2016 Vocal Awards continued with the same high standards set in previous years. This year it was Nardus Williams, a young soprano currently studying at the Guildhall with Yvonne Kenny, who took First Place as well as the Audience Prize. The Judges – Rosemary Joshua, Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson, chaired by Saffron van Zwanenberg – were very impressed with her performance.

We are all looking forward to the Vocal Awards 2017, which will be the 25th year of the competition. Keep your eyes peeled for details of how we are going to celebrate this significant milestone, which kickstarts the celebrations for Jackdaws 25th anniversary in 2018.

Two Great Losses

Sadly, we lost two great friends in 2016. The first was very early in the year when we heard of loss of tutor Kenneth van Barthold on 16 February. He was 88 years old and had been giving courses at Jackdaws for many years. An exceptional man, his obituary in the Telegraph shows just how respected he was.

sarah-wheeler-at-maureen-memorial-concertThen, in April, we received news that a long-time supporter of Jackdaws, Sarah Wheeler, had also passed away. She was a supporter of Jackdaws from the beginning, and a long time friend of Maureen. Sarah led the fundraising campaign that allowed us to buy our building, and when Maureen passed away in 2010, it was she who helped to organise the concert in her memory. She was a great lover of art and music and was a passionate believer in the healing power of both. As a result, she founded the Mental Fight Club and later the Dragon Cafe to share the benefit of both with others. She will be very sadly missed in Great Elm.

New Technology

We ended the year by releasing a video about our weekend courses. Produced by Tambrisk pictures, the four-minute video showcases our facilities and surroundings whilst answering questions a new-comer might have about their first visit to a Jackdaws music course. Watch the video here…

The Staff and Trustsees at Jackdaws want to thank all friends, supporters, colleagues and organisations who have helped us this year including;
Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation, Rosemary Bugden Trust, the Mercers’ Trust, the Mackintosh Foundation, Frome Voices, Cooper Hall Foundation.

Grants were also received from a number of local councils and funding bodies;
Arts Council England, Sound Foundation Somerset, Frome Town Council, South Somerset District Council.

We are also extremely grateful to the number of individuals who have made donations both large and small, and to Friends of Jackdaws, whose regular contributions ensure that Jackdaws can continue to facilitate the joy of music participation for everyone.

If you would like to make a donation to Jackdaws, you can do so by becoming a Friend, or making a one-off donation. For more information read Supporting Jackdaws.

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.

Sing in Russian

Sing in Russian

“Truly there would be reason to go mad, were it not for music.”
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Mihaly Zichy - Performance at the Bolshoi Theatre

Mihaly Zichy – Performance at the Bolshoi Theatre (1856)

Classical Music, and vocal music in particular, began in Russia during the 19th century with the introduction of Western composers to the Imperial courts. It was in the 1860s with the Mighty Handful and the formation of Conservatoires in Saint Petersburg and Moscow by the Rubinstein brothers, Anton and Nikolai respectively, when a generation of composers emerged telling Russian tales with Russian music.

From the beginning, Russia invested heavily in staging grand performances of large scale artworks. The Bolshoi Theatre (right), which has housed performances of ballet and opera in Moscow since 1825, takes its name from the Russian word большой (Bol-shoi), meaning big, grand or great, and referring to the grand performances of Opera and Ballet in this type of theatre. Thus, other Bolshoi theatres include the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. Plays take place in smaller Maly theatres.

The new Russian composers were influenced by Oktavist singers of the Orthodox church who sang deep and resonant basso profundo notes and the Bell ringing in the church towers as well as Jewish and folk melodies. This wave of nationalist Composers set texts by fellow compatriots Pushkin, Tolstoy and Dolmatovsky as well as Shakespeare and Goethe in translation. ‘The Mighty Handful’, a group of five composers headed by Mily Balakirev, including Cesar Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Borodin, strived to create a unique style of Russian Classical music, such as was being developed in other countries by their own composers.

Almost every Russian composer, from Mikhail Glinka and Alexander Dargomyzhsky, through the Mighty Handful and Tchaikovsky to Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and Prokofiev to contemporaries such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Alfred Schnittke and Leonid Desyatnikov, produced a huge amount of vocal music. Tchaikovsky wrote over 100 songs and 10 operas (including three of the biggest in the Russian repertoire Yevgeny Onegin, Iolanta and The Queen of Spades), Rachmaninov composed over 80 songs, and operas by Prokofiev and Shostakovich are still performed regularly.

Singing in Russian

Jackdaws Tutor Alexandre Naoumenko

Alexandre Naoumenko

To us, Russian vocal music can seem daunting because the text is written in the Cyrillic script, but it is easily rendered into sound with a little help. Melodies based on folk tunes are often simple, diatonic and repetitive yet driven by interesting rhythms and flavoured with unique harmony; it can be a challenge to marry these contrasting elements effectively.

Jackdaws works with Russian tenor Alexandre Naoumenko, who trained at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire and performed Mussorgsky at the Bolshoi theatre before becoming Russian language coach to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, to bring this Russian music vocal course to you each year. Together with exceptional repetiteur Richard Shaw, Alexandre introduces the language, style and culture with simple techniques to help you can create an authentic Russian performance.

We invite singers of all voices and ability to this unique weekend course in our Somerset studio, where we provide your meals and arrange your B&B accommodation with clean, local providers exclusive to Jackdaws.

I really liked the work on a new shared song, which helped to make more sense of how this unfamiliar language works.” – 2015 Singing in Russian participant

Singing in Russian
Alexandre Naoumenko
Accompanist: Richard Shaw
Friday 23 – Sunday 25 September 2016
Level: All singers and abilities
Fee: £210
B&B: Rooms Available
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