Articles tagged with: Weekend Courses

Celebrate Sibelius

Celebrate Sibelius

Watercolour of Sibelius by Finnish painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Image from Wikipedia

We are all no doubt familiar with the staples of Schubert and Schumann, but with 109 songs spanning his entire compositional career, the Finnish composer Sibelius spoils us with a huge variety of exceptional vocal music. Presented as individual songs, in collections and as cycles on topics from Christmas through Astronomy to a young lover’s first kiss, Sibelius set texts in a variety of languages; his songs deserve as much recognition across the world as they enjoy in Scandinavia, and what better time to rediscover them than his anniversary year?

The songs became popular from their first performance, with performers, critics and public alike. Music scholars too have regarded the songs as having a central place in Sibelius’s output. The international success of the works has been limited for reasons of language – the majority of the songs are in Swedish – but in Scandinavia and especially in Finland they have gained a permanent place in the solo repertoire.

In 2015, the year of Sibelius’ 150th birthday, take the opportunity to work on some of his beautiful songs, in the original language or translation. We will set them against the songs of two of the biggest hitters in the repertoire, Schubert and Schumann, to see how they compare.

Ian PartridgeIan Partridge is one of Britain’s leading lyric tenors. His wide repertoire has encompassed the music of Monteverdi, Bach and Handel, the Elizabethan lute songs, German, French and English songs and first performances of new works. He appeared regularly as soloist with major choirs and orchestras in Britain and throughout the rest of the world, and in recitals he was frequently accompanied by his sister, Jennifer Partridge.

He is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, and was awarded the CBE in 1992 for services to music. Ian retired from singing end of 2008, but continues to teach, give masterclasses and adjudicate.

Join Ian at Jackdaws in the beautiful Vallis Vale to explore the songs in a perfect setting; Sibelius loved nature, and the Finnish landscape often served as material for his music. On the subject of Sibelius’ ties to nature, one biographer of the composer, Erik W. Tawaststjerna, wrote the following:

Jackdaws“Even by Nordic standards, Sibelius responded with exceptional intensity to the moods of nature and the changes in the seasons: he scanned the skies with his binoculars for the geese flying over the lake ice, listened to the screech of the cranes, and heard the cries of the curlew echo over the marshy grounds just below Ainola. He savoured the spring blossoms every bit as much as he did autumnal scents and colours”.

Sibelius, Schumann and Schubert
Ian Partridge
Friday 24 – Sunday 26 April 2015
Level: Advanced
Fee: £200
B&B: Available
Visit the course page for more information

Music by Women Composers

Music by Women Composers

Jackdaws Tutor Lauretta BloomerA new course on the Jackdaws calendar in 2015 is “Women Composers for Piano” by Lauretta Bloomer.

The weekend will draw attention to music written by female composers throughout history. Join us now for a whistle-stop tour of five major female composers spanning the last two hundred years to highlight some of the wonderful music you might not be familiar with.

Fanny Mendelssohn (1805 – 1847)
Like her younger brother, Fanny Hensel (nee Mendelssohn) wrote many short character pieces for piano as was to become typical of Romanic piano repertoire. She was inventive (her own Lieder ohne Wörte likely pre-date Felix’s) and prolific, with a flowing stream of music from the age of 14 until her early death less than 30 years later. Her inspiration drew from many contemporary sources including Goethe. She wrote in the major compositional forms for chamber including Piano Sonata, Trio, Song, Piano Suite (The impressive Das Jahr) and String Quartet with the notable exception of any large scale Symphonies or Concerti.

Clara Schumann (1819 – 1896)
14 years younger than Fanny Hensel, Clara was raised on a diet of daily one hour music lessons. As a pianist, many of the finest works of the early Romantic era were written for her, and as a composer, she began early with a piano concerto at 14(!) and later concentrated on shorter forms such as her numerous Romances and the wonderful Soirees Musicales, Op 6. Lauretta will play Clara’s “Variations on a Theme of Robert Schumann” to open the course. She is probably the most widely known female composer.

Amy Beach (1867 – 1944)

Amy Beach

Amy Beach, image George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)

The American composer Amy Beach is truly a stand alone figure in American muscial history, just as her contemporary Dame Ethel Smyth (1858 – 1944) is in British. Both composed in every major form – with Concerti, Symphonies, Choral music, Songs, Masses and even opera. Beach’s large number of piano pieces are in the late Romantic style of her contemporaries and range from the miniature Children’s Album op. 36, via song transcriptions up to the challenging Variations on Balkan Themes. Her music is confident and has the craftsmanship expected of a composer of the highest order. Smyth’s piano music equally rewards investigation, which although more conservative than Beach’s, spans a double disk set and features three sonatas and the wondefully titled “Variations on an Original Theme (of an Exceedingly Dismal nature) in Db Major”!

Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931)
A composer between eras, Gubaidulina’s music uses traditional forms (Toccata, Suite, Sonata and Chaconne) but she presents them with a refreshing modern approach. She often writes for unusual instruments or combinations, including saxophone quartet, 12 celli, music with tape and the waterphone. She makes use of new sonorities with occasional extended techniques to a musical, rather than gimmicky, effect. Her most well known work for piano, Musical Toys is a suite of 14 charming pieces imitating at various times a musical sleigh, a mechanical organ, a woodpecker and musicians in the forest. A vast quantity of her music is still unrecorded, but there are several wonderful CDs of her complete piano music available.

Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952)

Kaija Saariaho, Image musicalcriticism.com

Kaija Saariaho, Image musicalcriticism.com

Still active Kaija Saariaho has written three operas to date, as well as numerous large scale works for orchestra. Her piano concerto includes a tape of recorded birdsong and the wonderful Piano Sonata employs Debussy-like textures and beautiful sweeping arpeggios, far from the aggressive and hostile modern sonorities one might expect of a post-war composer. Her output for piano also includes her Prelude and Ballade, both written within the past 10 years, which make delightful contemporary additions to any pianist’s repertoire.

Lauretta has been to Jackdaws before, and received this wonderful, warm write up from one participant…

“We were a small group, so we each received a lot of attention. Lauretta was generous, caring and detailed in her teaching, and now that I have has a week to assimilate the work into my practice, I think it has made a genuine difference to my pieces. I think Lauretta managed the different needs and standards of the participants well, giving equal time to each person. The group session on warm up exercises was also very helpful. I understand that this was a new course, so I very much hope that it was a positive experience for Lauretta too! With best wishes, and thanks to Lauretta.”

Friday 20 – Sunday 22 March
Women Composers for Piano
Lauretta Bloomer
Level: All
Fee: £190
View the Course Page

Handel at Jackdaws

Handel at Jackdaws

Jackdaws has always had a special relationship with the music of Handel. Our founder, Maureen Lehane, was a renowned Handel interpreter whose performances were legendary and the relationship continues this March, when Handelian soprano Rosa Mannion returns to Jackdaws to lead her course on the arias of the great composer. We have been getting in the mood for the weekend with a selection of our favourite videos…

[youtube id=”HvhyIFhIKGE” width=”620″ height=”360″]
Falsa imagine” is sung by Teofane in the first act of Ottone, when she is deceived by Adelberto at their first meeting into thinking he is Ottone, the man she is to marry. Film clip from “A Night with Handel” on Channel 4 DVD.

 

[youtube id=”tBV0o3TW_n4″ width=”620″ height=”360″]
In the second act of Orlando, Dorinda sings “Se Mi Rivolgo al Prato” to the title character of how she sees the face of Medoro everywhere, the warrior with whom she is in love. From the recording with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie.

Graham Fitch, Ameral Gunson… Full!

Graham Fitch, Ameral Gunson… Full!

Ameral Gunson at JackdawsThe latest course to sell out from our 2014-15 season is Ameral Gunson’s Singing and Imagination. Ameral joins Graham Fitch, whose Practising the Piano, went to a waiting list two weeks ago.

If you missed out on booking for Singing and Imagination, we recommend Advanced Singing Technique with Teresa Cahill instead. Teresa is one of the great British sopranos. Her career has taken her across the globe and seen her perform under Sir Georg Solti, Normal Del Mar, Vernon Handley, Otto Klemperer and alongside Roger Vignoles, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Placido Domingo at the most prestigious classical festivals – the Proms, Aldeburgh, Glyndebourne (and that’s just in the UK!)

She has been visiting Jackdaws since the beginning with her course for advanced singers. Bring your own choice of repertoire from opera, operetta and oratorio in German, French, Italian or English and we will discover the depth of interpretation possible using vocal technique.

If the theatrical, creative imagination element of Ameral’s course appealed to you, then perhaps you the upcoming Audition Preparation Weekend in November would be a better alternative.

Led by vocal coach Audrey Hyland and opera director Saffron van Zwanenberg, this weekend should be the focus of your preparation for upcoming vocal auditions, whatever your ability. The panel, who both have extensive experience on audition panels, have structured the weekend to feature enactments of audition scenarios, vocal tuition and performance tips to raise the level your performance and give you the competitive edge.

To view all Jackdaws Vocal Courses, visit the Voice page.

Jackdaws programme of One-Day Taster Courses are also selling well, and serve as a fantastic introduction to areas of music you may not have considered – Alexander technique, anyone?

Advanced Singing Technique Course Details
Friday 17 – Sunday 19 October 2014
Course No. 3113
Level: Advanced
Fee: £200

Audition Preparation Weekend Course Details
Friday 7 – Sunday 9 November 2014
Course No. 3115
Level: A
Fee: £200

B&B available from £30 per night

Jackdaws Season 2014-15

Jackdaws Season 2014-15

JACKDAWS PRESENTS EXCITING NEW PROGRAMME OF EVENTS FOR 14-15 SEASON

Anna Stegmann Photo: Marco Borggreve

New Tutor for 2014-15, Anna Stegmann

Jackdaws Music Education Trust is delighted to present its latest programme of weekend music courses.

The season commences in October 2014 and sees residential courses offered with tutors such as Graham Fitch and Philip Fowke on piano, Evelyn Tubb and Rosa Mannnion on voice as well as ensemble courses and much more. Jackdaws’ series of taster Day Courses also return offering a wonderful introduction to new areas of music making as well as a famous Jackdaws lunch.

Jackdaws is also delighted to welcome some new tutors: Anna Stegmann, contemporary recorder Professor at the Royal Academy is taking a joint course with resident recorder tutor Pamela Thorby; celebrated soprano, Mary Plazas leads the Opera Workshop for singers of all ability; renowned singers Sarah Leonard and Stephen Varcoe are leading an English Song weekend and the extraordinary piano teacher Penelope Roskell is coming to Jackdaws for the first time.

“I am so delighted that such eminent professional musicians continue to support the work we do to include musicians from all backgrounds in accessing the best teaching and being inspired by discovering new repertoire and techniques. Often being a musician can be a solitary experience, so we are thrilled to be able to enable our tutors and our participants in coming together to bring music to life whilst spending time in our picturesque and inspiring location.” – Saffron van Zwanenberg, Jackdaws Artistic Director

Alongside all of these wonderful opportunities Jackdaws will also be continuing to be at the forefront of music education for children and young people in Somerset, championing classical music and musicians and promoting a classical method of teaching and learning to support and enable young people to fulfil their musical aspirations.

To view all Jackdaws courses visit the Calendar

Piano Summer School at Jackdaws Riverside Retreat

Piano Summer School at Jackdaws Riverside Retreat

Mark TannerOffering the opportunity to use the longer time of three days, this hugely popular course provides you with the time and space 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. Mark is an experienced examiner and will provide support for those taking grade and diploma exams as well as those who just want to play for pleasure.

As in previous years, the course will have a maximum of 12 participants, which has proved to be an optimum figure – the perfect compromise between the needs of the individuals, repertoire already worked up for the purposes of scrutiny by Mark, and spontaneous group discussions, which are always as entertaining as they are enlightening.

Aim to bring along two or more pieces that show your playing in a good light – this can, having said that, constitute ‘work in progress’ – but consider carefully how your thirty-minute sessions might best be profitable to you.

Mark Tanner specialises in teaching advanced level pianists and is one of the West Country’s most revered teachers. Students wishing to take diploma or higher-grade examinations, or perhaps prepare for a recital etc., would benefit from joining his Piano Summer School at the peaceful riverside location of Jackdaws.

In recent times, Mark’s students have gained first and second prizes in national competitions. Several have gained their DIPABRSM, LRSM, LTCL and LLCM diplomas (indeed Mark is an international examiner of these diplomas for ABRSM) and have progressed to study at conservatoires and universities at home and abroad.

Since 2011 Mark has been a lecturer in piano and composition at University College Falmouth. His students tackle a variety of different programmes and enjoy a diverse range of musical styles. For many years he taught adult music appreciation courses and Piano Summer School at Jackdaws has become one of the landmarks of the year.

Jackdaws by the RiverPiano Summer School Course Details
Thursday 24 – Sunday 27 July 2014
Course No. 3101
Level: Advanced
Fee: £260
B&B available from £30 per night
Click here to book

View Mark’s Website
Mark on Twitter

Jackdaws in the March Sun

Jackdaws in the March Sun

The sun which has been shining down on Britain over the weekend has raised our spirits so we took a few photos in the hope they’ll raise yours too.

Improved Access to Jackdaws

Improved Access to Jackdaws

elmlaneretarmac
Over the past month, Frome Town Council has resurfaced Elm Lane, which connects the village of Great Elm to Frome, and is part of National Cycle Route number 24 (“Collier’s Way“).

Elm Lane, shown in red on the above map, was previously treacherous due to potholes which could become hidden by puddles when the road was wet. It now has a smooth tarmac from Jackdaws running all the way out to Egford Hill. It remains a single lane ‘country’ road with passing points but is now much more pleasant for walking, cycling and driving to and from Jackdaws.

This improvement is particularly beneficial to parents dropping children at Jack’s Music Club on Friday evenings, musicians visiting one of our Piano Clubs and participants arriving for our weekend courses.

Map by Google.

From Reed to Recital

From Reed to Recital

Jackdaws Tutor Maria MealeyJackdaws’ specialist Bassoon and Reed course, ‘From Reed to Recital‘ runs again this March 28th – 30th. Robert Codd and Maria Mealey have been running this course almost since Jackdaws started.

We spoke to Maria about how she first became involved with tutoring this course,

“I first met Robert at a freelance concert and he suggested I should write to the BBC to be put on their “extras ” list. This seems like an awfully long time ago, 15 or even 20 years ago. Since then I’ve been going into the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on a fairly regular basis an extra player on bassoon and contra.

After a few years Robert asked if I would be interested in helping him on his Jackdaws bassoon course, this must have been 14 Years ago, and I’ve been tutoring with him ever since. It has always been a great pleasure to work with a wonderful musician, I’ve also learned a lot from him and his wonderful sense of humour always makes me laugh.”

Maria studied bassoon at the Geneva Conservatoire with Roger Birnstingl where she received the Prix de Virtosite in 1989. She has played with several European orchestras and has held the position of second bassoon and contra bassoon with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal. She taught the Birmingham Conservatoire for 11 years and currently teaches at Cheltenham Ladies College.

The weekend with Maria and Robert is a wonderful experience; relaxed, friendly and not at all competitive. Maria says, “I like to think people who come on the course can be relaxed and share in all the bassoon knowledge that everyone brings to the course, be it tutor or participant.”

“We always try and choose a theme for the course, perhaps unaccompanied pieces, cadenzas or fingerings but we also ask the participants what they are struggling with and then try and structure the various sessions around these problems so that we can all learn how to deal with them.

Ensemble work is the central part of the course and we have a wide variety of pieces that generally suit people’s different strengths so that it is not a problem if someone has a lot or a little experience of playing in ensembles. We try to make everyone feel as confident as possible within the group so that they can perform at their best.”

Asking Maria, she says that the most gratifying thing about teaching at Jackdaws is, “when people come back time after time particularly when we can hear how their playing improves year after year and I hope that perhaps, the Jackdaws course will have contributed to that, at least a little. ”

From Reed to Recital Course Details
Friday 28 – Sunday 30 March
Course No. 3087
Level: Intermediate-Advanced
Fee £190
B&B available from £30 per night
Click here to book

Madeleine Mitchell’s Violin Workshop

Madeleine Mitchell’s Violin Workshop

Madeleine Mitchell

Photo by Rama Knight

We were so happy with Madeleine’s first Violin Workshop weekend at Jackdaws in 2012 that we were delighted when she agreed to return for another weekend this October!

Madeleine Mitchell, a highly active concert violinist, has just been performing Bruch Violin Concerto in Edinburgh during the Festival, to an appreciative audience. In September she gives recitals in Paris (based on her popular CD ‘Violin Songs’), followed by 2 in west London – on 18th in the exquisite church St Mary’s Perivale (Franck violin Sonata with Nigel Clayton) and on 23rd, Brahms horn trio (with pianist John Lenehan and the principal horn of BBCSO) at the Bishop Centre, Godolphin and Latymer. On 8th October she gives a recital in Rome, broadcast live by Radio CEMAT and on 16th gives a recital at Leighton House, London for the 75th birthday of Howard Blake OBE, to open Kensington & Chelsea Music Society’s 2013/14 season.

Madeleine’s Violin Workshop weekend at Jackdaws takes place from Friday 18 – Sunday 20 October.

Participants are invited to bring any repertoire, with or without accompaniment, to this Violin weekend course. Madeleine will offer technical and musical guidance in a supportive and friendly atmosphere, working towards an informal concert on Sunday afternoon. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn from Madeleine’s experience as a solo and chamber artist. An accompanist will be available for Saturday evening and on Sunday.

Course details:
Friday 18 – Sunday 20 October 2013
Violin Workshop
Course No. 3068

Level: Intermediate-Advanced
Fee £190
B&B available from £30 per night
Click here to book

Search for a Course

Archives