Central to the concept of the Course is generous coaching. Players are offered teaching sessions throughout the day; about 4 hours coaching per ensemble is scheduled. Repertoire for both pre-formed ensembles and those made up for free- lancers is arranged ahead. People coming together will probably have decided what they want coaching on and prepare. For ensembles of freelancers, Elizabeth takes endless care to plan mutually agreeable repertoire so that players can also prepare and be comfortable with each other and the coaching.
Typically ensembles will alternate coaching sessions with periods of private practice.
A feature of the Course is the participation of students and young professionals who play in some ensembles where a player may be lacking.
She is happy to learn about your priorities so that the timetables reflect them.
Ensembles - duos, trio, quartets, quintets as well as large - scale groups are coached by tutors representing different instruments in the ensemble.
Piano chamber music
Thanks to its well-known reputation for piano chamber music established by Elizabeth, the Course has come to be seen as a special place for pianists to explore the extraordinary and often challenging parts allotted to the instrument.
Fascinating sessions occur when the rôle of the instrument comes under close scrutiny. It informs the realisation of some of the most profound and satisfying of repertoire as strings, winds and pianists come together.
The Purcell School has good piano provision: each pianist has the use of a Steinway model B or Fazioli in the teaching rooms of the school; the 2 auditoria which we use for the same purpose have Steinway and Fazioli concert grands.
The core rôle of string players in the Course means they are often spoilt for coaching! In the art of String Quartet playing which is universally admired, outstanding coaches will be available to guide, enlighten and inspire.
Ofer Falk, violin
Sometime leader of the Allegri Quartet, and the player who lead the Quartet’s Beethoven and Shostakovitch cycles to such success.
Roger Coull, violin
Founder and leader of the internationally renowned Coull Quartet.
Pal Banda, cello
Born into a string quartet almost, and with deep experience of the repertoire, sometime cellist of the Allegri and whose solo Bach is a high point of the Course.
Maria is a much respected classical player and is there to advise generally but also in baroque and classical repertoire to give an historical perspective.
Richard Jenkinson, cello
Cello, pursues a vigorous chamber music career. He is musical director of the Dante Quartet and he has recorded extensively. His enthusiasm is greatly valued.
Ask away for all the quartets you could wish for, famous quintets by Brahms, sextets led by Ofer in hugely popular sessions which always feature no matter how crowded the timetable. We are always open to suggestions and accommodating items from your wish lists as far as is possible.
Always popular too are the mixed wind/string masterpieces those with clarinet by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms being among favourites but, equally, string chamber music with piano gives players the opportunity to enjoy piano quartets, quintets and larger-scale ensembles with pianists who look forward to the same repertoire.
Individual lessons can be made available as the timetable may allow
The usual size of the wind contingent generates the opportunity to play the great classics - for instance Mozart’s Gran’ Partita K361, and mixed ensembles for example the Schubert Octet, and Martinu Nonet
Tutors and tutees bring what seems to be an inexhaustible supply of music: please make your own contribution to the library and look in your cupboard for something you’ve never before had the chance to play, or a piece you may have enjoyed and want to share with others.
For winds alone, a vast array of music is played, for every possible combination and from the well-known to the music of our time. Led by Anthony Houghton, clarinet, and supported by Peter Merry, french horn, with further visiting specialists, each instrument has unrivalled musical and educative opportunities.
Tony is credited with having helped with the establishment of the fine reputation for music at Sheffield university, where his long concert and teaching experience and love of chamber music has benefitted the entire department.
Peter’s terrific reputation as a coach comes from both long experience, a gentle but thorough approach and a charm which makes the most complicated music seem not so difficult after all.
The baroque ensembles have a concentration of coaching and support. Edwina Smith,
renowned baroque & modern flautist, leads the programme and teaches idiomatic style for all the instrumentalists who come to relish the music of this time.
Masumi Yamamoto, fresh from her 2023 Proms, plays and teaches harpsichord to the delightof everyone on the Course, her beguiling manner a vehicle for the vast knowledge underpinning her inspirational teaching playing and teaching.
Mark Baigent, baroque and modern oboe, together with Jonathan Jones, baroque and modern bassoon, lend their expertise; Maria Becker coaches early classical and baroque style for the strings.
Visiting teachers include Maria, and double reed specialists.
The baroque specialists will offer a ‘hands-on’ introduction to baroque instruments and for pianists there may be the opportunity to try the harpsichord as desired.
Rehearsal facilities are available from 7.00am enabling individual and ensemble practice before the first coaching of the day or indeed simply for the pleasure of it.
Summer School of Chamber Music - Contact Us
Longridge, Common Lane, Letchmore Heath. Watford, Herts WD25 8EE
Tel: +44 (0) 1923 853309
Summer School of Chamber Music - How To Find Us
The Purcell School, Aldenham Road, Bushey, Herts W