Here’s our selection of some of the best Classical Music Summer Schools in 2021.
Due to Covid-19, please check individual websites as dates and events may have to change at short notice.
Various instruments, including voice
Residential and day music courses for students of all levels at a beautiful purpose-built campus in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
Dates: Throughout the year – there are around 220 residential music courses offered annually.
Who is it for? Musicians of all ages and abilities – whether your taste is for classical, jazz, popular, or folk, there is a day, residential or online music course to suit you.
Accommodation: a range of comfortable bedrooms with ensuite or shared bathroom facilities suited to a wide range of budgets.
British Isles Music Festival
The British Isles Music Festival is for strings, wind, piano, voice, harp and harpsichord, and takes place at Charterhouse School near Guildford, Surrey. It offers young musicians intensive coaching, invaluable performance experience and the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of solo and chamber music repertoire. The team of professors are experienced performers and teachers in the top conservatories in UK and Europe.
Date: 6th – 15 August 2021
Who is it for? International young musicians from music schools and conservatories, and young musicians at the beginning of their careers. Age: 16 – 32
Accommodation: single bedrooms in the Boarding Houses of Charterhouse School.
Programme: Daily classes, chamber music coaching, rehearsals and concerts.
Dartington Music Summer School & Festival
Dartington Summer School is held on the beautiful medieval estate of Dartington Hall, near Totnes, Devon. Internationally renowned musicians teach and direct the courses and perform concerts in the evenings. It runs across four weeks and you can book the week(s) that suit your interest.
Dates: 24 – 31 July / 31 July – 7 August / 7 August – 14 August / 14 August – 21 August.
Who is it for? Everyone – professional musicians, music students of all ages, people who love to play, sing and write, and people who love to listen.
Accommodation: Full board residential packages as well as non-residential options (you can stay off-site and buy a a Courses & Concerts pass which allows you to take part in any of the courses, as a participant or observer (unless specified), as well as attend all of the festival concerts and events.
Programme: This will feature choirs, singing, and chamber music in each week. The first week has early music with cornets, sackbuts, lutes, viols and harpsichords, and the second week baroque and folk courses. The third focusses on strings and piano courses – with lots of chamber music! And finally, the last week encompasses wind, brass, jazz and new music.
Artistic Director: Sara Mohr-Pietsch
XXIV International Summer Music Course – Llandovery
Llandovery summer music is an intensive Music Course held at Llandovery College, Wales, UK.
Dates: Pre-course – 6th July 2021 – 10th July 2021 (arrival on 5th July)
Main course – 12th July 2021 – 25th July 2021 (arrival 11th July afternoon, departure 25th July morning)
Who is it for? Young musicians preparing exams, auditions and competitions with some of the worlds best teachers. Between 23 to 38 countries are represented on average on each course.
Accommodation: 2 options:
- Non-residential: local students, or participants who choose to live out in hotels, B&B etc, taking two main meals from Sundays to Fridays
- Residential: those who want full-board and take all their meals at Llandovery College for the duration of the course
Programme: Masterclasses, Chamber Music Coaching, orchestral workshops, jazz workshops, choir, conducting, composition.
International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove
The International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove, in Cornwall, was founded in 1972 by the Hungarian violinist, Sándor Végh and Hilary Tunstall-Behrens. The Masterclasses are held each spring for three weeks, and normally over one hundred participants are involved every year. The seminars provide a totally professional atmosphere and aim to foster the highest level of advanced study, drawing inspiration from the central-European tradition. String players predominate, with solo and string quartet classes, but also an important part of the course is the “Piano in Chamber Music” class, encouraging established ensembles ranging from duo to quintet.
Dates: Masterclasses: 28th March to 7th April.
Who is it for? Advanced players by audition (AUDIO recording in MP3 FORMAT* of two or three contrasting works of approx 20 mins in total).
Accommodation: Participants live in small cottages on the Porth-en-Alls estate on the Atlantic coast near Penzance. The number of participating musicians is restricted to 60. Meals are taken together in the refectory in the main house.
Artistic Directors: Steven Isserlis with András Schiff and Ralph Kirshbaum as Artistic Advisers.
International Cello Gathering
The International Cello Gathering meets for a week twice a year, in the idyllic surroundings of Bryanston School in Dorset.
Dates: Easter Course: 10th -15th April. Summer Course: tbc
Who is it for? Adult and junior cello players – no minimum standard but around ABRSM Grade VIII.
Accommodation: At Bryanston School. The facilities are outstanding; the concert hall and recital room are named after the school’s most famous music alumni, the conductors Mark Elder and John Elliot Gardiner. The building opens at 07:00am for students to start the day with a practice session and closes at 10:00pm.
Programme: Easter course: each student receives an individual lesson/masterclass every day, supplemented by Alexander lessons and duo rehearsals. Students are encouraged to listen to as many masterclasses as possible as well as doing private practice during the day. Summer course: The information gained from the discussions and daily individual lesson/ masterclasses is then put into action using Informal Performance Platforms and a Formal Concert and Chamber Music Concert at the end of the week. The Chamber music, of which there are two elements, duo coaching and small chamber groups (also coached), are essential in trying to reinforce the musical aspects from individual lessons.
Artistic Director: Sue Lowe. Most of the teachers are, or have been associated with, the Strings Department at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Hannah Roberts Summer Cello Masterclasses
An opportunity to study with one of Europe’s most renowned cellists on a residential course at Malvern College, situated in the heart of the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire.
Dates: 22nd – 27th July.
Who is it for? Students auditioning for music college, conservatoire students and young professionals. The lower age limit is 18.
Programme: Each participant will have individual cello lessons and a masterclass with Hannah Roberts, rehearsals with piano, access as listeners to the daily masterclasses, and the opportunity to perform in the closing concert. There will also be daily technique classes with Leandro Silvera, as well as cello ensemble in the evening.
Details: @summercellocourse on Facebook.
International Strings Summer School
This residential course, which takes place at St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh, offers participants an intensive and exciting week of solo, chamber and large ensemble playing, including the opportunity to perform alongside professional orchestral players. It is led by Head of Strings, Valerie Pearson, and supported by members of the String Faculty at St Mary’s Music School, and players from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Dates: 1st – 6th August, 2021
Who is it for? Violin, viola, and cello students aged 11 to 15, grade 7 standard and above, who would like to improve their technique and playing ability,
International Woodwind Summer School
Led by faculty members Lis Dooner and Fraser Kelman, this innovative course at St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh, is designed to help improve your confidence and playing technique in a fun and supportive environment. You can expect a comprehensive range of group and individual classes, with focussed attention as there are only 16 places available.
Dates: 1st – 6th August, 2021
Who is it for? Flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon players aged 14 to 17, Grade 7 and above (ABRSM or Trinity or equivalent) who would like to improve their technique and playing ability.
Programme: Individual lessons (with the opportunity for other students to observe), chamber music, performances classes, yoga / mindfulness / wellbeing, instrument specific classes (e.g. reedmaking for oboists, baroque style for flautists etc.), Alexander Technique, Dalcroze sessions, workshop sessions.
Oxford Flute Summer School
Oxford Flute Summer School offers a very busy week everyone will take part in ensembles, flute choirs, warm up and technique sessions, where the focus is on developing your own musical voice. It is held at Radley College, Abingdon, Oxfordshire.
Dates: 15th – 20th August, 2021
Who is it for? There are 3 different options from players who want to develop their skills (about grade 5+) right up to postgraduate students and young professional players. It’s primarily an adult course – the majority of participants tend to be between 17-30 years old.
Accommodation: Radley College is a stunning backdrop to the summer school, with acres of mown green fields and woodland to walk in. The facilities are superb. Each accommodation block has a kitchen to make hot drinks and chat to friends. There is also access to the swimming pool at the sports centre on site.
Programme: Typically, a technique class, a masterclass, flute choir, coached ensemble, another class or ensemble, private lessons and an evening concert. The timetable is very full, with activities from 8am to 10pm daily for the full 6 days.
Chethams International Piano Summer School
Chetham’s Piano Summer School is one of the most vibrant, respected, inspirational and universally friendly events of its kind in the world. Participants enrol from all five continents and are inspired, guided and educated by a faculty of over 60 internationally celebrated performer-teachers. New online option for 2021 .
Dates: Part One: 16 – 21 August. Part Two: 21 – 26 August. Junior Piano Academy 7-8 & 13 – 16 August
Who is it for? Everyone who loves the piano!
Accommodation: Resident and non-resident options available.
Programme: it is possible to choose from many different varied course options including Piano, adult amateur, composition, harpsichord, jazz, theory etc. Each course offers three hours of individual lessons, plus workshops, performance opportunities and practise rooms that are open for 18 hours a day. Evening recitals by members of the faculty and special guests provide world-class performances in the award winning Stoller Hall venue.
Finchcocks Piano Courses
Finchcocks offers residential piano courses throughout the year for adults of all abilities including professional pianists and teachers. Finchcocks, Goudhurst. Kent.
Dates: Year round. It is hoped that 2021 courses will resume from 19 March, with COVID-secure procedures.
Who is it for? Adult pianists. Finchcocks offer courses that cater for people who are keen to take up the piano from scratch, sometimes having not played the piano at all. At the other end of the spectrum, we offer courses for advanced players (grade 8+) who are working on their diploma as well as courses for professional pianists and piano teachers.
Accommodation: This is provided in the newly refurbished grade I manor house, each room offering an ensuite or its own private bathroom. Each guest has access to their own grand piano in the vaulted recital rooms in the main house.
Programme: The courses offer a combination of workshops, masterclasses, seminars and one-to-one tuition. Workshops tend to focus on technique, whereas masterclasses aim to develop performance skills and interpretation. Seminars or short recitals are available on Saturday evenings on the weekend courses and tend to explore the work and style of a particular composer.
International Piano Summer School
The Piano Summer School, which takes place at St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh, offers a comprehensive and broad-ranging programme aimed at talented pianists who wish to expand their horizons and playing capability. It is led by Helena Buckmayer and John Cameron.
Dates: 8th – 13th August
Who is it for? Pianists aged 13 to 17, Grade 7 or above (ABRSM or Trinity) or who are playing at an equivalent level. Following a video submission, successful applicants will be invited to take part.
Programme: Individual lessons – 2 x 45 mins, online masterclass by an internationally-renowned pianist, performance classes, duo coaching with another instrumentalist, duo rehearsals, lesson observation, yoga for musicians, Alexander Technique, and ‘drop in’ practice clinics.
Summer School for pianists
This summer school takes place at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire, set amidst 250 acres of magnificent National Trust gardens. The masterclasses, lecture presentations, tutor and student concerts, ensuite accommodation and good food in a stunning location create an event that is informative, stimulating and sociable for all pianists – and music lovers who simply wish to observe.
Dates: 14th – 20th August 2021
Who is it for? All pianists. Standard of playing ranges from anything between post-Diploma and approximately Grade 4. Those applying for a place on the summer school must be at least 18 years of age.
Accommodation: on site. The accommodation houses and music school are near each other.
Programme: The theme for 2021 is ‘The Mendelssohns’ including the music of Felix and his sister, Fanny. Each participant will be allotted three half-hour slots in their masterclasses during the week. There will also be a class for Piano Accompaniment plus optional activities including a choir.