Wind chamber music courses
2020 and 2021
“Several people commented that this was the best course they had attended, and I certainly agree it was right up there”
“I have never enjoyed a course more”
Feedback from two course participants in 2019
ON THIS PAGE:
The island of Guernsey: 25th September - 2nd October 2021
Details on dark green panel
Higham Hall in the Lake District: Spring, Summer and Autumn courses
Details on light green panel
Beethoven 250 Celebration!
18-20 and 20-22 November 2020 in Park Place, Wickham, Hampshire
Details on dark blue panel
Details of required playing standards
If you are not sure about grades or playing levels, check the guide at the bottom of this page to ensure that you are selecting the right event for you.
Covid-19 and wind chamber ensemble playing
All Wind Serenades events conform to health and safety regulations and guidance, and the scheduled activities are modified in response to new information and updates. The routine for all courses now includes daily self-op temperature checks, social distancing in groups (with special personalised ribbon measures provided for each player), provision of 70% alcohol hand sanitiser, ethanol wipes and other cleaning materials, and printed information sheets. Events take place in Covid-secure venues, and at the moment there will be no concert performances open to the general public. A detailed Risk Assessment is available on request.
Course details: Whilst every effort is made to ensure that courses run as planned, it may be necessary to change details on any of the courses featured on this webpage.
Saturday 25th September - Saturday 2nd October 2021
(7 nights / 6 days of course activities)
A one-week course for advanced players,
tutored by John Anderson and Laurence Perkins
Wind Serenades is returning to Guernsey after a wonderful week of music-making and island explorations in October 2019.
Below are some of the comments from players on the 2019 course:
“A wonderful week of music-making, relaxation, meeting amazing people and making memories. Thank you for an outstanding experience.”
"A good balance of playing sessions and social time.”
“A good varied programme with plenty to rehearse”
“The whole group got on really well together”
“Really good standard of players”
“Beautiful setting in a convenient position for exploring more of the island”
“Very friendly and helpful staff”
“Very comfortable - airy rehearsal rooms and lovely views”
“Just the right level of comfort for a course"
“Beautiful location, stunning views“
“Excellent tutoring - thoughtful, relevant, supportive, brings the best out of groups and individuals”
“Two very experienced musicians / teachers who complemented each other perfectly”
Listen to excerpts from the informal concert on the final day of the course:
❊ Wonderful course venue with magnificent sea views
❊ Superb food and accommodation
❊ World-class tuition
❊ Music sent out in advance for personal practice
What's on the programme for the 2021 Guernsey course?
Exact programme details will only be decided when the final player list is confirmed, but we are hoping to include two major wind chamber masterpieces - Richard Strauss "From an Invalid's Workshop" and Mozart 'Gran Partita', alongside old favourites and new discoveries for trio, quartet, quintet, octet and other combinations. As well as the scheduled sessions with tutors, there will also be opportunities to play your own selection of music in untutored DIY sessions, just for fun. There will be an short tutor's performance, plus an informal participant's concert on Friday afternoon, featuring some of the music rehearsed through the week. This will be followed, of course, by dinner and a party!
Free time is also a chance to explore this beautiful island (the buses on Guernsey are excellent and inexpensive), and there may be the chance of an afternoon rib voyage* to nearby smaller islands.
* Optional activity, charged additionally
Arrival: Saturday 25th September 2021 - no playing sessions on that day, dinner served in the evening.
Departure: Saturday 2nd October, after breakfast.
By air: There is an excellent range of flights from many UK airports by Aurigny, Guernsey's own airline - click the flight name to link directly to the Aurigny website.
By ferry: There are ferries from Poole and Portsmouth run by Condor Ferries - click the ferry name to link directly to the Condor website.
All quoted prices include 7 nights en-suite accommodation, full board and course fee.
Single room: £1072
Standard double/twin room, single occupancy: £1137
Superior or seaview double/twin room, single occupancy: £1264
Standard double/twin room, two playing partners sharing*: £969 per person
Superior or seaview double/twin room, two playing partners sharing*: £1034 per person
Standard double/twin room, one player plus one non-playing partner: £1475 (total for two people)
Superior or seaview double/twin room, one player plus one non-playing partner: £1607 (total for two people)
* Because of the current Covid-19 regulations, it not possible at the moment to accept bookings for a room shared by two unrelated players. If this regulation changes before 30th June 2021, it will be possible (subject to room availability) to change your single-room booking to a shared standard or superior twin room at the rates quoted above for two playing partners.
in the beautiful English Lake District, near Bassenthwaite Lake in north Cumbria
Three outstanding wind chamber music courses
❊ Inspiring location, looking onto the Lakeland fells
❊ Music sent in advance for personal practice
❊ A wonderful course venue, with superb food and accommodation
❊ World-class professional tuition
❊ Excellent value for money
from 2019 Wind Serenades
courses at Higham Hall
About Higham Hall...
“Warm, welcoming, perfect setting - a very special place”
”Lovely location in which to make music. A haven of peace and tranquility with ever-changing views”
“Spacious, clean, welcoming, relaxing, in beautiful surroundings and attended by friendly staff”
...and the food:
“Very tasty and varied”
“Great (optional) vegetarian menu choices”
“Loved the large variety of salads at lunchtime - difficult to resist the puddings!”
About the music for the course...
“An excellent, varied selection of music”
“The level of technical difficulty suited me well”
“Excellent choice. I liked the three different styles chosen to develop different skills in ensemble playing”
“Just right - a nice balance of styles and techniques”
“Very appropriate for our level, giving opportunity to listen to others and improve various techniques”
... and the tutoring:
“Absolutely first class! A big thank you to the tutors for their patience, encouragement and expertise”
“Excellent. Always supportive and positive. Lots of attention to detail, and encouraging through to final performance”
“Difficulties were instantly analysed and remedies made clear”
“Top notch. Very informative, nice mix of technical and instrumental. I learnt a lot. Tutor’s concert was stunning!”
Sample Wind Serenades at Higham Hall for yourself...
ABOVE: images and musical samples from the July 2019 course
BELOW: audio excerpts from the July 2018 course
(1) Samuel Barber "Summer Music" (2) Richard Rodney Bennett "Reflections on a Sixteenth Century Tune" (3) Irving Fine: Partita (4) Carl Nielsen: Wind Quintet
Tutors at Higham Hall include:
Solo bassoonist - former principal bassoon, Manchester Camerata Orchestra (Wind Serenades Course Director - all courses)
Flute soloist - member of Nash Ensemble (Summer course)
Principal Clarinettist in Opera North Orchestra (Summer course)
Jan Willem Nelleke
Concert pianist - tutor at Royal Conservatory, The Hague (Summer course)
Clarinettist - former member of Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (October course)
What to expect from a Wind Serenades course at Higham Hall...
- Superb music-making with musicians of roughly the same playing standard
- In-depth exploration of the music with world-class tutors, with parts sent out in advance for personal practice
- Developing ensemble skills to enhance your chamber and orchestral playing
- A chance to play your music in an informal public concert
- Relaxation and inspiration in one of the most beautiful locations in the British Isles
- Enjoy excellent Cumbrian food and stunning Lakeland views
2021 Spring Course
for advanced players
(above grade 8)
Sunday 28th February
- Thursday 4th March 2021
(arrive 28th between 4-6pm, depart 4th after lunch)
For 10 winds:
Dvorak Czech Suite
Verdi: ‘Force of Destiny’ overture
Gershwin: I Got Rhythm
Grieg: Wedding Day at Troldhaugen
Bartok: Rumanian Folk Dances
Welcome the Spring with five days in the beautiful Lake District, playing a range of inspiring music for 5 and 10 players.
This is a hugely popular course with only limited places that regularly book up very quickly (including a few priority bookings from players on previous courses), so if you are interested, please send an application form now - click HERE to link directly to the form.
Residential: £436 Non-residential: £304 (deposit £150). For those travelling by train via Penrith, a minibus transfer can be arranged at 5pm from Penrith Rail Station (+£20) by prior arrangement on booking.
2021 Summer course
for high-advanced players
Philippa Davies, Jan Willem Nelleke, Colin Honour and Laurence Perkins
Sunday 4th - Friday 9th July 2021
(Sunday 4th - arrive 2-3pm / Friday 9th - depart 4pm)
Music from Britain
A celebration of music from British composers, including* original works by Guy Woolfenden, William Hurlstone, Malcolm Arnold, John McCabe, Richard Rodney Bennett, William Alwyn, Paul Reade and Christopher Brown. This is a rare and exceptional opportunity for advanced players of diploma levels 1-3 (see Required Playing Standards below) to work at a very high musical level, playing substantial original works with approximately 15 hours of detailed in-depth tuition.
As this programme was postponed for 12 months because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many places are already booked, but enquiries are still invited - click HERE to link directly to the application form.
Residential: £690 Non-residential: £510 (deposit £150). For those travelling by train via Penrith, a minibus transfer can be arranged at 4.30pm from Penrith Rail Station (+£20) by prior arrangement on booking.
* exact programme details are to be confirmed
2021 Autumn course
for intermediate and elementary players
(see below for details of playing standards)
Laurence Perkins and Mandy Burvill
- Sunday 24th October 2021
(arrive 28th between 4-6pm, depart 4th after lunch)
Ensemble versions of some of the great classics of the Baroque era, including
Handel: Water Music
Gabrieli Sonata Pian e Forte
Vivaldi Four Seasons (excerpts)
Each day will begin with a warm-up session led my the two tutors, to help you play in an effective and enjoyable way in your groups. There will also be smaller ensembles which will be graded so that (as far as possible) all people in each group are roughly of the same standard.
There will also be opportunities to play through music of your own choice (you can bring along pieces if you wish) in untutored sessions with the other players, just for fun!
This is one of very few courses in the UK catering specifically for earlier-grade players - it is very popular and books up quickly, so if you are interested, please click HERE and send an application form now!
Residential: £556 Non-residential: £424 (deposit £150). For those travelling by train via Penrith, a minibus transfer can be arranged at 5pm from Penrith Rail Station (+£20) by prior arrangement on booking.
Tutors for the Wind Serenades courses include:
2020 Autumn course
for elementary (grades 3-5) and intermediate (grades 6-8) players
Mandy Burvill (clarinet)
Laurence Perkins (bassoon)
Monday 19th - Friday 23rd October 2020
Monday 19th - arrive 4-6pm / Friday 23th - depart 2pm
Music of the Mountains
A wonderfully inspiring themed programme for 2020, including music from Norway, Switzerland, Scotland, the Appalachian mountains - and, of course, Cumbria!
This rapidly expanding course is ideal for elementary and intermediate-level players of roughly grades 3-8 standard (see Required Playing Standards below) - a superb introduction to chamber music playing. Laurence is joined for this course by clarinettist Mandy Burvill, who has played with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and many other orchestras and ensembles in the UK.
❋ Ensemble playing in large and small groups, with friendly relaxed tutoring
❋ Special sessions on how to make the most of your personal practice
❋ Help and advice on ensemble technique
❋ A short tutors concert
This is a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Lakeland Autumn colours alongside wonderful music-making!
Residential: £551 / Non-residential: £419
Click HERE for the on-line application form.
CORONAVIRUS - LATEST UPDATE:
This course is still currently scheduled to go ahead, and current information indicates that we should be able to run this course in October. However, if there is any change to this because of the coronavirus situation, details will be posted here and players booked onto the course will be notified.
Two three-day courses at Park Place, Wickham, Hampshire
Janet Hilton clarinet (Wednesday - Friday)
Laurence Perkins bassoon (both courses)
Yoshiko Endo piano (Wednesday - Friday)
For 2020, the ever-popular Wind Serenades series of courses includes a special celebration of the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven in November, which is as near to his exact birthday as we know.
Wednesday 18th - Friday 20th November 2020
for advanced-level players, tutored by Janet Hilton, Laurence Perkins and Yoshiko Endo
Octet, Op.103: 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns
Sextet, Op.71: 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns
Quintet, Op.16: Piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn
plus a free Tutor’s Concert including the Beethoven Trio Op.38
Players arrive Wednesday 18th at 4pm, depart Friday 20th at 4pm
Course fee: 2 nights, full board from Wednesday dinner to Friday lunch £430
This is a wonderful chance for advanced amateur players to work in-depth (in pre-formed groups, each player playing one work) on one of Beethoven’s three great original wind chamber works, in sessions tutored by two world-famous woodwind players and a distinguished concert pianist. Janet Hilton and Laurence Perkins will tutor the Octet and Sextet, while Yoshiko Endo will play/tutor the Quintet - about six hours of tutored sessions, plus a final rehearsal in the Chapel. All three works will be performed in full in a Friday afternoon informal concert. The tutors will also give their own informal concert on Thursday evening, which will include the Trio Op.38 - Beethoven’s own arrangement of his hugely popular Septet, Op.20.
Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd November 2020
for advanced and intermediate-level players (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn), tutored by Laurence Perkins
‘Eroica’ Variations, Op. 35
12 Kontretänze, WoO 14
Players arrive Friday 20th at 4pm (or 2.30pm for free concert), depart Sunday 22nd 4pm
Course fee: 2 nights, full board from Friday dinner to Sunday lunch £385
Here is a unique opportunity to take part in the first performance of outstanding new wind-ensemble versions of two Beethoven works - his mighty ‘Eroica’ Variations (15 Variations and a Fugue based on the theme from the last movement of his ‘Eroica’ Symphony), and in complete contrast, his delightfully colourful, light-hearted set of 12 Kontretänze.
Both works will be played one-player-to-a-part. Advanced parts will be for players of above grade 8 level, and intermediate parts will be for players of grade 6-8 level. Parts will be allocated to specific players, and sent out a month in advance for personal practice before the weekend sessions.
Players on this weekend course can arrive slightly earlier on Friday 20th (at 2.30pm) to listen to the informal concert performances of the Octet, Sextet and Quintet, if desired.
Special discount rate for players attending both courses (Wednesday - Sunday): £750 for both events (a saving of £65)
On-line APPLICATION form - click HERE
SPECIAL NOTE: This course is still currently scheduled to go ahead, and current information indicates that we should be able to run this course in November. However, if there is any change to this because of the coronavirus situation, details will be posted here and players booked onto the course will be notified.
Required Playing Standards
(for all courses)
It is very important that you assess your current playing standard as accurately as possible. Assessing playing standards is not (and cannot be) an exact science, and the grade system established by the Associated Board and other examiners is at best an approximate guide.
Please use the guidelines below to help you make this assessment, remembering that the description and details are at least as important as the grade or qualification itself.
Elementary players: AB* grades 3-5
You need to be reasonably fluent and confident with fairly straightforward music in keys of up to three sharps or flats, and play reasonably well in tune with some dynamic contrast. In these sessions parts may be doubled in some pieces. Clarinets only require B flat instruments, horn parts will be in F.
Intermediate players: AB* grades 6-8
Good fluency is needed in a range of music which will involve some technical challenges and may be in keys of up to five sharps or flats. Good tuning, tone production, dynamic range and articulation will be required. The music will normally be played one-to-a-part, unless there is a special reason to do otherwise. Clarinets normally only require B flat instruments. Horn players may be required to do basic transpositions.
Advanced players: Above AB* grade 8 / ABRSM
Fluency in all keys is essential, as many of the pieces in these courses are technically and musically demanding. As well as excellent tuning, tone production, extreme dynamics, and a wide range of articulation speeds and characters, players will also need to be able to cope with occasional rhythmic and counting complexities. These sessions will be one player to a part, unless otherwise specified for a particular musical reason. Clarinettists require B flat and A instruments, alternative instruments (e.g. piccolo, bass clarinet, etc.) may be required (please check for details), and horn players need to be proficient in all the normal transpositions. High-advanced (diploma levels 1/3, dipABRSM, LRSM, FRSM) is similar, but performing music which is even more challenging both musically and technically.
What NOT to do:
Under-assess yourself ‘just to play safe’ – if you’re happy to play easier parts, that’s fine, but if you want to play up to your level and meet a suitable level of challenge, please follow the guidelines above.
Over-assess yourself ‘just to get to play with the best players’. This can and does cause problems and can be embarrassing for you and others in the group. Make your challenge a realistic one – be confident that you are applying for a course of the right standard according to the specifications listed above. If you are uncertain, please check with Laurence Perkins before applying.
* approximate playing standards based on Associated Board (ABRSM) examination grades
All repertoire listed in these course details are subject to the right number and combinations of instruments applying for these courses. In the event of there being an insufficient number of players on a course, the organisers reserve the right to change the music being played.
Please pass the word round, to ensure that we have enough players to make each course a good experience for everyone!