Wind Serenades

WS front panel JPG

2023 Wind Chamber Music Courses

for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn players, directed by Laurence Perkins

Fantastic value for money
in these challenging times...

For less money than some recent self-catering caravan rentals, you can have a tutored course with full-board accommodation and superb food in a stunning location! Read on, details below...

Players and tutors at the Wind Serenades course at Higham Hall, July 2022
Players and tutors at the Wind Serenades course at Higham Hall, July 2022

❋ Beautiful locations with excellent accommodation and food
❋ Inspiring music exploring rarities alongside much-loved classic favourites
❋ Chance to prepare with music sent in advance for personal practice

❋ Musical insight with time to explore in detail during rehearsals
❋ Expert guidance from world-class professional tutors
❋ Relaxation time to rest and explore local areas
❋ Impromptu playing in untutored sessions, just for fun
❋ Musical friendships through meeting new players from the UK and beyond

 

What players have said about recent Wind Serenades courses:

”Lovely location in which to make music. A haven of peace and tranquility with ever-changing views” (comments about Higham Hall)

“A wonderful week of music-making, relaxation, meeting amazing people and making memories. Thank you for an outstanding experience.”

A big thank you to the tutors for their patience, encouragement and expertise. Always supportive and positive. Lots of attention to detail, and encouraging through to final performance”

“Brilliantly organised”

“An excellent, varied selection of music”

“Excellent tutoring - thoughtful, relevant, supportive, brings the best out of groups and individuals”

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.

Higham Hall in the English Lake District
Higham Hall in the English Lake District

Higham Hall

in the beautiful English Lake District, near Bassenthwaite Lake in north Cumbria

Three outstanding wind chamber music courses, plus a 5-day course just for bassoonists!

Wind Serenades in Spring

Sunday 19th - Friday 24th February 2023
(6 days, 5 nights - players arrive 1600-1800 on 19th, depart 1400 on 24th)

for advanced players
(see bottom of this webpage for details of playing standards)

Tutored by Laurence Perkins and Amy Thompson

‘The Joys of Spring’

Music to celebrate the transformation of Winter into Spring. Fun with little friends, or at the seaside, or exploring inspiring places - and lots more! 

* Programme can include:
Christopher Irwin ‘Sea Breeze Serenade’
Pierné: Album pour mes Petits Amis, Op.14
George Butterworth: Banks of Green Willow

* Final details of repertoire will be confirmed when exact line-up of players is known. These details may be subject to change. Please note that it is not possible to take requests from players for specific works.

Prices (6 days, 5 nights full board for residential):
Residential: £670
Non-residential: £500
For those travelling by train via Penrith, a minibus transfer can be arranged from Penrith Rail Station.

Book online now - places are limited!

Click HERE to go directly to the online booking form. You will be sent a reply email confirming if there is a place for you.

 

Ensemble rehearsal in the Lecture Hall, overlooking the gardens
Ensemble rehearsal in the Lecture Hall, overlooking the gardens

Wind Serenades in Summer

Sunday 2nd - Friday 7th July 2023
(6 days, 5 nights - players arrive 1600-1800 on 2nd, depart 1600 on 7th)

A high-advanced course for diploma-standard players
(see bottom of this webpage for details of playing standards)

Tutored by Philippa Davies, Colin Honour, Laurence Perkins and Jan Willem Nelleke

'Musical Voyages'

A musical journey discovering inspiring wind chamber rarities, as well as rediscovering and enjoying old classic favourites. Planned repertoire includes a spectacular set of variations on ‘Blow the Wind Southerly’  by legendary horn player/composer Lance Baker, the immortal Quintet for piano and winds by Mozart, and evocative music by Canteloube (composer of the beautiful ‘Songs of the Auvergne’)

* Programme can include:
Lance Baker: 'Blow the Wind Southerly'
Mozart: Quintet for Piano and Winds
Danzi: Quintet in G minor
Edward McGuire ‘Winds at Sea'
Canteloube ‘Rustiques’

* Final details of repertoire will be confirmed when exact line-up of players is known. These details may be subject to change. Please note that it is not possible to take requests from players for specific works.

Prices (6 days, 5 nights full board for residential):
Residential: £730
Non-residential: £550
For those travelling by train via Penrith, a minibus transfer can be arranged from Penrith Rail Station.

Book online now - places are limited!

Click HERE to go directly to the online booking form. You will be sent a reply email confirming if there is a place for you.

 

Wind Serenades in Autumn

Wednesday 1st - Sunday 5th November 2023
(5 days, 4 nights - players arrive 1600-1800 on 1st, depart 1400 on 5th)

for intermediate and elementary players
(see bottom of this webpage for details of playing standards)

Tutored by Laurence Perkins and Mandy Burvill

'Songs and Dances'

Great melodic music to raise the spirits! A selection of classics (which could include works by Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Delius and others) to more recent well-known gems from various musical genres, all in playable woodwind versions entirely suited to technical playing levels. The aim is to have FUN!

* Full details of repertoire will be confirmed when the line-up of players is known. Quoted details may be subject to change. 

Prices (5 days, 4 nights full board for residential):
Residential: £605
Non-residential: £470
For those travelling by train via Penrith, a minibus transfer can be arranged from Penrith Rail Station.

Book online now - places are limited!

Click HERE to go directly to the online booking form. You will be sent a reply email confirming if there is a place for you.

 

The view from the front of Higham Hall
The view from the front of Higham Hall

Tutors at the Wind Serenades courses at Higham Hall

BWH7 Hi-res copy

Laurence Perkins
Solo bassoonist - former principal bassoon, Manchester Camerata Orchestra ('Wind Serenades' Course Director - all courses)

Jan Willem Nelleke

Jan Willem Nelleke
Concert pianist - tutor at Royal Conservatory in The Hague (Summer course)

Higham_web_73_5DSR5543

Philippa Davies
Flute soloist and chamber ensemble player - member of London Winds, Professor at Guildhall School of Music (Summer course)

P1020091

Mandy Burvill
Clarinettist - former member of Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (October course)

Higham_web_53_5DSR5479

Colin Honour
Former principal clarinettist in Opera North Orchestra, soloist and chamber ensemble player (Summer course)

Amy Thompson

Amy Thompson
Bassoonist - Musicians' Company Lambert Scholar at the Royal College of Music, and member of the Tailleferre Ensemble (February and April 2023 courses)

Dancing bear (artwork by Ghislaine Howard)
Dancing bear (artwork by Ghislaine Howard)

Strictly for bassoonists...

The 5-day Bassoon Course led by Laurence Perkins with Amy Thompson is also at Higham Hall, from Wednesday 26th - Sunday 30th April 2023. This is a wonderful chance for professional guidance, support and inspiration to help in making your bassoon playing easier and more enjoyable - and a chance to play fabulous bassoon ensemble music! Bassoonists of all playing levels are welcome. (Smaller ensembles will be in graded groups).

For full details of this, click HERE to go directly to the Bassoon Courses webpage.

Nearby Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw, in early Spring
Nearby Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw, in early Spring
Schwarzwald header panel JPG

A brand new Wind Serenades course for advanced players
in the wonderful setting of the Black Forest Highlands
in south-west Germany

Saturday 16th - Sunday 24th September 2023

Arrival on 16th - no sessions on that day, first event is dinner in the evening
Departure after breakfast on 24th - no sessions on that day

This is the longest Wind Serenades course yet - a full week (9 days / 8 nights / 7 days of sessions) playing wind chamber music in this wonderfully inspiring setting - bring your partner or a friend, and make it a totally memorable musical holiday!

What to expect:

Location We will be based within driving distance of the Rhine, the Alsace, the historic city of Freiburg and numerous vineyards. The course centre is a fine hotel in the village of Falkau, one of a group of Feldberg villages which are amongst the highest in Germany, hence the name ‘Black Forest Highlands’. You can see details and images of this beautiful region by clicking HERE.

Tutors and sessions  For tutoring on this course, Laurence Perkins will be joined by oboist Karl-Freidrich Wentzel who worked as solo oboist in the Municipal Theatre Orchestra in Rio de Janeiro and in the legendary ‘El Sistema’ - he is now oboe professor at the University in Freiburg.

Music for this course will include a wonderful new wind ensemble version (for every player on the course) of 'Metamorphosen' by Richard Strauss, a glorious German masterpiece in a stunning German location! (Other repertoire depends on the final line-up of players).

Rehearsals The course will have its own session rooms conveniently located in the hotel, and there will be an end-of-week concert.

Free time As usual on Wind Serenades courses, there will be free time each day after lunch, but as this is a 9-day event, we will have one day during the week which is completely free, to enable you to go out for a full day trip. We can decide the exact day when we arrive, checking the forecasts to ensure that you have the best weather for your day out!

Hiking on Herzogenhorn Photo © Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH
Hiking on Herzogenhorn Photo © Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH
Schwarzwald landscape Photo © Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH
Schwarzwald landscape Photo © Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH

No commitment at this stage - see the note below from Laurence Perkins:

"I’m very excited about a new course in this fabulous location, but I will only take formal bookings when I have visited the course venue (a fine hotel in the Feldberg region), seen the accommodation first-hand and spoken to the management about prices and guaranteed fixed rates in these uncertain times. I will be doing this at the end of November.

So, until I have done this, I am asking only for expressions of interest until the end of November. You will then be invited to apply formally with a 25% deposit. The course will then be open for applications until the end of January 2023 when - if we have enough players for the course to work both musically and financially - I will go ahead and confirm the course. If there are not enough player applications to make it work, I will cancel the course at the end of January and refund all deposits in full. This will give you plenty of opportunity to find other musical events around that time, if you wish. That said, I am confident that this will be hugely attractive to the many players who have enjoyed Wind Serenades courses over the years - so, please pass the word round, and help me to make this work!"

Estimated course fees

Please note: These figures may be adjusted at the end of November - hopefully they will be slightly lower, but they are unlikely to be higher. This unusual procedure is because of the current financial instability. Once the rates have been sent at the end of November, they will be guaranteed and will not change. You do not need to commit to the course before this.

Single player (single room occupancy): £1382 (tbc)

One player, plus one non-playing partner (double / twin room occupancy): £1088 per person (tbc)

Two players sharing a room: £1028 per person (tbc)

Travel: Either independently by car, or flight from London Heathrow to Basel Euroairport. Minibus transfer from Basel Euroairport direct to the course venue can be arranged at specific times (this may involve a wait, depending on your flight schedule), cost for return journey (approximately 75 minutes each way) will be in the region of 50 Euros (all details to be confirmed).

Interested?

Make your 'expression of interest' and add your name now to the priority bookings for this course. There is no commitment or obligation at this stage. Please complete an on-line application form (click this link), and it will automatically be filed as an expression of interest until the end of November - you will be notified as such by email. At the end of November, guaranteed fixed prices will be confirmed, and if you still wish to go ahead, you do not need to submit any further details. A 25% deposit will then be required, but if there are insufficient applications by the end of January, the course will be cancelled and you deposit will be refunded in full.

Click HERE to add your name to the course list!

Springtime woodland sunlight (photo: Laurence Perkins)

Relaxing woodwind playing

Rediscovering the joy of music-making

Tuesday 3rd - Friday 6th October 2023

at Park Place, Wickham, Hampshire

Arrive 1600-1800 on Tuesday 3rd, depart 1400 after lunch on Friday 6th.

This is a shorter, special mid-week course for advanced and intermediate woodwind and horn players, led by Laurence Perkins, focusing on relaxation in your playing, helping you to overcome musical performance anxieties and channelling your energies towards playing at your best, with a real sense of achievement and enjoyment. 

There will be expert guidance in a special group session with flautist and clinical hypnotherapist Sheila Price, offering positive inspiration on key aspects of playing and performance situations. After this, you will have an opportunity (if you wish) to put this into practice by playing an easy solo of your choice in an informal ‘sharing’ session (not a concert) with concert pianist Yoshiko Endo. All this will be in a relaxed, friendly and supportive environment.

There will be ensemble playing sessions - enjoyable and inspiring music, but not too difficult technically! There is no concert, simply an informal exploration of enjoyable music with parts suitable for intermediate and advanced players. Alongside these are shorter listening sessions, exploring a wide range of musical inspirations and genres in a relaxing setting to help us to connect with and absorb the positive influences from the other sessions. There will also be free time after lunch on Wednesday and Thursday to allow time for walking, exploring, rest and/or DIY ensemble playing.

Park Place, Wickham, Hampshire
Park Place, Wickham, Hampshire

Park Place is in an attractive location close to the South Downs National Park. It offers simple, comfortable accommodation, good food and spacious session rooms, and is easy to access by car (just a short drive from the M27 motorway between Portsmouth and Southampton) or by rail (Fareham is a main line station, just a short bus or taxi ride to Wickham).

Course fees
(including 3 nights accommodation, full board from dinner on Tuesday evening to lunch on Friday, and course costs)

Single en-suite room: £590

Book online now - places are limited!

Click HERE to go directly to the online booking form. You will be sent a reply email confirming if there is a place for you.

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

Please note:

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!