Wind Serenades

WS webpage header JPG

2022 wind chamber music courses

Wind Serenades in Guernsey, September 2021. [Photo: Chris Jeffery]
Wind Serenades in Guernsey, September 2021. [Photo: Chris Jeffery]

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

“A good varied programme with plenty to rehearse”

“Brilliantly organised”

“Really good standard of players”

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

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. Events take place in Covid-secure venues.

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.

Bassenthwaite lake, just a short distance from Higham Hall
Bassenthwaite lake, just a short distance from Higham Hall

Higham Hall

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
❊ Easy travel by car or train

Higham Hall in the English Lake District
Higham Hall in the English Lake District
The view from Higham Hall's front door
The view from Higham Hall's front door
Nearby Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw, in early Spring
Nearby Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw, in early Spring

Tutors at Higham Hall

Laurence Perkins
Solo bassoonist - former principal bassoon, Manchester Camerata Orchestra ('Wind Serenades' Course Director - all courses)
Philippa Davies
Flute soloist - member of Nash Ensemble (Summer course)
Colin Honour
Principal Clarinettist in Opera North Orchestra (Summer course)
Jan Willem Nelleke
Concert pianist - tutor at Royal Conservatory in The Hague (Summer course)
Mandy Burvill
Clarinettist - former member of Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (October course)
Amy Thompson
bassoonist - Musicians' Company Lambert Scholar at the Royal College of Music, and member of the Tailleferre Ensemble (March and May 2022 courses)

Players comments
from Wind Serenades courses at Higham Hall

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

Food:
“Superb”
“Loved the large variety of salads at lunchtime - difficult to resist the puddings!”
“Very tasty and varied”
“Great (optional) vegetarian menu choices”

Music for the course:
“Just right - a nice balance of styles and techniques”
“An excellent, varied selection of music”

Tutoring:
“Top notch. Very informative, nice mix of technical and instrumental. I learnt a lot. Tutor’s concert was stunning!”
“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”

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
Springtime view at the front of Higham Hall
Springtime view at the front of Higham Hall

Wind Serenades in Spring

Monday 28th February - Friday 4th March 2022
(5 days, 4 nights)

for advanced players
(see below for details of playing standards)

Tutored by Laurence Perkins, with Amy Thompson (Musicians' Company Lambert Scholar at the Royal College of Music)

"Welcome the Spring"
A truly stunning setting for inspiring music - dectets and smaller ensemble pieces by Rossini, Peter Warlock, Manuel de Falla and lots more! (Exact details to be confirmed)

Prices (5 days, 4 nights full board for residential):
Residential: £556
Non-residential: £424
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.

 

Derwentwater [Photo: Mike Bell]
Derwentwater [Photo: Mike Bell]

Wind Serenades in Summer

Sunday 3rd - Friday 8th July 2022
(6 days, 5 nights)

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

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

"The French Connection"
An opportunity to explore some of the fabulous wind chamber music by French composers including Poulenc, Francaix, Milhaud, Ibert and others, with world-class tuition and complete concert performances at the end of the week. Music allocated and sent to you for personal practice two months in advance. (Exact repertoire details to be confirmed)

Prices (6 days, 5 nights full board for residential):
Residential: £700
Non-residential: £520
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.

 

Autumn colours in Higham Hall gardens
Autumn colours in Higham Hall gardens

Wind Serenades in Autumn

Wednesday 26th - Sunday 30th October 2022
(5 days, 4 nights)

for intermediate and elementary players
(see below for details of playing standards)

Tutored by Laurence Perkins and Mandy Burvill

"Mozart and friends"
Enjoy playing Mozart's glorious music in suitably graded versions, and discover some of the gems by other fine composers of that period.  (Exact details to be confirmed)

Prices (5 days, 4 nights full board for residential):
Residential: £575
Non-residential: £440
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.

 

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

Strictly for bassoonists...

There is also a 5-day Bassoon Course at Higham Hall, from Thursday 5th - Monday 9th May 2022. 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.

Gregynog publicity collage JPG

Summer Serenades
at
Gregynog Hall, Wales

A magical Wind Serenades summer course in a wonderful setting


Saturday 16th - Saturday 23rd July 2022

A full week (7 nights) of wind chamber music in the beautiful setting of the Welsh hills, close to the border with Shropshire. Gregynog Hall is an impressive Grade II listed building, surrounded by a famous Grade I listed garden - truly an inspiring venue with simple, comfortable accommodation and delicious food. 

Travel is easy by car - Gregynog is close to the main A483 route which passes Wrexham, Oswestry, Welshpool and Newtown. You can also travel by train - the nearest rail station is Newtown, six miles away.

Ensembles and repertoire Each player will be allocated two contrasting pre-formed groups to play some of the all-time favourites (and the occasional rarity) for ensembles of up to 13 players. Exact details of repertoire will be confirmed nearer the time according to the line-up of players for this course. All players will be sent music for their pre-formed groups one month in advance, for personal practice.

 

Tutors at Gregynog 

Sessions will be tutored by leading professional players who have worked as soloists, in chamber ensembles and with leading UK and European orchestras.

P1020098

Maddy Aldis-Evans
(Anhaltische Philharmonie, Dessau, Germany and Sinfonia Viva, concerto soloist in Germany and U.K.)

P1020091

Mandy Burvill
(Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, concerto soloist at Snape Matings, QEH and St John's Smith Square, London)

Guernsey Wind Serenades - Les Cotils - Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins
(Manchester Camerata, concerto soloist for Hyperion Records and concert performances in U.K. and Europe)

Playing for fun As well as tutored rehearsals, there will be opportunities for ‘DIY’ sessions when you can play through your own choice of music with other players in an untutored session, just for fun. The Wind Serenades library will be available for free loan of music for DIY sessions, or you can bring your own - whichever you prefer!

Relaxation There is a well-stocked bar at Gregynog serving wines, local beers and a range of popular drinks. Along with social events and free time to explore this beautiful area, this is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy music-making in a relaxed and very beautiful environment.

Excellent value for money Rates are fully inclusive of all meals from Saturday dinner (16th August) to Saturday breakfast (23rd August), bedrooms as specified, and course fee.

 

Single room with separate bathroom facilities: £1038

 

Single room with en-suite bathroom facilities: £1156

 

Double / twin room with separate bathroom facilities:

(i) single occupancy £1073

(ii) two players sharing £926 per person

(iii) one player plus one non-playing partner sharing £1542 total (£771 per person)

 

Double / twin room with en-suite bathroom facilities:

(i) single occupancy £1215

(ii) two players sharing £1016 per person

(iii) one player plus one non-playing partner sharing £1700 total (£850 per person)

 

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.

Geysir in southwestern Iceland. (Photo: Getty Images)
Geysir in southwestern Iceland. (Photo: Getty Images)

Mozart ‘Gran Partita’
and
Mark Simpson ‘Geysir’

A 5-day (4-night) Wind Serenades course in the south of England - a wonderful chance to play and perform a favourite Mozart classic alongside a phenomenal work by Mark Simpson for the same groups of instruments.

Wednesday 5th - Sunday 9th October 2022

at Park Place, Wickham, Hampshire

For advanced players of diploma standard
2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 basset horns, 2 bassoons, double bass and four horns
(Horn players may play natural horns in the Mozart)

Course directed by Laurence Perkins

Mozart and Simpson The very special sound-world of Mozart’s Serenade in B flat K.361 (known as the ‘Gran Partita’ ) is the basis for the incredible recent work ‘Geysir’ (from the Icelandic name for ‘geyser’) by British composer and clarinettist Mark Simpson. (Click HERE to see Mark’s own notes on the work. Also, listen to ‘Geysir’ and follow the score - click HERE to go to the official YouTube page.

This course is an opportunity to explore in depth one of of the most famous and popular of all wind chamber works (playing from Urtext edition), alongside a piece which is already being regarded as a modern masterpiece for wind ensemble. Both works will receive a complete (Sunday afternoon) concert performance on the final day of the course.

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 4 nights accommodation, full board from dinner on Wednesday evening to lunch on Sunday, and course costs)

Single en-suite room: £532

Two players* sharing a twin room: £1008 total (£504 each)
(* to be agreed at time of booking)

One player sharing with a non-playing partner (twin-bedded room): £808 (total for two people)

 

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!