2022
Chamber music summer school
Patron: Trevor Pinnock CBE
Queen Anne’s School, Caversham, Berkshire 14–21 August 2022

Dates and times

We expect that the Covid situation will allow the course to take place in 2022, but the following booking conditions apply:

  • Should the course be cancelled due to Covid, there will be no invitation or expectation to donate deposits; all tutors will be engaged on the basis that they will only be paid if the course takes place, and all participants' fees will be refunded if the course is cancelled.

  • No participant or tutor may attend if they have any Covid symptoms or have been advised to self-isolate.

  • We will refund all fees if a participant has to withdraw for Covid reasons (including international travel restrictions) one month or more before the course; if the withdrawal is within one month of the start of the course we will endeavour to return all or part of the fees at the Trustees’ discretion, subject to any costs that Baroque Week incurs in respect of that person’s attendance.

We expect registration to be from 2.30pm on Sunday 14th August 2022, with tea/coffee and cake available in the common room from 3.30–5.30pm. There will be an explanatory meeting for newcomers (or those who haven’t been for a few years) at 4.30pm, including a tour of the campus, and then an initial course meeting for all before dinner, which is followed by an organised playing and singing session. The course finishes with lunch on Sunday 21st August.

What to expect at Baroque Week

Whether you are an amateur, student, semi-professional or an emerging young professional musician this course offers an wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in baroque music for a week with guidance from knowledgeable, inspiring and encouraging tutors, all leading specialists in the performance of baroque music on period instruments. There may be full or part bursaries available to those who could not otherwise afford to attend — please see the Bursaries page.

The emphasis is on chamber music and thanks to the extensive Baroque Week library of nearly 3000 works there is always something interesting to play, whatever the line-up of your ensemble. On the first full day chamber music sessions are prearranged; for the remainder of the week participants organise most of their own groups and choose the music, although expert help is at hand from the tutors to arrange groupings and suggest repertoire if you find empty places in your playing diary. You will have the chance to take part in many different ensembles during the week as you are likely to be playing with a different group in every session.

In recent years we have had participants from all over Europe, USA, Israel, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. We make every effort to ensure that newcomers feel welcome, and have a “buddy” system where a long-standing course participant will help to explain how the course works and help to make sure that you are fully involved, particularly in the chamber music sessions.

“It must be the friendliest course in the country”


Each day begins with a talk or a practical workshop concentrating on various aspects of baroque performance, followed by the first main session, in which we offer tutor-led projects related to the year’s theme for all who wish to join in.  Some of these projects may be included in the informal concert on Saturday evening.

In the second session each day we largely separate the singers and instrumentalists so that the singers have a chance to work in small consorts with some basso continuo players or a few other instrumentalists. On some days singers will study solos in a masterclass format. This gives the chance for players to concentrate on instrumental music. After lunch you are free to do what you like, whether it be playing, resting or exploring places of interest nearby. In the fourth session, after tea, singers and players are encouraged to make up groups together to explore vocal and instrumental repertoire of their own choice.

Every day there is an informal concert before dinner, where participants can perform some of the music they have particularly enjoyed during that day’s sessions. After dinner all are invited to take part in the choir and this music will also be performed in Saturday’s final concert (repertoire t.b.c.)

On Thursday evening there will be a concert given by the tutors which will centre around this year’s theme.

“The tutors’ concert was a highlight”

Is Baroque Week for you?

For players, the course is principally for those with baroque instruments at A415. However, we are also very happy to accept string players on modern instruments tuned down to A415 and using gut strings. If you do not own a baroque bow we may be able to loan you one for the course. Wind players will need at least one instrument at A415. Plucked continuo instruments as well as keyboard players are very welcome. Keyboard players will have opportunities to play from either figured bass or realisations. Many participants play more than one instrument and the format of the course gives plenty of opportunity for this.

For singers, the course offers a rare opportunity to sing solo music with instruments as well as working in a small consort of voices and we recommend that you prepare and bring arias, cantatas or motets that you would like to work on with small groups of instrumentalists. In the weeks before the course we will send details of some of the music programmed and may allocate some solo parts to appropriate singers. We can only accept a maximum of ten specialist singers, but instrumentalists who also want to do some solo or one-to-a-part singing should use the Singers' application form. (Everyone is encouraged to take part in the Choir each evening after dinner.)

Playing and singing is mostly one-to-a-part and you should be a competent sight-reader and able to hold a part confidently in a small ensemble.  A reasonably high level of musical ability and technical competence is needed in order to benefit from detailed coaching in stylistic matters even when sight-reading.  The emphasis of the course is on Chamber Music, usually exploring different repertoire in almost every session.  If you are new to Baroque Week please give us details on the application form of your standard of playing and/or singing and sight-reading, and your experience of Baroque music.  We ask new singers to provide a short recording when they apply.

To achieve a balanced distribution of suitable voices we will not confirm places for specialist singers until February.  However please still apply as soon as possible as this will help us to plan repertoire etc. (and en-suite bedrooms are allocated in order of application).  More details of the selection criteria can be found on the application form.  We will of course refund your deposit in full if we are unable to accept your application.

“Excellent teaching and friendly, helpful tutors”

A typical day at Baroque Week...

Breakfast
30-minute talk or practical workshop on various aspects of baroque performance; followed by:

Session 1 — Tutor-led instrumental and vocal projects
Coffee
Session 2 — Instrumental chamber music; singers work in small consorts or in a masterclass format
Lunch
Session 3 — Free time or untutored chamber music
Tea
Session 4 — Chamber music for singers and instrumentalists

Pre-dinner informal performance of some of the day’s music

Dinner
Choir or untutored chamber music

“Tutors manage to achieve such wonderful results in such a short time”

History

This amazing, long-standing course was started by Walter Bergmann, who was a seminal figure in the early music movement as a recorder player and enlightened editor of baroque music. Peter Collier took over directorship of the course and ran it single-handedly for over thirty years; happily he continues to come with his instruments, library and wealth of knowledge. In the spirit of Walter Bergmann we continue to explore lesser-known repertoire alongside the more familiar — there is still so much to discover.

We are delighted that Trevor Pinnock agreed to become our Patron in 2016 and are honoured that he is giving his support to Baroque Week.

Baroque Week was constituted as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in 2014. Its official objects are:

1) The promotion and performance of baroque chamber music for the public benefit; and

2) To promote education in baroque music for the public benefit.

Membership of the Charity is open to anyone who is interested in furthering its purposes and agrees to act in good faith to further these purposes.

 

Joining or renewing membership of Baroque Week

The minimum donation for membership is £1. The suggested amount is £25. Subscriptions expire on 30 September. Click here to download a form to join or renew.

Constitution of the Baroque Week

To see the constitution, please click here.

Tutors: Theresa Caudle (Artistic Director), Clare Beesley, Zoë Cartlidge, Steven Devine, Satoko Doi-Luck, Jacob Garside, Tom Hammond-Davies, Rebecca Miles, Alice Poppleton, Linda Sayce, Kate Semmens.
Registered Charity No. 1161774