Stowe 2024 – Book Now!

Cheers! A very Happy New Year to all piano-lovers, and here’s to a great year ahead, full of music-making, new discoveries and new piano friends.

What are your piano New Year’s Resolutions?! If they include enriching your love of music, exploring repertoire and sharing it with like-minded friends, come and join us at Stowe in August for a fabulous week, from Saturday 10th until Friday 16th.

You’ll have three opportunities to play in a masterclass for soloists, you can observe other classes, and there’s a class for accompanists, too. Play in a student concert, be inspired by presentations on subjects such as Effective Practice Processes, plus a ‘Walkthrough’ of a piece, highlighting its background, form, structure and interpretative choices. Our tutors will be performing music by Byrd, Chopin, Liszt, Busoni, Prokofiev and William Bolcom among others, as well as a selection of songs by Fauré, marking the centenary of this composer’s passing, and there will be presentations on ‘Composers under Stalin’s Shadow’, ‘Chopin and Liszt – the Patriot and the Pilgrim’, and ‘Busoni: the Reluctant Revolutionary’.

Can there be anywhere more beautiful than the Stowe landscape for an evening stroll, taking in its temples, follies and its beautiful lake … we don’t think so. Renew, refresh and unwind in Capability Brown’s gardens, enjoy a recital, then join your friends for a drink in the bar. Our Gala Dinner, held in Stowe House’s magnificent State Music Room, completes the week in splendid style

Any questions? Do get in touch with Brian our administrator, whose contact details are at the foot of the page. But please don’t wait – there are only a few remaining places. One of them is for you.

2023 Staff Recitals

We’re delighted to announce our 2023 staff recitals, always an eagerly anticipated part of the Summer School.

Saturday August 12th, 7.45pm

Karl Lutchmayer

Recital will include:

Chopin – Barcarolle

Medtner – Sonata Reminiscenza

Beethoven – Sonata Op 90

Ravel – Ondine

Bardazewsja-Baranowska – Maiden’s Prayer

Sunday August 13th, 7.45pm

Christine Stevenson

Schubert – Klavierstück in E flat Major, No 2 of Drei KlavierstückeD 946

Mendelssohn – Variations sérieuses, Op. 54

Tchaikovsky – Dumka, Op 59

Debussy – Les soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon

Rachmaninoff – Lilacs, Op 21 No 5

Rachmaninoff – Moment Musical in D Flat Major, Op 16 No 5

Rachmaninoff – Etude-tableau in E flat Minor, Op 39 No 5

Monday August 14th, 7.45pm

Ann Martin-Davis, with Graham Fitch

Recital to include:

Scriabin – Sonata No 4

Ravel – Ma mère l’Oye – Piano duet with Graham Fitch

Ravel – La vallée des cloches

Messiaen – Noël

Debussy – La cathédrale engloutie

Ireland – Equinox and Soliloquy

Tuesday August 15th, 11am

Daniel Hill

Schubert – Sonata In A Major D959

Tuesday August 15th, 7.45pm

Graham Fitch piano, with Brian White, baritone

Beethoven – An die Ferne Geliebte Op 98 for Piano and Voice

Beethoven – Bagatelles Op 33

Beethoven – Sonata Op 90

Here’s to 2023!

2022 was a bumper Summer School for Pianists – with full classes, staff recitals featuring solo music from Schubert to Sorabji as well as the song cycle Die schöne Müllerin, presentations on Performance Anxiety, Rhythm, and Walking the Walk to Chopin’s Grave, student concerts featuring repertoire linked to Landscape, Water and Architecture, Platforms, Mozart’s Lacrimosa from scratch, accompaniment, Harmonic Cocktails at 6pm and a Gala Dinner on the final evening.  We rang the gastronomic changes with a Hog Roast one night, followed by late-night fireworks in the grounds of Stowe, courtesy of a wedding celebration in Stowe House.

And what news of 2023? The optional theme will be ‘Forgotten Melodies’ – those pieces hidden away in the piano stool perhaps played by parents or indeed ourselves.  Staff recitals promise to be as varied as ever, with repertoire by Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Ravel and Messaien being planned, including Beethoven’s song cycle ‘An die ferne Geliebte’. Ann Martin-Davis will speak about ‘Bach Bits’ – articulation, ornaments etc; Christine Stevenson will be looking at ‘Rachmaninov’s Revolutions’. Karl Lutchmayer will continue his fascinating exploration of Classical ‘Covers’ and Graham Fitch will be ‘Embracing the New – How to Learn a New Piece.’  Class members each play in three masterclasses and have the option of performing in a concert or giving a short recital for a modest charge; private lessons with tutors can be arranged for a separate fee. Above all, though, is the glorious setting of Stowe and the camaraderie of a music-loving community, delighting in music and in one another’s company. Join us – but hurry; places are going quickly and we are already over 80% full. Contact our administrator today to check on availability –  and apply!


Here’s to another great course in 2023 – cheers!

SSP 2022

2021 Recitals announced – from Bach to Poulenc

It will be marvellous to be back at Stowe soon, and our tutors have now announced their recitals.

First we’ll hear from Karl Lutchmayer, who will play Mendelssohn’s Variations sérieuses, Op.54, Alkan’s Le Festin d’Esope Op 39 No 12, Busoni’s  Variations on a Chopin Prelude,  and Liszt’s Totentanz.

Christine Stevenson will be next, performing Beethoven – 6 Variations on the aria “Nel cor più non mi sento”   WoO 70, Schubert – Sonata in A Minor D784, Liszt – Chapelle de Guillaume Tell from Années de pèlerinage – Première année – Suisse, J S Bach – Andante from Sonata in D minor, BWV 964, Brahms – Sarabande WoO 5 No 1, Felix Mendelssohn – Fantasie Op 16 No 2 and three Liszt transcriptions –

Schubert/Liszt – Wohin? No 5 From Müllerlieder von Franz Schubert, S.565, Schumann/Liszt – Widmung No 1 from Myrthen, S. 566 and  Wagner/Liszt – Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde.

Daniel Hill starts his recital with Schumann’s Papillons Op 2, and then will be joined  by baritone Brian White in Schumann’s wonderful song cycle, Dichterliebe.  He’ll conclude his programme with Liszt’s  Funérailles.

Finally – a Poulenc bonanza! Ann Martin-Davis is joined by Brian White in Poulenc’s Le Bestiaire for voice and piano, and then she joins forces with Graham Fitch in a performance of  Poulenc’s Piano Sonata for Four Hands. And she has other Poulenc treats in store ….



Pictured above – Poulenc at the piano.

New Year – welcome back to Stowe!

New Year 2021 – welcome to Stowe!  What’s in store for you at Summer School this year?


Graham Fitch onlineWell, let’s quickly look back at 2020 when we moved to the Internet – a real success!

Karl LutchmayerIt was a pleasure to welcome pianists from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, India and Australia to the course.

In advance of the course, staff prepared ‘how-to’ videos for course members so we could all get to grips with settings and recordings. Tutors gave free try-out sessions on Zoom.

In August, masterclasses went online, observers zoomed easily from class to class, we met over coffee in the break-out rooms and over a drink at Karl’s Virtual Drinks Party. Staff presentations were pre-recorded and available on our YouTube channel, as were the staff recitals. Brian White magically knitted together remotely recorded accompaniments plus his vocal line for the Accompaniment Class, and student concerts were similarly created  by combining separately recorded performances into memorable videos.

So what lies ahead? We have the experience and expertise to go online if needed, monitoring government guidelines and keeping options open for a virtual or hybrid course where Observers might join us. But in August 2021 we hope to be back at our glorious home in Buckinghamshire in person as it’s an experience not to be missed. Having spent so much time online in recent months, we all appreciate that nothing can fully replace the live experience of ‘being there’.

Staff recitals will include works by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Alkan, Liszt, Brahms,Busoni, Poulenc and many more, including a performance of Schumann’s ‘Dichterliebe’ song cycle.



Piano Matters topics for 2021 will include ‘Haydn in London – a Walkthrough of the C major English Sonata’, ‘Are You All Fingers and Thumbs?  A Guide to Fingering’, ‘Why We Went to Weimar – The Altenburg and its Visitors’, ‘Memorisation and Deep Learning Techniques’, and ‘Ronald Stevenson – the Man and his Music’.



The theme for 2021 is The Mendelssohns’ including the music of Felix and his sister, Fanny (below), whose music was published after her marriage under the name of Fanny Hensel; as a non-obligatory option, participants are invited to explore music by this talented brother and sister. Felix’s music was played by Queen Victoria when she visited Stowe house in 1845.felixandfanny-300x250

There will be a class for Piano Accompaniment with Daniel Hill and baritone Brian White. There are six thirty-minute solo recital opportunities – Platforms – available for a modest charge, and three student concerts for solo or duet items.

And there will be time to explore the grounds, play a round of golf on the 9-hole golf course (green fees apply), have a game of tennis (please bring your own racquets and tennis balls) or, for an additional fee, enjoy a guided tour of Stowe House.

As usual, each participant will be allotted three half-hour masterclass slots during the week. All are welcome to visit other masterclasses to observe. Private lessons can be booked with each of the tutors.


 There are just 3 places left in classes, plus room for observers – so don’t wait! Whether we are at Stowe or online, you can be sure of a warm welcome at the Summer School for Pianists. Contact our administrator:  or phone 07853 415393.

UPDATE – Just 3 class places left!