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2017 – A Year to Remember

‘I am still a novice in the piano playing community, and the more I reflect, the more I am convinced how good the week has been! The quality of teaching was superb – it really was. The ambience, the pianos – it has made me aware of where I am, the path ahead of me and the endless opportunities to take my piano playing further.’

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Says it all, doesn’t it?! The words above were from Bob, a pianist who attended the Summer School  for the first time this year, and who has reserved a place for 2018. It really was a great week, a celebration of 40 years of the Summer School tinged with some sadness as we said au revoir to pianist James Lisney, below left, who steps down as an Artistic Director after more than twenty years’ association with the course.



Plans are well in hand for 2018 however, and we look forward to welcoming David Owen Norris to join the team. We look forward to welcoming you, too! Watch this space for information, for the 2018 application form and for details of next year’s recitals, presentations and classes.


Photographs: Stephanie Mickler





Summer School Recitals 2017 – from Bach to Kapustin

Summer School is nearly here, and our tutors’ recitals are some of the highlights of the week. This year’s programmes are:

James Lisney:
Saturday August 12
Grieg – Lyric Pieces (selection)
Beethoven – Sonata in C minor, Opus 13 ‘Pathétique’
Schubert – Drei Klavierstucke

Christine Stevenson:
Sunday August 13
Shostakovich – Prelude and Fugue in A Major, Op 87 No 7
Franck – Prelude, Chorale and Fugue
Chopin – Prelude in C sharp minor, Op 45
Chopin – Prelude Op Posth in A flat Major
Rachmaninoff – Prelude in G Major, Op 32 no 5
Kapustin – Prelude in G Major, from 24 Preludes in Jazz Style, Op 53 No 3
Debussy – Prelude Book 1 No 7 – Ce qu’a vu le vent d’Ouest
Debussy – Suite Pour Le Piano

Karl Lutchmayer: Monday August 14
Beethoven – Bagatelles Op 126
Madelaine Jones – Exposure
Liszt – Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude

Graham Fitch: Tuesday August 15 11.00am
A Lecture-demonstration on Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

Ann Martin-Davis (piano) and Brian White (bass-baritone) Tuesday August 15 7.45
Ravel – Histoires Naturelles
Ravel – Valses Nobles et Sentimentales
Philip Martin – The Rainbow Comes and Goes
Debussy – Reflets dans l’eau
Copland – Old American Songs (a selection from both sets)

Some of these are open to the public; check back for updates and information, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news!

Book here or at the door!


40 Years On – Summer School for Pianists 1977-2017

in-the-hub-1Reading a list of Summer School tutors recently, it was a revelation to learn that the Summer School for Pianists is officially 40 years old. It started back in 1977 – or even before that under a different name – and it’s still going strong! This year the classes have just one or two vacancies which have recently become available, so come and celebrate with us.

after-the-joint-concertYou’ll have three half-hour slots in a masterclass with one of our superb tutors, and you’re welcome to visit other classes to observe.

There are six Piano Matters Presentations this year, covering everything from Reading a Score to Using Studies and Technical Exercises Wisely. There are five tutor recitals with repertoire from Bach to Kapustin, pre-concert talks, student concerts and Platforms , and a Gala Dinner to finish.

Don’t wait – contact us now; scroll down for the email address and phone number. See you there!


Summer School 2016 – ‘… the best course ever…’ Book now for 2017!

Compliments poured in after our fantastic week at Summer School 2016. Participants came from throughout the UK as well as from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA.  And now it’s time to book for 2017 – don’t miss it! Find the application form here.

‘Everyone said it was the best course ever. Long may it continue!…’

‘Thank you so much for such a successful course…’

‘What a lovely, inspiring , busy week we have had in Walsall this year. So many different ideas from the tutors…’

‘It was so very good this year (again) and thank you! …’
‘I thought the summer school was a great success again – it seems to go from strength to strength …’ 
after-the-joint-concert2017’s course promises to give the same wealth of experience and musical inspiration. Tutors’ recitals will include works by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Franck, Debussy, Rachmaninoff , Shostakovich and Kapustin, among others. The popular Aperitifs – pre-concert talks – will return, and the tutor presentations, Piano Matters,  are on the theme of A Musical Toolkit – ‘Blueprint ‘- Reading the score; ‘Nuts and Bolts’ – How music is made; ‘Diagnostics’ – Analysis, and ‘Road-testing’ – Preparing for Performance. There will be sessions on technique, too.
2016’s optional repertoire theme was Song. In 2017 we are exploring ‘Music that Speaks’, remembering Paul Tortelier, who said that ‘Music should dance, sing and speak’. As a non-obligatory option, you are invited to bring music with literary, poetic or dramatic associations, music that tells a story, or music that speaks to you …
There will be classes for duets and song accompaniment, and our Platform series – thirty-minute recitals – will again be available, for a modest charge. The student concerts also give an opportunity to showcase your skills. Practice facilities are great.  And as ever, there’s plenty of time to relax and socialise.
Places are already filling fast, so don’t wait! Dates are Saturday 12th August to Friday 18th August. Contact for details. See you next year!

Summer School Song and Piano Recital – ‘Music for Those We love’

As well as the four solo piano recitals during Summer School, tutor Ann Martin-Davis, together with baritone Brian White , will present a recital  of songs and solo piano pieces.

Bernstein at pianoThe programme will  include Bernstein ‘Four Anniversaries’, Ravel ‘Le Tombeau de Couperin’, Messiaen ‘Le Baiser de L’enfant-Jésus’, Poulenc ‘Le Bestiaire’ and Butterworth, ‘The Lads in their Hundreds’.

Ann writes -” This programme has evolved from a review that I read recently of a published collection of letters from the composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein [left]. It commended Nigel Simeone’s compilation but was unconditionally brutal and damming about the composer’s ‘overwhelming personality’. I wasn’t familiar with Bernstein’s piano music and dug out the ‘Four Anniversaries’. These touching and compelling snap-shots of the people in his life suggest an intimacy, sensitivity and humanity that offered a sharp contrast to the review. They also made me think about other composers who have written for friends, family and loved ones, about loss and about the private being made public and the music that we inherit from the significant people in our lives.”

Butterworth - Durham Light Infantry

George Butterworth [above] who died one hundred years ago on August 5th 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, is represented by his song ‘The Lads in their Hundreds’. Butterworth lies in an unknown grave;  he is named on the Royal College of Music War Memorial [below]. RIP.

RCM memorial

SUDDEN AVAILABILITY – CONTACT US TO GRAB THE LAST PLACE AT SUMMER SCHOOL!  See Gina’s contact details at the foot of the page.