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!