A summer school for your musical pleasure

Date Posted: 25/02/2013

The five-week Dartington International Summer School, which runs from 27th July to 31st August, has been a popular holiday destination for musical groups of all ages and abilities since it moved to the estate in 1953. We find out more.

One of Europe’s biggest residential summer schools, attracting people from around the world, it celebrates its 60th year on the magnificent Dartington Hall Estate in Devon this summer.

Famous former tutors at the event include, Ravi Shankar, Jaqueline Du Pre, Peter Maxwell Davies, Simon Rattle and Sir Neville Marriner.

This year’s 60th Anniversary event, which will continue the school’s celebration of musical invention and experimentation, promises to be one of the biggest on the specialist holiday calendar.

Each week-long holiday residency at Dartington boasts a range of courses specifically designed to allow musicians of all skill levels to watch, play with and learn from each other, as well as from more experienced musicians.

Participants can also enjoy free concert performances from internationally renowned music professionals.

“The Summer School has built a reputation over the years as the place to come if you want to spend a week, either as a group or an individual, enjoying all of the many different dimensions of music, song and dance” said David Francis, director of arts at Dartington.

“No other music-based holiday offers such a unique combination of friendly atmosphere and high quality teaching in the heart of one of the south west’s most stunning country estates.

“What makes the Dartington experience so special is that it’s where someone who hasn’t played their instrument for years can dust it off, rediscover their love of playing and at the end of the week find themselves performing alongside one of their musical heroes.”

Residential options

The Summer School offers a number of different residential options across the Dartington Hall Estate.

Over 100 courses run during the five-week programme, which allows group travel organisers to tailor-make their experience, with the group taking part in courses and performances, and watching evening concerts performed by the expert tutors and their students.

Dartington’s artistic director, John Woolrich added: “The atmosphere is relaxed with plenty of opportunity to meet and socialise with fellow learners and the professional musicians.”

“The whole event takes place in one of the most beautiful and inspirational settings in the UK, making it a truly memorable experience.”

More information about the courses on offer, group bookings and accommodation can be found at: www.dartington.org/summer-school.

More about Dartington Hall

The summer school takes place on the magnificent medieval Dartington Hall estate just outside Totnes.

The estate has been an internationally-renowned centre for music, the arts and the environment since it was established by social visionaries the Elmhirsts in the 1930s.

Since then it has attracted some of the world's greatest writers, artists and thinkers, including: T. E. Lawrence, Igor Stravinsky, Benajmin Britten, Yehudi Menuin, George Bernard Shaw H. G. Wells, and Aldous Huxley.

As well as hosting the annual International Music Festival, it continues to support the Elmhirsts' original social enterprise vision.

It is home to Schumacher College, the word famous sustainability centre, and has recently unveiled a special partnership with Bicton College to train agricultural students in the latest sustainable farming techniques.

Around a million people visit the estate each year, including many internationally-recognised figures from the arts and culture world. More information is available at www.dartington.org.

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