International Chamber Music Summer School


18th - 23rd July 2019


Please call 01923 853309 or 07711 037907

Detailed Course Information

How Will I Spend my Time?

Coaching is available for the greater part of the day and you can study pieces in depth with specialists for the different instruments in your ensemble. The presence on site of players from the different instrumental ‘disciplines’ means of course that a huge repertoire is available, including for the first time the song repertoire

Each person’s Course is arranged individually to them.

Pal Banda plays Bach

Usually 2 - 3 works are all that there is time to study in depth. Additionally in the evenings folk get together to play informally other works as desired

English Camerata
Doing this can cause you to make friends

Five days of coaching with specialists on hand for piano, harpsichord, violin, cello, viola, double bass, bassoon, clarinet, oboe, cor anglais, flute, trumpet, French horn, trombone, bass clarinet and recorder.


The art of String Quartet playing is universally admired. A priceless skill, its exponents are revered by all musicians. The experience of several such outstanding players will be available on the Course to guide, enlighten and above all to inspire instrumentalists in this core string repertoire.

To help you explore and get inside it are Ofer Falk, formerly leader of the Allegri Quartet and the player who led the Quartet’s recent Beethoven and Shostakovich cycles to such success; Maria Becker, classical violin, a much respected baroque player; Pal Banda, cello, acclaimed son of an acclaimed father, much in demand as a chamber player, sometime cellist of the Allegri Quartet - and whose solo Bach is a highlight of the Course savoured by all privileged to hear it.

On the repertoire ‘menu’ are, apart from all the quartets you could wish for, famous quintets, sextets by Brahms (hugely popular of the Course and lead by Ofer) as well as those by Tchaikowsky, Dvorak and and Schoenberg.

Always popular too are the mixed string/wind masterpieces, those with clarinet by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms being among favourites but, equally, string chamber music with piano gives players the opportunity to enjoy piano quartets, quintets and larger-scale ensembles with the very able pianists who make their way to us.

Octets this year include those by Bruch and, naturally, Mendelssohn as well as the pieces by Ferguson and Enescu.

We are always open to suggestions and to accommodating items from your ‘wish lists’ as far as is possible.

Ofer Falk
Pal Banda


Thanks to its reputation for piano chamber music, established by Elizabeth Altman, the Course has come to be seen as a special place for pianists to explore the extraordinary and often challenging parts allotted to the instrument. The role of the piano is often the subject of fascinating sessions as participants come together and, strings, winds and pianists alike consider the realisation of some of the most profound repertoire.

Elizabeth Altman has enjoyed critical acclaim for her Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms; virtuoso and French repertoire has also attracted exciting reviews. Elizabeth's innate understanding of the piano and enthusiasm for, and experience of teaching at the highest level together with her commitment to enabling players to reach their maximum potential, enrich the Course with lots of 'can do' moments.

Elizabeth Altman


With the big wind contingent that has become such an important component of the Course comes the opportunity to play the great classics - Mozart’s Grand Partita, pieces for mixed ensembles the Dvorak Serenade, the Schubert Octet, Martinu Nonet for example.

The winds have their own timetable, so as to rest the lips, re-group to try different repertoire and to liaise with the strings and pianists.

For winds alone an unbeatable array of music is featured, for every possible combination, from the well-known to the music of the 21st century. Led by Anthony Houghton, clarinet and Peter Merry, french horn with John Hargreaves bassoon and other visiting specialists, each instrument has unrivaled musical and educative opportunities.

Tony is credited with establishing the reputation for music at Sheffield University where his long experience, and love of chamber music has benefitted the entire department.

Peter Merry’s terrific reputation as a coach comes from long experience, a gentle but through approach and a charm which make the most complicated music seem not so difficult after all!

John Hargeaves is a much - respected chamber player and one of those gifted teachers whose one single word can transform a passage.


Masumi Yamamoto plays and teaches harpsichord to the delight and benefit of everyone, her gentle charm a vehicle for the vast knowledge underpinning her inspirational teaching.

The baroque ensembles have a concentration of coaching and support.

Edwina Smith, renowned modern and baroque flautist, leads the programme and she teaches idiomatic style for all the instruments who come to relish the music of this time.

Baroque specialist Maria Becker, modern and baroque violin, completes the dedicated team visited by John Hargreaves, bassoon, and Pal, cello as necessary.


Lynton Atkinson, tenor. In opera, Lynton made his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in Fidelio and having created the role of Sir Gawain in Sir Harrison Birtwhistle’s Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, became a contract principal artist. His appearances in the films Mozart in Turkey and Zircus um Zauberflote display his acting as well as singing talents. We look forward to his presence on the Course for his great gifts as a communicator.


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This is the chamber music course that really makes a difference

for all Chamber Music Ensembles and Individuals!

Organisation by English Camerata Soloists - Musical Director Elizabeth Altman


Our expected program is as follows:

The weekend begins with a quick guided tour of the site; then partners can get down to preliminary playing whilst coaches circulate to introduce themselves and begin teaching as desired.

Day 1 - Commence 2.30pm Welcome party and dinner followed by informal playing.

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Days 2 - 4
playing and coaching as usual; final night party following evening performance

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Day 5
final coachings; last performances; lunch; playing till 4.00pm tea and goodbyes

Repertoire and Standard

People come both in pre-formed ensembles and as individuals, who, by means of prior exploratory discussions with Elizabeth, are matched with other players who would seem to be of similar standard and approach having pieces in common they would like to play and who are likely to get on reasonably well as personalities. In fact, two permanent ensembles have been so formed and meet together away from the Course and two participants have married! The Chamber Music Course is inclusive and non-judgmental; neither coaches nor participants are there to make qualitative assessments. Everyone is far too busy enjoying the music!

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  • Ensembles - duos, trios, quartets, quintets as well as larger scale groups - are individually coached, occasionally by two coaches at a time if the ensemble has reached a point where that may be helpful.

  • Individual lessons may also be made available as are master-classes where two ensembles with the same repertoire may want to hear each others’ approach to problems in common.

  • So that you get the most from the coaching, we invite you to consider bring repertoire items that you particularly want to explore with the coaches. Elizabeth can discuss these with you in advance and then agree the way for the coaches to prioritise them.

  • Away from the teaching schedule, the Course provides a matchless opportunity for spontaneous music making when participants can get together in repertoire requiring unusual combinations of instruments or simply to play the standard pieces beloved of all musicians. These unscheduled sessions often bring up fresh pieces for the teaching sessions in the ensuing days.



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Performance Opportunities

For participants who want to 'air' their work, the Course is a natural platform. Both ensembles and those who bring solo repertoire including concertos are given every encouragement with informal performances that are woven into the framework of the day.

Extra Lessons

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Just ask.

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Each day, after coaching has ended and before dinner, all gather for a glass of wine or fruit juice and a sociable chat. The intensity of the musical activity gives way to a party atmosphere and an attractive 'feel- good' factor that carries through into dinner and beyond.

Access to the swimming pool is included in the fee. Exclusive use of the pool by participants at times to be agreed. Enjoy!

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Final Note

  • If you are thinking about coming, tempted but not convinced, we are very flexible and invite you to come as an observer and then you can evaluate for yourself whether or how the Course might be of benefit to you.

  • We have had, for example, a lawyer who had not played her flute in decades come for an afternoon to watch and listen; having brought her flute, despite herself she joined in and, encouraged, decided to come back for the full course the following year.

  • The days are filled with playing, the thrill of achievement and the particular pleasure of enjoying a glass - or three - of wine over a good meal with those with whom one has shared so much.

  • The Chamber Music Course lasts for six days but participants may attend according to their availability.


For more information or to discuss repertoire possibilities speak to Elizabeth on

01923 853309 or 07711 037907.


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