Symphony Orchestra

Principal Conductor for 2020: Dan Watson


(Grade 8 or higher, but string players of a slightly lower standard who have good orchestral experience will be considered.)

“You get the chance to play music you would never play otherwise. Friendly and welcoming; no competitiveness; some seriously great musicians; tuition first class: what’s not to like?”
– 2018 Symphony Orchestra member

“I can leave the rest of my life behind and spend one week of the year playing music.” – 2019 course member

We welcome Dan Watson as conductor for 2020.

There will be three timetabled sessions each day, which will be divided between full orchestral, sectional and ensemble sessions. Specialist coaches will take the sectional and ensemble sessions, and, in the case of strings, will lead the sections. Sectional rehearsals will concentrate on concert repertoire, and the ensemble sessions will provide opportunities to explore more specialist repertoire for strings, wind and brass.

Typically, one of the daily sessions is a “sectional” rehearsal:

Each string section, from first violins through to double basses, has a daily session with the professional who leads that section.
Wind and brass each have an overall coach who is present all week, with specialist instrument tutors for each instrument visiting for three days during the course.

In addition to timetabled sessions, there are opportunities during the week to form ad hoc ensembles, and members are encouraged to bring sets of music for that purpose, as these are not generally provided by the summer school. Members may also participate in the full range of optional activities, including the open choir.

This course is intended for instrumentalists of a standard equivalent to Grade 8 or higher, but applications from string players of a slightly lower standard than that, who have good orchestral experience, will be considered.

Dan Watson will be rehearsing a variety of works to a high standard with our Symphony Orchestra.

Dan has chosen a challenging and varied programme, with little-known pieces by Saint-Saëns and Rimsky-Korsakov complementing relatively familiar works.

  • Mussorgsky (arr. Ravel) – Pictures at an Exhibition
  • Verdi – Overture to Nabucco
  • Saint-Saëns – Suite Algérienne
  • Smetana – Die Moldau
  • Rimsky-Korsakov – Fantasia on Serbian Themes

The final concert’s programme will be chosen during the week, but is likely to include some or all of the Mussorgsky, plus one or more of the other works.

Rehearsals will vary between purely repertoire ‘discovery’ sessions and detailed work on core pieces for the concert. The separate sections of the orchestra will receive professional tuition from our amazing team of tutors, giving them the chance to discover new and exciting repertoire under expert tutelage, and for members of both orchestras there is also the Members’ Concert to look forward to, plus a wide variety of Open Sessions.

>> Places for some instruments are limited – Apply Now!