Benslow Music/Vocal Courses in 2018 - Thu 22 Feb 2018

Benslow Music is an Associate Member of the NAC. They have provided information about their courses to be held this year:

Madsongs and Particles

Fri 9 - Sun 11 March
Tutor: Peter Broadbent

We are delighted to welcome back Peter Broadbent for another choral weekend. This year we will enjoy madrigals from the Renaissance by Morley, Tomkins and Monteverdi and part-songs and opera choruses by Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, Sullivan and Rutter. A weekend of love, life and humour not to be missed!

The Benslow Baroque Opera: Rameau's Les Indes Galantes

Mon 9 - Sun 15 April
Tutors: Dionysios Kyropoulos, Julian Perkins, Judy Tarling,
Henrik Persson, Andrew Radley

Our Baroque Opera Project returns in 2018 with Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes. We are delighted to welcome back Dionysios Kyropoulos, a specialist in historical acting and Baroque opera, for this production, which will feature scenes from this colourful and vibrant work (complete with an earthquake and volcanic eruption!). Our team of tutors is led by the musical duo of Julian Perkins and Judy Tarling, with Henrik Persson providing the all-important continuo tuition, and Andrew Radley, our vocal coach. We are seeking competent Baroque players with period instruments at A=415 (flutes, oboes, bassoons, trumpet, strings and continuo) and choral singers who are able to learn their lines before the course, and in early 2018 we will be auditioning singers – who must be of a professional standard – for the solo roles. The course begins at 4pm on the Monday and will culminate with a semi-staged performance in French in front of a public audience on the evening of Saturday 14 April.

A Chance to Sing: The Fabulous Gershwins

Fri 18 - Sun 20 May
Tutor: Roger Moon

Once again Roger Moon will lead from the piano an enjoyable weekend of group singing. Two brothers as unlike as potatoes and tomatoes, who together and separately were among the very greatest of that great era of songwriting talent. One flamboyant, one studious; one working to a good age after the other’s tragic early death. No need to be able to read music, although experienced singers have enjoyed the weekend as do beginners and returners: but if you expect a very serious course you might find more of a sing-song! As always, the only prerequisite is a sense of humour. One session will cover other music for a change, and may include participants’ requests if made in advance.

Choral Weekend with Jonathan Willcocks

Fri 13 - Sun 15 July
Tutor: Jonathan Willcocks

We are delighted to welcome distinguished conductor and composer Jonathan Willlcocks to direct this course, which will focus on a range of European sacred choral music, including works by Bruckner, Fauré, Mozart and Rachmaninov, together with Jonathan’s own choral music. Please note that you must already have reasonable experience of choral singing to get the most from this course, which is not for beginners.

Big Band Singing Summer School
Mon 23 - Sat 28 July
Tutors: Anton Browne, Jenny Howe

If you’ve ever yearned to sing with the sound of a Big Band behind you, then here’s your chance. Working under the guidance of Anton Browne and Jenny Howe, two of the finest Big Band singers around, you’ll explore and develop vocal techniques relevant to the genre, study the art of stagecraft and presentation, discover how to make a well-known song your own, and learn about microphone technique. We’d like you to prepare two jazz standard songs and to bring along chord charts, we’ll provide and allocate the big band songs. A recording and playback device will also prove useful. We begin at 6.30pm on the first day and finish after breakfast on the final day. And of course you get free entry to the A Night of Jazz concert on Thursday 26 July.

Musical Theatre Song Day with Sarah Leonard
Sun 5 August
Tutor: Sarah Leonard

Explore the wonderful Musical Theatre song repertoire over the last 75 years with Sarah Leonard. Although trained as a classical singer, Sarah has been teaching on the BA Acting Musical Theatre Course at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama for the last 14 years and has gained a wealth of experience in this field. Please bring two contrasting songs by any of the following composers and learn how to approach the many different vocal styles and sounds required with ease and artistry. Repertoire covered – songs by Rogers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Frank Loesser, Kander and Ebb, Cye Coleman, Stephen Schwartz and Stephen Sondheim.

Sarah Leonard's Vocal Summer School
Mon 6 - Fri 10 August
Tutors: Sarah Leonard, Stephen Gutman

Participants (of approximately Grade 7 standard and above) are invited to bring a broad repertoire of songs and arias. Improve communication with your audience by gaining insights into music and text which will be reflected in and therefore enrich your performance. Discuss how technique can enhance your interpretation, and examine ways of removing the physical tensions that can adversely affect technique. Bring four pieces in any style and Sarah and Stephen will help you with them. We will discuss repertoire, and there will also be informal concerts for you to participate in during the course. Please let us know in advance what you’ll be bringing to sing. A ticket will also be included for Sarah’s recital on Tuesday 7 August.

Jazz and Pop Singing
Fri 10 - Sun 12 August
Tutor: Anton Browne

The charismatic Anton Browne, regular tutor on our popular Big Band Singing Summer School and tutor at The BRIT School since 1991, returns for another instalment of his course designed to introduce singers to the freedoms and disciplines of the Jazz/Soul/Pop singer in a practical way. The course will include tuition on appropriate vocal technique and phrasing and how to “make the song your own”, on interpretation and the use of a microphone. He will cover the recognition of commonly used intervals, chord types and song format/structure, that will help with ad-libs and improvisation, running and riffing. The course will conclude with a performance to the class and a Q&A session. No previous knowledge of jazz or pop singing is required.

Madrigal and Partsong Summer School
Fri 10 - Mon 13 August
Tutor: James Oldfield

James Oldfield returns to Benslow Music in 2018 to guide singers through the art of consort singing, and we’ll enjoy some sight reading challenges whilst exploring the riches of Monteverdi, Tallis, Gibbons, Elgar, Finzi, Delius, Barber and many more composers. Participants can also suggest and bring favoured repertoire. Excellent sight reading and the ability to hold a line, sustain a phrase, and stay in tune are all essentials, and there will be the opportunity for singing one voice per part in small groups as well as a chamber choir. This course is ideal for instrumentalists who play at a high level and wish to transfer their chamber music skills into a vocal context. An enjoyable, relaxed and inclusive atmosphere whilst making music at a high level.

Dowland and his Peers
Mon 10 - Thu 13 September
Tutors: Dame Emma Kirkby, Jacob Heringman

We join forces with the Lute Society once again for this course devoted to lute song, with a difference! This year we will work with Emma and Jacob on the repertoire of Dowland and his contemporaries, with particular emphasis on four-part airs as well as lute-song versions. All voice types and lutenists are welcome, especially tenors and basses! We will also look at contemporary lute songs and lute song arrangements, and will discuss the practice of creating your own lute song from a part song or motet, as players of the time did. In addition to coaching singers and lute players in an open lesson format on music brought along, there will be scheduled "special topic" classes, in which Jacob and Emma introduce participants to those areas which may be unfamiliar. The course fee also includes entry to a recital on the first evening given by our tutors.

Consort Singing Day with David Ireson
Sun 16 September
Tutor: David Ireson

Are you a confident choral singer and a good sight-reader, but haven’t had the chance to put your skills to the test in a small group? This course will challenge you to raise your skills to a chamber music level, where every
member of the group depends on every other member equally to produce a refined professional performance – there are no passengers. Excellent sight-reading and a wide experience of Renaissance and other a cappella music are prerequisites, so that time is spent on developing ensemble expertise rather than learning notes. There will be an upper limit of four voices per part, and the repertoire will be a mixture of secular and sacred unaccompanied works from different periods.

Choral Evensong Weekend with Jeremy Jackman
Fri 19 - Sun 21 October
Tutor: Jeremy Jackman

Evensong comes to Benslow Music! Join us as we rehearse all the music for a cathedral-style service - including real psalms and hymns - before we transfer on Sunday afternoon to St Mary’s Church in Hitchin. The course will finish at approximately 5.30pm. Jeremy Jackman has Evensong in his DNA: he started aged 6! Experienced Evensongsters will love this. If you’ve never sung the service before, this is a brilliant way to find out all about it. Repertoire will be chosen to suit the participants. You will need to be a music reader with reasonable sight-reading.

Purcell’s Extraordinary Tallent: A Course for Singers and Continuo Players
Mon 22 - Thu 25 October
Tutors: Andrew Radley, Oliver-John Ruthven

"Purcell’s extraordinary Tallent in all sorts of music is sufficiently known; but he was particularly admir’d for his Vocal, having a peculiar Genius to express the Energy of English Words” (Addison, 1706). In this brand new course we will be exploring the vast treasure trove of over 85 secular songs and over 150 stage songs that Purcell wrote during his glittering, if brief career. Participants are asked to bring two or three contrasting songs which will be coached in one-on-one and masterclass style sessions, as we consider how best we can energise our words, move passions and cause admiration in our 21st century audiences! Applications from baroque continuo players (harpsichord, cello and theorbo) are also warmly encouraged to work with continuo specialist Oliver-John, a member of the English Baroque Soloists. There will be an informal concert on the last day of the course.

English and American Song
Fri 7 - Sun 9 December
Tutors: Sarah Leonard, Stephen Gutman

Sarah Leonard and Stephen Gutman help singers explore the highways and byways of twentieth and twenty-first century English and American song, looking at a wide range of composers including Parry, Gurney, Quilter, Ireland, Warlock, Vaughan Williams, Holst, Finzi, Head, Bridge and Britten and, from across the pond, Barber, Copland, Ives and Sondheim. We would like you to bring along three prepared songs, one of which can be from the lighter side of the repertoire. We’ll end the course with a short informal concert given by participants.

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