Dartington launched its 70th summer school and festival programme at a special event in the 1901 Arts Club last week.
The evening included live performances from alumni (due to a double-booking, I was only able to catch the marvellous Alim Beisembayev tackle the fiendish Brahms Paganini Variations).
The month-long residential summer school (next year running from 28th July to 25 August) prides itself on a warm and inclusive feel, something I experienced first-hand at the launch event. Present-day devotees are eager to share stories with one another. They’re also quite happy to explain to those of us who have never been before what its unique qualities are.
I’m not quite sure I’m necessarily ready to fully embrace the on-site camping experience, but with budget accommodation starting at around £400 for a week, and AirBnB vendors selling at similar rates for entire properties, Dartington distinctive mix of amateur and professional music-making and learning makes this a definite for me next year.
Personal highlights include the Woodwind masterclasses in the first week, the historical fiction and landscape creative writing workshops in week two, and former director Gavin Henderson’s talk about the history of the summer school in week three. In addition, my eye is drawn to the conductor workshop with Tim Redmond, the cello masterclass with Adrian Brendel, and the Film Music Improvisation workshop with the marvellous Neil Brand.
Dartington’s 70th anniversary Summer School and Festival runs from 28th July to 25th August 2018. Booking opens in early December 2017, details can be found on Dartington’s Summer School website.