Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools 2014

BAROQUE MUSIC: Bach's Library

The Parley of Instruments

Peter Holman, Judy Tarling, Mark Caudle, Gail Hennessy, Philip Thorby

Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, UK, 2-9 August 2015

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  • Peter Holman (course director & continuo)
  • Judy Tarling (upper strings)
  • Mark Caudle (lower strings)
  • Gail Hennessy (wind)
  • Philip Thorby (voices)
  • Associate tutors: Sally Holman (bassoon) & Ricardo Barros (dance)

Course description

J S Bach
J S Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach must have had an enormous working library in his apartment at St Thomas's church in Leipzig. The centre-piece of this year's Baroque course will be portions of his great Mass in B minor but during the week, and in the associated concerts, we will also explore a range of other music he composed, collected and performed. This repertoire will include pieces by earlier members of his family, those composed by his pupils and other members of his circle, and works by contemporaries such as Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi and Pergolesi that he is known to have arranged or performed.

Each day we will offer technique workshops, choral and orchestral sessions for large-scale works, and one-to-a-part chamber music sessions selected and coached by the tutors exploring unusual repertoire in various combinations. Singers may have chances to sing in small ensembles and occasional solos as well as in a chamber choir. Instrumentalists (particularly wind players) may also have opportunities to sing chorus parts.

Typical schedule

  • 09.30 sectionals
  • 11.00 coffee
  • 11.30 choir session / orchestra session
  • 13.00 lunch break
  • 13.30 free time / self-organised groups
  • 16.00 tea
  • 16.30 chamber music session (organised by the tutors)
  • 18.30 dinner
  • 19.30 talk by one of the tutors
  • 20.00 tutti session for large-scale works

Tuition will stress historically-informed techniques and style. A large selection of music for many combinations of instruments and voices will be provided; you are also invited to bring your own sets of parts and scores.

Is the Baroque Course for me?

Applications are invited from proficient singers and confident players of gut-strung baroque instruments (violin, viola and cello), with baroque bows; bass viol, violone, recorder, flute, oboe, bassoon, lute family, and harpsichord/organ. Trumpets and timpani will also be needed for the final concert.

Pitch: A=415.

Some instruments and bows are available to hire.

Players should have a good mastery of instrumental technique, but not necessarily any experience of baroque playing. Wind players should be prepared to sight-read solo parts. Keyboard players should have the ability to read figured bass. Singers should have good sight-reading skills.

Pre-existing groups are welcome to apply together, and may bring prepared music for coaching in some of the chamber music sessions.

Instrumentalists (particularly wind players) may also have opportunities to sing chorus parts: please tick your voice part on the application if you would like to do some singing.

Non-singing/playing observers are welcome if we have space.


The course begins with a concert given by The Parley of Instruments with Daniel Auchincloss (tenor) at 4pm on 2nd August. On 5th August The Parley give a full-length evening concert. On the final evening (8th August) course members participate in a public concert, performing a selection of larger-scale pieces studied during the week.

Dates and times

Participants should arrive in time for the concert at 4pm on Sunday 2nd August. The course ends with breakfast on Sunday 9th August.


We make every effort to assist with part or full bursaries where appropriate. Please enquire for details.


Please apply as early as possible, as places are limited. Applications will be acknowledged but may not be accepted until April, by when we hope to have a workable balance of voices and instruments. You will then be informed if your application has succeeded, and your deposit will be returned if not.

Course fees are detailed on the application form.

Apply now  »

Contact: |  tel: +44 (0) 1223 847330
Christopher Roberts, Administrator
Cambridge Early Music is a registered charity, No. 1127932, and a private limited company registered in England and Wales,
No. 6463812     Registered office: 5 Tunwell's Lane, Great Shelford, Cambridge CB22 5LJ, UK