Our Baroque course this year is offered, for the first time, in collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music (AAM). Our course director is the Music Director at AAM and two of our instrument tutors are principals of their sections at AAM. They all work both as teachers and performers: Laurence Cummings as course director, voices and continuo, Naomi Burrell upper strings, Joseph Crouch lower strings, Leo Duarte woodwind and Mary Collins, baroque dance and stagecraft. (Find out more about our tutors.)

Campra’s L’Europe Galante

Love is in the air for this year’s Summer School as we perform selections from André Campra’s L’Europe Galante, an opéra-ballet combining solo songs, beautiful choruses and passionate baroque dance. Following on from the success of last year’s staged production of King Arthur, this year’s course gives us a rare opportunity to focus on the French baroque; we will closely examine instrumental and vocal treatises to allow students to perform this beautiful and eloquent musical language with greater authority. You no longer need to fear the ornamentation and you will absorb the agrémens and intricate textual inflections to ensure that you are completely at one with French style.

L’Europe Galante charts the power of love through France, Spain and Italy before emerging triumphant in Turkey. Each act is essentially a masque, made up of delightful dances, songs and choruses.

Students will have the opportunity to work with a dynamic faculty including an inspirational dance specialist whose research and expertise is inspiring musicians to look afresh at the dance music which is at the heart of the Baroque repertoire. Learn more about baroque dance.

Our 2024 summer course will be devoted to preparing and exploring Campra’s musical gem as well as giving opportunities to discover other treasures of the 17th and 18th centuries. We will be working towards a final performance of L’Europe Galante, involving all course participants, choreographed and staged by Mary Collins and directed by Laurence Cummings. This will be a public performance in a Cambridge venue.

Each day we will offer instrumental classes in sectionals, choral and orchestral sessions, with opportunities for smaller ensemble and individual sessions. The vocal allocations will be organised on arrival. Please indicate on application if you are interested in singing a solo and include a short sound clip of your singing.

A typical day’s schedule might be:

  • 09.00 – physical warm-up taken by Mary Collins, including an introduction to baroque dance and stagecraft for everyone
  • 09.30 – sectional/vocal/dance classes
  • 11.00 – coffee
  • 11.30 – sectional/vocal/dance classes
  • 13.00 – lunch break
  • 14.00 – self-organised chamber music, dance/ free time
  • 15.00 – tutor organised chamber music
  • 16.00 – tea
  • 16.30 – tutti session
  • 18.30 – dinner
  • 19.30 – informal students’ concerts
  • Later – Benslow Music’s bar is open

Tuition will incorporate historically informed techniques and style. Mary Collins will also be available to coach instrumentalists on their dance movements to show how studying dance steps can enhance your musical performance. A 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.

Participants should arrive in time for the welcome at 4pm on Sunday 21 July. The course ends with breakfast on Sunday 28 July. On the final evening, course members will participate in a public representation of L’Europe Galante at a venue in Cambridge.

Is the Baroque course for me?

Applications are invited from dancers, proficient singers and confident players of gut-strung Baroque instruments (violin, viola and cello), with Baroque bows (some instruments and bows may be available to hire), bass viol, violone, recorder, baroque flute, oboe, bassoon, lute family and harpsichord/organ (suitable keyboard instruments are provided). Pitch: A=415.

Players should have a good mastery of instrumental technique, but not necessarily any experience of Baroque playing. However, the wind players need to be fluent and confident on their Baroque instruments, able to sight-read solos with confidence. Continuo players should have a good knowledge of figured bass.

Singers should be experienced and fluent sight-readers; they may be encouraged to take solo parts as well as singing in ensembles.

Pre-existing groups are welcome to apply together, and may bring prepared music for coaching in some of the chamber music sessions. Non-singing/playing observers are welcome if we have space.


Benslow Music, Hitchin

Our 2024 course will be held at Benslow Music, Hitchin, just a 30-minute train ride from Cambridge or London. An ideal base for exploring some of England’s most beautiful countryside, the historic town of Hitchin with its fine parish church is a destination in itself. There is also plenty of free parking.

Benslow Music has ten designated rehearsal and practice rooms, including two halls suitable for larger ensembles and public events. They possess a fine Goble harpsichord modelled on a 1727 Christian Zell original as well as virginals, a spinet and a restored Broadwood square piano dating from the 1820s.

Benslow Music provides a wide range of comfortable bedrooms with ensuite or shared bathroom facilities, enviable catering and all sorts of rehearsal and practice rooms. The beautiful gardens provide an inviting space in which to relax and regather energies between sessions. Additionally, all summer school participants will be able to make use of Benslow Music’s extensive music library during their course. Find out more about accommodation on Benslow Music’s website.

Fees & Bursaries

Find all information on fees and on how to pay the deposit.

The Selene Webb (née Mills) Memorial Bursary Fund supports those whose financial situation would prevent them from attending our courses without assistance, particularly music students and those setting out on a career in music. Find out more on how to apply for a bursary.

In collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music.

In collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music