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Jazz Gigs & Events

Dartington Music Summer School & Festival at Dartington Hall, Devon.

Dates: Saturday, July 24, 2021 - Saturday, August 21, 2021

Featuring: Various Artists

More details

We have received the following press release;

Please find below information of the jazz and experimental music line-up at this year’s Summer School – an incredible opportunity to learn from musicians such as Peter Edwards and his Nu Civilisation Orchestra. We also have a brand new partnership with London’s Café OTO this year.


Dartington Music Summer School & Festival returns with an exciting jazz and experimental offering

24th July – 21st August 2021 Dartington Hall, Devon

Since 1953, the Dartington Trust has been bringing musicians together every year for a unique event to learn, perform, collaborate, grow, and experience the joy of music. After an enforced break in 2020, the Summer School & Festival returns in July for a true celebration of all things musical.

Over four weeks, musicians of all abilities are invited to learn in small groups from a selection of the very best professionals creating and performing music today. Each week is split into different genres; early music, baroque and folk, chamber music and jazz and experimental.

Jazz and experimental music is the focus of the fourth and final week of the Music Summer School, and this year it is being spearheaded by acclaimed pianist, composer and musical director Peter Edwards, making his Dartington debut with his Nu Civilisation Orchestra (NCO). Advanced jazz instrumentalists will have the unique opportunity to work alongside them in Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts, which they presented to great acclaim at the 2019 BBC Proms. Dartington’s amateur Choir will join them under the expert guidance of Carol Pemberton and Celia Wickham-Anderson (Black Voices), culminating in a performance of Ellington’s groundbreaking and celebratory masterpiece at the end of the week.

Black Voices is the UK’s foremost a cappella quintet and have been a popular feature of the Dartington Music Summer School since the early 90’s. Founder Carol Pemberton has led the Summer School’s Gospel Choir for over 20 years, their vocal coaching is highly sought after and their performances joyous.

Dartington is also delighted to be joining forces with the incredible creative team behind London’s innovative Café OTO. Under their residency, we are joined by Ryoko Akama to lead a new course in site-specific and situational performance. Within these highly experimental sessions, participants will use found objects and the abundance of natural phenomena within the Dartington estate to create a sounding space, and assemble various mediums which they will be able to sculpt into new forms. Café OTO also present multi-instrumentalist and composer Ashley Paul who will be offering a course with drummer Crystabel Riley in free improvisation.

Pianist, activist and instrument-inventor Sarah Nicolls makes her Dartington debut bringing her Inside-Out Piano to the Summer School. Pianists will have the opportunity to explore contemporary repertoire and experiment with preparing pianos. Renowned vocal ensemble EXAUDI return to Dartington this summer to explore CoMA Partsongs (Contemporary Music for All). Vocalists will work as an ensemble and in smaller groups exploring this collection of new and experimental vocal ensemble pieces, under director James Weeks.

The jazz offering continues with Peter Edwards and the members of the NCO leading week long courses on jazz improvisation and jazz standards. Plus there are a number of specialist sessions for wind players with Steve Dummer and the Magnard Ensemble, and brass workshops with Brett Baker and Paul Archibald.

During the week before, musicians are offered an incredible opportunity to work with genre-defying Mercury shortlisted composer and producer Anna Meredith, who is leading a course in creative arrangements and cover versions. Her work music has been described as ‘uncategorisable’ and slides between the worlds of contemporary classical, electro-pop, techno and experimental rock.

2021 also sees the launch of a daily Open Space session, for participants to rest, explore the grounds and try out new workshops. Every week also features a Future Sounds course aimed at opening up the conversation about music, including courses in writing and radio, and Listening Club sessions.

The Future Sounds course in the final week ‘Responsive Radio’ promises to be particularly illuminating. Soundart Radio’s Lucinda Guy will be looking at creative radio-making by responding to song in landscape and text. Participants will spend the week drawing on archive recordings and creating their own field recordings around the Dartington estate to create an original soundscape.

Sara Mohr-Pietsch was announced as Artistic Director last year, adding to her significant career as a BBC Radio 3 broadcaster and writer. Her re-instated programme will open up the worlds of classical, folk, jazz and experimental music to a wider audience than ever, with a huge array of courses and workshops on offer for all ages and abilities, taught by an impressive line-up of international performers, composers and writers.

Sara commented: “After the last year, it feel particularly special to be bringing this year’s Summer School and Festival to life. We need music more than ever, and I am excited to welcome an incredible line-up of artists to teach and perform, all of whom bring great integrity and vitality to their work. I am extremely proud of the programme we have put together, including new elements such as Open Space and Future Sounds, and the measures we have put in place to make the very most of outdoor singing and playing in the beautiful grounds of Dartington Hall. I look forward to sharing a thrilling summer of music with all.”

Due to social distancing procedures space is much more limited than usual, so people are being advised to book early to avoid disappointment. Full refunds will be given in the event that Covid restrictions force postponement.

Full week courses and concerts passes are available. Courses can be booked through Dartington’s website or by telephone on Wednesdays and Fridays +44 (0)1803 847080.

The full concert programme will be announced in May 2021.

The Dartington Hall Trust is registered in England as a company limited by guarantee and a charity.
[Co. No. 1485560 Ch. No. 279756 VAT No. 402196875]
Registered office: The Elmhirst Centre, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 6EL.