Dartington International Summer School & Festival 2017

We’re getting ready for next year!

The 2016 Summer School & Festival is now over and we’ll be updating these pages soon. In the meantime, we’d like to say a huge thanks to absolutely everyone who was involved. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

We will open for bookings at the end of November 2016, when full course information will also be available.

Until then, why not check out our Gallery to see what we got up to in 2016, read our Testimonials page to find out what our participants said about us, or check the Archive for information about recent Summer Schools? For a full run-down on Summer School 2016, have a look at the report on the right, available to download now!


Joanna MacGregor

It’s a great pleasure to welcome you to my third programme as Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School. Dartington is a place of extraordinary beauty and creativity, and its ancient buildings and dream-like gardens resonate and shimmer with generations of musicians and composers, artists and dancers, poets and writers.

Each year the Summer School sets out to do something unique: to create a community of all ages and backgrounds, coming together in a fantastic atmosphere of study and friendship, celebration and performance. We’re a music school by day, and a concert hall by night; you can listen to up to three concerts each evening. This packed four-week programme brings you some very familiar names – well-loved teachers and artists, like Pascal Rogé, Alfred Brendel, Stile Antico and Emma Kirkby – as well as brilliant young musicians: the operatic tenor Paul Nilon and soprano Carolyn Sampson, the wonderful violinist Thomas Gould, pianist Florian Mitrea and Fournier Trio, and the fabulous Heath and Gildas String Quartets.

We thrill to music resonating with myth and English identity: Purcell’s opera King Arthur, whose much-loved anthem Fairest Isle complements poetry courses examining Milton and Blake, as well as Britten’s profound Suffolk masterpiece, Peter Grimes, and revolutionist Cornelius Cardew. This year’s choral works range from the festive Florentine Intermedi – glittering, semi-theatrical music for a Medici marriage – to Handel’s vibrant Samson and Elgar’s autumnal The Music Makers. Music theatre abounds, from a Gershwin celebration to Sweeney Todd. Folk music is led by the inspirational father and daughter duo Martin and Eliza Carthy; and Michael Finnissy, Stevie Wishart and Howard Skempton guide and inspire composers. Jazz excitement is led by sax warrior Andy Sheppard. Eric Vloeimans, Paul Archibald, Steve Dummer and Dartington Big Band focus on hot brass, and Neil Brand returns to run a music and film course. You can also enjoy classes in Brazilian and Middle Eastern music and song, as well as salsa and jive.

I’m delighted to welcome a distinguished group of writers and poets running creative writing courses: James Runcie on crime fiction; Alice Oswald and Jo Shapcott on poetry; Paul Morley on David Bowie, memoirs and music; and the cultural historian Marina Warner joins forces with the magnificent Palestinian poet Tamim Al-Barghouti. 

The 2017 programme offers wide-ranging courses and workshops for musicians of all interests and varying experience: music really does connect us all. I look forward to welcoming you all to what will be a wonderful, stimulating Summer School!

Joanna MacGregor, Artistic Director

Click here to read Joanna MacGregor’s biography

Read our latest Summer School blog

All blogs >
Dartington Summer School & Festival 2016: Gallery

Summer School blog: A Day in the Life of a House Parent

Ever wondered what it takes work behind the scenes at the Summer School? One of our volunteers gives us a clue as he talks us through a 'typical' day! Read More >>


Guest blog: Writing with Marina Warner

"We considered riddles, quests and prohibitions, objects that come to life and speak...the ghost and the creature transformed" - a Summer School attendee blogs on her experience (opens in new website). Read More >>

BBC Spotlight visit the 2016 Summer School

Reproduced here with kind permission of the BBC.

Summer School archive

If you’re looking for something from previous years, you can find it here.

Visit the archive