dartington music summer school & festival

Four weeks of shared music making, learning and listening, from early music to jazz. Courses for all ages and abilities, accompanied by over 60 concerts and events, set against the backdrop of a medieval estate in the heart of Devon.

dartington music summer school & festival

Four weeks of shared music making, learning and listening, from early music to jazz. Courses for all ages and abilities, accompanied by over 60 concerts and events, set against the backdrop of a medieval estate in the heart of Devon.

Explore the summer school

The Summer School & Festival runs from 23 July – 20 August 2022.

Decide whether you’re attending courses, concerts or both, and then choose a package that’s right for you. You can also choose from a range of accommodation options on our beautiful estate as required.

useful links

latest from @dartingtonarts

Summer School concert spotlight: Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet, with Gavin Bryars and friends. 9:30pm Wednesday 27 July in The Great Hall at Dartington.

Based on a haunting recording of a Spiritual sung by a homeless man in London, Gavin Bryars’ composition, Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, is a profoundly moving meditation on the vulnerability of life. Since its first groundbreaking performance in 1972, it has become internationally recognised as an iconic work in 20th-century British music.

In this unique late-night performance, specially created for Dartington, composer-in-residence Gavin Bryars leads a group of Summer School musicians, who accompany the quavering voice on the recording with the sumptuous timbres of early instruments.

Book your tickets for this very special performance by one of the most influential British composers working today: dartington.org/event/jesus-blood-never-failed-me-yet/

[Photo credit: Aubrey Simpson]


Calling all local (South-West Devon-based) music lovers. Would you like to take part in our Summer School courses with a generous discount this year? We're still looking for a few more local stewards to volunteer - if you're interested, please email summerschool@dartington.org as soon as possible.

Stewards provide the front-of-house operation for all Summer School performances. We are looking for friendly and helpful stewards to welcome guests and check tickets, as well as being responsible for evacuating performances in an emergency. Stewarding is a great way to participate in the Summer School at a very low cost and in return for their invaluable work, stewards are able to take part in courses when duties allow.

Our accommodation is booking up fast, so we're looking for people who wouldn't need to stay the night.

Don't hesitate to let us know if you have any questions!

[Photo by Kate Mount]

#dartingtonmusic #totnes #whatsondevon

Don't miss this on BBC Radio 3 this Sunday! Featuring our artist in residence @jasonsinghthing . We can't wait to listen ahead of our own Vaughan Williams 150 celebrations at this year's Summer School.

The Lark Descending
Between the Ears

Half environmental warning, half re-imagining of a classic work - The Lark Descending features the premiere of Hinako Omori’s new electronic arrangement of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending.

When Vaughan Williams wrote his most famous work in 1914, the skylark would have been a ubiquitous presence in the British countryside, but today the skylark is on the "red list" of conservation concern. This bird may have inspired one of the most famous pieces of classical music ever, but now we’re facing an increasingly silent sky.

Between The Ears explores what we have lost, presenting The Lark Ascending in a new light, with a fresh, electronic arrangement. Here, the soloist is the skylark itself - captured by veteran sound recordist Chris Watson in Northumberland this spring.

Naturalist and broadcaster Lucy ‘Lapwing’ Hodson explores the relationship between The Lark Ascending and the birds disappearing from our skies. Along the way, Lucy meets concert violinist Jennifer Pike at Vaughan Williams’s childhood home, producer and nature beatboxer Jason Singh, and writer and conservationist Laurence Rose.

150 years after Vaughan Williams was born, the contrast between the popularity of his most famous work and the steady decline of skylark numbers in the UK has never been as stark. Composer Hinako Omori's electronic re-imagining of the piece explores this contrast, in the premiere of her new arrangement Conversation With A Lark.

Produced in binaural sound, immerse yourself in the skylark’s world by wearing headphones for the best listening experience.

We're thrilled to offer musicians the chance to work on their composition skills with talented folk artist Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian in Week Two of our Music Summer School this year (30th July - 6th August) in our Folk Composition course.

During the week, you'll experiment with different processes to provide the spark for your new folk composition. Led by award-winning composer and performer Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, this course draws techniques from her wide-ranging influences — from English, Scottish and Armenian folksong to conceptual art; from graphic scores to field recordings of the local environment. The course is open to all musicians, and by the end of the week we’ll perform our new arrangements together.

Head over to dartington.org/summerschool to book your spot on this fantastic course, or call: 01803 847080 (10am – 4pm Monday – Friday)

{Photo credit: Jodie Cartman}


Love to sing? Spend a revitalising week in the beautiful Devon countryside this summer singing at Dartington's world-famous Music Summer School & Festival!

Join us for our popular "Big Choir" choral courses for a week from 23rd July - 20th August, singing choral classics such as Monteverdi’s sumptuous Vespers, Handel’s dramatic Athalia, Brahms’ Requiem, and Vaughan Williams’ mystical songs. You can also opt to join a Gospel Choir with @blackvoicesuk in Week Four, or join the @nestfolk's Fire Choir led by @benseesings to sing folk protest songs in Week Two.

We're currently particularly short on tenors and basses for our Summer School choirs, so please help us spread the word to any deeper-chested singers you may know!

Explore the choral courses on the programme via our website, dartington.org/summerschool, and call our friendly team to book 10am - 4pm, Monday - Friday: 01803 847080 ☎


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