I first came to Dartington 25 years ago, and the experience changed my life. So it gives me great pleasure to introduce our 2020 Summer School course programme, and invite you to take part in a similarly transformative summer of music. Every year, a unique community of amateurs, professionals, audiences and volunteers comes together on the magical Dartington Hall estate to share in our vibrant programme of courses and concerts.

This year, we’ve introduced several new elements to help us engage even more creatively with music. We’ve added writers, thinkers and radio-makers to the mix, to open up a conversation about music, with our weekly Future Sounds courses. We’ve created family-friendly workshops so everyone feels welcome to take part. We’ve made a strong commitment to new work, commissioning two major works for Big Choir and bringing composition teaching into every week. And we’ve teamed up with a host of national partners, from Café OTO to the Royal Philharmonic Society, to enrich your experience and invite the wider world in.

We’ve also created Open Space, a new daily session to help you make the most of your time at Dartington. You can take part in a different workshop or taster event every day, or you can choose to rest, practise or explore the grounds – whatever supports your personal journey. You’ll find everything you need to know about booking and taking part in this brochure. Each of the four distinctive weeks comes with a daily timetable so you can plan your stay, with courses clearly labelled according to musical ability.

And in March 2020, we’ll announce our full Festival programme of concerts and events, along with more details of Open Space and the morning Wellbeing sessions. Whether you stay with us or off site, come alone or with the family, dip into one course, sign up to everything, play obsessively or spend your time listening, you are welcome. I hope you’ll join us.

Sara Mohr-Pietsch
Artistic Director

Sara Mohr Pietsch

“For musicians, there is nothing quite like Dartington Hall…

The word ‘unique’ is overworked, but in this case it probably does apply.”


An Introduction to the Summer School

Dartington is a place of extraordinary beauty and creativity, and the Summer School is for everyone – professional musicians, music students of all ages, people who love to play, sing and write and people who love to listen. The community you will be a part of is one of learning, sharing, performing and socialising. By day we run classes and courses covering a range of music, by night we offer an extensive concert programme featuring internationally-renowned performers.


Each week of Summer School features more than 20 courses, encompassing a wide range of styles, disciplines and abilities. Courses run for six days (Sunday – Friday), most lasting for one session (90-120 mins) per day. There are three sessions in a day (9-11am, 11.30am-1pm and 2.30-4pm), so you can build your own personal timetable.

After the three course sessions, Open Space offers a varied programme of events each day, giving you time to experiment, try new things, practise or rest.


In the evenings, Dartington transforms into a concert hall: we throw open the doors of the magnificent medieval Great Hall, and present concerts of all kinds of music, for everyone. There are usually several concerts or events per night, open to course participants and the public alike, with a programme that encompasses chamber music, orchestral and choral works, brand new commissions, experimental installations and more.

“An unprecedented opportunity to practise live performance and learn from professionals”



The Summer School of Music was originally established at the suggestion of William Glock at Bryanston School in 1948. It quickly became a meeting ground for those hungry to explore a new musical landscape. The Summer School moved to Dartington in 1953 and has flourished here as a cornerstone of the musical calendar ever since.

Throughout its history, the Summer School has been blessed with a faculty of the very best performers, teachers, creators and innovators, who give generously of their time, expertise and artistry. They inspire all who share a love of music: young musicians at the start of their careers, enthusiastic amateurs, families, and professional musicians and artists. Broad backgrounds and a shared passion define the Summer School community.

Read more about the Summer School’s history here.

Sir William Glock

“One of the world’s great summer music schools”


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