The British Isles Music Festival is a residential master class and chamber music course attracting exceptionally gifted high school and conservatory students from around the world, as well as young professionals. Musicians may apply individually or come as a ready formed group. The lower age limit is 16 and upper age limit 32. For singers the lower age limit is 22 and upper age limit 32. Singers must be interested in vocal chamber music and must commit to learning and performing at least one substantial chamber music work in an evening concert during the festival. The aim of the festival is to give young musicians intensive coaching, invaluable performance experience and the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of solo and chamber music repertoire. The team of professors are experienced performers and teachers in the top conservatories in UK and Europe. Students have classes every day with their professors for their chosen repertoire and technical advice and receive chamber music coaching from various professors in preparation for the chamber music concerts, some of which are open to the general public. In 2017, 68 musicians attended from 20 countries and we programmed more than 130 works. The concert repertoire for the two main Concerts Series will be determined by applicants choices and the constellation of musicians who take part in the festival. The Director contacts all applicants well in advance to discuss concert repertoire, allowing preparation time. There will between four and five concerts each day for students to perform in, including: 1. 30 Lunchtime Informal Concerts in the Llewellyn Room, in which students apply to perform during the festival, 4.30 Afternoon Baroque Concerts in the Chapel, 6.O’Clock Duo Concerts in the Llewellyn Room and 8 O’Clock Concerts in the Hall. Some concerts are video-recorded professionally.
A library of chamber music will be on site. The festival provides three experienced resident pianists who play for classes and concerts and a harpsichordist specialist who coaches and performs Baroque repertoire. The level of playing expected by the festival is high school, specialist music school, pre-conservatory, conservatory and young professional. Most applicants already have some experience performing solo and chamber music and are aspiring to become, or are already, professional musicians. A number of scholarships and bursaries are available and are allocated on a first come, first serve basis and on consideration of the applicant’s financial circumstances and level of playing. These vary in amount and do not usually cover all the fees. Classes vary in size. The violin class will be capped at 12, cello and viola 6, wind classes 10, and voice 5. There is a purpose built music block and numerous classrooms providing excellent practise facilities. Those attending prepare solo works, chamber music repertoire and technical work for the master classes and selected chamber works for the concert series. There is a strong emphasis on the chamber music repertoire.