Press Release: Dates announced for West Dean College of Arts and Conservation's summer music programmes and guitar festival

- One of several Music-related events at West Dean in 2022 ranging from appreciation to making to performing -


Tickets to West Dean College of Arts and Conservation’s annual International Classical Guitar Festival are now on sale via www.westdean.ac.uk. The series of four concerts which include world-class performers such as Daniela Rossi; Hugh Millington; Gary Ryan and the Mēla Guitar Quartet will complement the Festival which takes place from Saturday, August 13 to Thursday, August 18, 2022. Under the directorship of Andrew Gough, ensembles director, concert guitarist, and Head of Guitar at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Junior Department, the Festival includes an intensive timetable of events and instruction in a wide range of areas; repertoire classes, ensemble performing, guitar orchestra, individual lessons, ‘the Learning Zones’, and solo masterclasses. The carefully planned and highly varied programme will appeal to all enthusiasts, from grade two level experience all the way to advanced. The course is open to anyone aged 18 and over and bursaries are available to first study classical guitarists aged 18 – 24, especially those who are studying towards a music degree – deadline to apply is Friday, May 27, 2022.

In advance of the August Festival, there will be a 4-day residential Guitar Weekend from Friday, April 1 to Monday, April 4, 2022. The weekend course, which is lead by Andrew Gough and Gary Ryan, is for advanced classical guitarists (grade 7+) who wish to experience the enjoyment of playing in an ensemble, develop their technique and learn from performing solo music in repertoire classes. Participants will receive tuition from both of the classical guitar weekend tutors. There will also be an opportunity for everyone to perform individually in an informal ensembles concert (cost: £381).

For those who would like to experience instrument making as well as playing, West Dean College has run musical instrument making courses for more than 40 years. During April there are a variety of musical instrument making short courses including Musical instrument making – traditional stringed and keyboard instruments, which runs from Monday, April 11 to Thursday, April 20, 2022. Instruments offered include making a simple rebec, mandola, or Celtic harp to a mandolin or Hurdy Gurdy, amongst others. During the 9-day course, instruction is given in the principles of making, assembling and finishing the instrument, allowing students to start a new project or complete one already in progress (Suitable for all/ £1,140).

Roy Stratford has been hosting music appreciation short courses at West Dean for several years, his next short course will be an introduction to Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte’s three greatest operas The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi Fan Tutti and Don Giovanni, from Friday, September 23 to Sunday, September 25, 2022. The course will explain some of the differences in Mozart’s style in each work. The tutor will also give a recital on Saturday evening to course participants (Suitable for all/ £270).

Various performing courses will take place in March and April. Now in its 39th year, the celebrated Chilingirian Quartet return for their annual course from Wednesday, April 20 to Sunday, April 24, 2022. The inspirational course offers the opportunity for music graduate, student, or amateur quartets or ensembles, to work closely with each of the Chilingirian Quartet. Each group selects a repertoire of their own choice to work on, benefitting from at least two intensive coaching sessions each day. A maximum of six string quartets or ensembles are accepted to the course each year allowing for lots of individual tuition (£593 – for non-resident students).

The College has rich connections to both art and music, through the legacy of founder Edward James, who famously sponsored a series of ballets in Paris and London, and the short courses, like those in April provide an insight to those considering applying for full-time study on the College’s Foundation Degree Arts in Musical Instruments taught by Nick Pyall, Shem Mackey and Arnaud Giral which encompasses viola da gamba, guitar and violin making. Recently Foundation Degree Arts in Musical Instruments Subject Leader Dr Nick Pyall, was involved in a new film, filmed in the workshops at West Dean College, that appears at the newly re-opened and refurbished Royal College of Music Museum in London. Visitors to the Museum will have the unique opportunity to interact with over 500 years of musical history with items on permanent display including the world’s oldest guitar and earliest keyboard instrument with strings, along with 56 other fascinating instruments specially chosen from the Royal College of Music’s designated collection of over 15,000 items to bring musical history to life. As part of the permanent exhibition, two fillms are on show: in one of these Nick discusses the appointments featured on historic musical instruments made from materials now endangered and the quest to find suitable alternatives. The other shows West Dean College students in the workshop crafting their instruments using traditional methods.

While Musical Instruments tutor, QEST (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) Scholar and viola da gamba authority Shem Mackey will be taking part in the Homo Faber Event in Venice from Sunday, April 10 – Sunday, May 1, 2022. Dedicated to contemporary craftsmanship, the Homo Faber Event is an international exhibition that champions artisanal talent, showcasing an impressive variety of materials, techniques and skills through live demonstrations, immersive digital experiences and imaginative displays of handcrafted creations. Four QEST Scholars, including luthier Shem Mackey, will be taking part.

And finally, Sam Laming, who is studying for a Foundation Degree Arts - Musical Instruments has been awarded a QEST Scholarship to help fund the 2nd year of his studies at West Dean College. He is planning to travel to Europe in the Summer to visit musical instrument museums, in order to inspect and measure some of the finest examples of 'Englische Violet' - a near extinct instrument that he is particularly interested in. He said: “with only around 53 historic examples left in the museums of the world. My intention from measuring these instruments is to see the similarities and differences from maker to maker, and to become an expert on the topic, construction, and maybe even playing of Englische Violets.” As a result of his QEST scholarship, he is building a replication of such an instrument at West Dean that he measured last year and will be in an exhibition at the Bayerische National Museum, Munich, alongside the original instrument from October 2022. The event gathers all of Munich's violin makers, and normally no makers from outside the region, to showcase their craftmanship and instruments - Munich is the city with the 2nd largest number of violin makers in the world after Cremona, Italy.

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has an international reputation for excellence and is a full partner of the University of Sussex. Students benefit from fully equipped workshops, expert tutors and lecturers, and access to material from the College’s amazing Collection and Archive. Craft Foundation Degrees include Metalwork, Furniture, Clocks and Musical Instruments, for more information on these and other Conservation and Fine Art study opportunities, see www.westdean.ac.uk.

To ensure a safe and welcoming campus, the College has put in place measures operating on a principle of the same as, or better than, national guidelines. This includes social distancing, self-opening doors, less students in workshops, and extensive cleaning and sanitising protocols to protect students and staff. For more details on Social Distancing and COVID-19 measures, please visit https://www.westdean.org.uk/coronavirus

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Notes to Editors:

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is an educational charity whose mission is to provide the highest quality education in arts and conservation. Alongside the academic provision, the College supports an annual programme of residencies designed to provide research and development opportunities to artists and writers whilst enhancing the learning environment of the College.

• West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the ‘the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century’. 

• The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.

• All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.

• West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

For all media enquiries please contact Rachel Aked:
Email: rachel.aked@westdean.org.uk
Telephone: 07790 732448

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ