Dartington International Summer School & Festival announces 70th anniversary programme

In celebration of Dartington International’s 70th anniversary in 2018, an extraordinary programme of courses and concerts open for everyone has been organised. World-class musicians and singers from the worlds of classical, folk, jazz, Latin and contemporary music come together. The full concert programme of over 100 concerts, open to the general public, will be announced in early 2018. They offer an opportunity to listen to unique concerts and collaborations in the atmospheric surroundings of the medieval Great Hall.
The month-long festival includes a whole week of Folk (4 – 11 August) and will be rich with opportunities to explore and practice with experienced musicians. Each course runs for the whole week, so you are able to immerse yourself from breakfast until late – or break it up with a walk on the moor or a creative writing course with James Runcie, acclaimed novelist and commissioning editor for Arts at Radio 4, or Katrina Porteous, a poet known for her love of landscape and music.
Singer, instrumentalist, composer and choir leader Sally Davies offers her extensive experience in folk and world music by leading a Folk Choir course. The Cecil Sharp House folk choir director will rehearse folk songs from England and Eastern Europe, in spine-tingling a cappella harmony, in preparation for a concert later in the week. Paul Hutchinson, another regular tutor at Cecil Sharp House, leads an accordion workshop where players at all levels are welcome. Sally and Paul also collaborate in a relaxed workshop offering guidance and advice to bring folk performances to life – ready for the folk sessions in The White Hart Bar.
Founder of the folk/early music group The Carnival Band, Andy Watts explores street ballads and dance music from the 17th and 18th centuries, challenging artificial categories to create and exchange new music. Folk, Baroque and modern instrumentalists are encouraged to join the Folk Baroque workshop an exciting chance for musical innovation.
David Harbottle and Freya Jonas, recipients of plaudits from folk royalty including Seth Lakeman and Jon Boden, lead As I Walked Out One Morning, a folk class offering eclectic music accompanied by captivating stories. They’ll open up a space for participants to rehearse traditional tunes and arrangements, as well as new collaborations. Week 2 finishes with our traditional foot-stomping Ceildh, led this year by the Blue Jewel Band.
In Week 4 (18 – 25 August) The Dead Rat Orchestra returns to Dartington after sell out courses last summer.  They’ve gained a reputation as one of the most innovative ensembles – raw, elemental and poignant with a love of idiosyncratic folk traditions. Their course will use found objects, old instruments and analogue systems to create multimedia installations all over the beautiful estate, culminating in a nocturnal touch-lit promenade at the end of the week.
The Summer School & Festival is well known for its extraordinary courses, providing a unique and immersive experience for musicians of all levels of learning, talent and skill. It is renowned for offering amateurs, students and young professionals a unique opportunity to play with the world’s leading musicians – and offers the space to established artists to experiment, and explore new collaborations.
Joanna MacGregor, Artistic Director says:
“Dartington is a place of shimmering beauty, and its world-famous Summer School is 70 years young this year – proudly contributing to the creative life of this country. We have a packed programme of celebratory events in 2018 – from photographic exhibitions to illustrated lectures, film archives, music and theatre.
The Summer School & Festival creates a community of all ages and backgrounds, coming together in a fantastic atmosphere of study and friendship, celebration and performance. The opportunity to work with, learn from, see and hear some of our most talented musicians is second to none.“
Booking opens in early December 2017.

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