Develop your ensemble playing skills on this extended weekend course for musicians. Drawing on European folk/contemporary/popular music traditions we’ll be making new arrangements that can go in any direction! We aim to explore and combine all sorts of influences and ideas to make spine tingling music that is more than the sum of the parts.
The course is fairly intensive and includes all day ensemble workshop sessions. We will aim to perform all the pieces we create together at a public concert on the Sunday night.
“It completely revived my creative juices – just what I needed.” 2019 Participant
This years edition will be special as we will have four tutors.
The course was started by musician/composer/arranger Paul James (Blowzabella). He now has handed over the leadership to Merit Zloch, harpist, composer and music tutor from Berlin, Germany. We are delighted to also announce that Mikael Marin (Väsen) from Sweden and Matthias Branschke will also return to tutor in 2024 alongside German Diaz, inventive hurdy-gurdy player, singer and composer from Spain.
As you can see you will be in safe hands with a very experienced tutor team, playing in a mutually supportive atmosphere. We’ll have a lot of fun too with time for relaxation and informal music making.
A detailed programme will be sent out in advance.
The participants will be divided into two ensemble groups and each group will work with all 3 tutors throughout the course. There will be at least one piece of music that involves everyone playing together as one ensemble.
Friday: Arrive by 12:30pm in time for lunch at 1pm. Introductions, what’s happening, questions. Ensemble workshops 2:30 – 5:30pm and 8 – 9:30pm. Informal music making in the bar.
Saturday: Breakfast 8:30am. Ensemble workshops 10am – 5:30pm. Lunch 1pm.
Dinner 6:30pm. Evening trip to the Carew arms pub in Crowcombe for a few tunes (1,5 miles from the manor) or free time to relax.
Sunday: Breakfast 8:30am. Ensemble workshops 10am – 5pm. Lunch 1pm.
Dinner 6pm. CONCERT 8pm (course leaders and ensemble groups) followed by informal music making in the bar.
Monday: Breakfast 8:30am. Workshops 10am – 12:30. Lunch 1pm. Finish.
“The time was used really well. Productive, fun, achieved something, but with time to relax and get to know people!” 2019 Participant
Who is it for?
This is an advanced level course suitable for advanced and advanced-intermediate musicians of ages 18 years and above, any instrument (acoustic, electric, ancient, modern) from any musical background (folk, jazz, rock, classical, early music).
The focus is on learning by ear in the traditional way but it can also be helpful to be able to read sheet music.
To get the most from this course you don’t need to be the greatest musician. You do need to be able to play confidently and be positive, flexible minded and a team player prepared to try things outside your comfort zone.
“I’ve been to all three European Weekends, and each one just gets better!” 2019 Participant
If you play more than one instrument we advise you to bring it/them as this will help you to get the most from the course in terms of playing easily in different keys/modes, and also to be able to contribute in a way that is sympathetic to the style of the piece (panpipes don’t sound great on everything…). Please let us know your needs on the Participant Info Form – which must be completed once you have booked your place and paid a deposit.
“I’ve gained a bit more courage to be creative”. 2019 Participant
If you have any queries about the course, get in contact with course leader Merit Zloch
Any queries about food, accommodation and how to get there, follow the Your Visit link above or phone 01984 618274 ext 1.
When you have booked and paid a deposit please tell us a bit about yourself and your musical needs (for example, music needed for transposing instruments) on the Participant Info Form.
“I particularly enjoyed playing with lots of talented musicians, inspired by three great tutors with different approaches. Met old friends, and made new ones”. 2019 Participant
German Diaz is one of the most influential musicians for the revival of the hurdy gurdy in Spain and for it´s place in contemporary music. He feels at home in different genres. German has been playing traditional music, jazz and classical music and his original music has been part of stage plays and films.
It is impossible to stick a label on his compositions. He likes to experiment with sounds and ideas and even plays together with old recordings of heartbeats and with music boxes!
German does also sing and plays percussions and guitar.
Mikael Marin: 5-string viola, electric viola, violoncello da spalla. As a member of Swedish supergroup, Väsen, Mikael has been a touring musician for more than 30 years. With 13 studio albums and countless compositions to his name, Mikael’s music has found popularity all over the world. He has taught at Stockholm’s Royal Academy of Music since 1994, training generations of folk musicians. Over the years, Mikael has collaborated with artists including Lena Willemark, Mats Edén, Ale Möller, Ånon Egeland, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Chris Thile, Kronos Quartet, Annbjørg Lien, Bruce Molsky, Dervish, Musica Vitae, Trondheim solisterne and Norbotten Big Band, to name a few.
His many awards include: 1983 Zorn Silver Badge, 1998 Grammis (Swedish Grammy), 2013 World Music Torchbearer Award, 2015 Group of the Year, Folk and World Music Gala, 2019 Stockholm Royal Academy of Music, Folk Music Award.
Merit Zloch and Matthias Branschke are both researching historical dance manuscripts and organising musicians meetings, bals and instrumental workshop weekends. They both play in a band together (solid ghost) and teach in a team frequently.
Matthias Branschke is one of the best known pipers in Germany. He is a passionate player and arranger of traditional tunes as well as a composer of catchy new melodies. His play is delicate, expressive, groovy and full of joy.
His specialities in playing and teaching are dance grooves, rhythm and musical tightness.
Merit Zloch (www.meritzloch.net) is a harpist, composer and music teacher. She sees herself in the tradition of the itinerant harp players of the 19th and early 20th century, travelling with her harp throughout Europe charming people with her original compositions and arrangements of historical dance music.
She has played in bands almost as long as she has played the harp and is constantly fascinated by the interplay between musicians. She likes to arrange und develop pieces together with her band colleagues and to improvise.
For our other European friends
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