The International Chamber Music Summer School (ICMSS)


ICMSS was launched in Tonbridge in 2009 to great acclaim. Its aim is to provide an opportunity to play a wide range of chamber music with a unique combination of tutored and informal playing. It was created by popular demand, based on the highly successful format of a course run at Keele University over a number of decades but no longer available.

This format provides for a number of tutored sessions throughout the week so that participants can study between four and six pieces in depth under experienced coaches. In addition, free time, rooms and music are provided to enable participants to gather in informal groups to discover popular and lesser known items in the repertoire. As the course is open to wind, horn, string and piano players, the repertoire is extensive.

ICMSS is now held at Uppingham School in the Midlands, providing easy access as well as a perfect environment for the Summer School, with all facilities within easy walking distance of each other. The Summer School is run on a self-funding, non profit-making basis.

The Summer School is designed for performing musicians of a reasonably high standard: amateur players whose standard allows them to perform publicly, students and young professional performers and teachers wanting chamber music experience. The minimum age is 18.

Applications are invited from individual players of violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, horn and piano. Due to the need to achieve a reasonable balance of instruments and skills, we regret that we may not be able to accept all applications. If not immediately accepted, you will have the option of having your name placed on a waiting list.

All participants are guaranteed to work on between four and six pieces, in ensembles ranging from trios to larger scale chamber works, and to be coached for about four hours on each work. The list of works for study is sent out as early as possible, usually at the beginning of June, to enable participants to get to know their pieces. Prior preparation of scheduled repertoire is vital. Some sight-reading will be inevitable, particularly if participants wish to maximise the opportunities available for informal playing.

Our tutors are all experienced professional chamber music players and coaches, and we always ensure a high ratio of tutors to participants. The tutors also perform two free concerts during the week.

Accommodation is in single study bedrooms, a short walk away from the playing rooms. All meals are served in the accommodation blocks. Every room has a washbasin, but the toilet and shower facilities are shared. There is a limited number of en-suite rooms available for an additional fee. We regret that it is not possible to offer any reduction in fees if not all of the facilities are used.