Lacock was honoured to lead the quatercentenary tributes to Spain’s greatest composer Tomás Luis de Victoria in his native city of Ávila in August 2011. El Festival de Música Abulense, a Lacock initiative in cooperation with Caja de Ávila, brought together sixty-six singers from fifteen countries to perform Victoria’s monumental Mass Laetatus Sum in Ávila cathedral on the exact anniversary of his death. The singers were joined by the four sackbuts of Il Nuovo Chiaroscuro and the conductor was Carlos Aransay.

LACOCK
courses for choral and consort singers

Lacock music courses are for amateur and student musicians who are serious about their ensemble singing. They are held in interesting places often connected with the chosen repertoire, which is naturally centred on early music – the Renaissance being the great age of unaccompanied choral music. The tutors are leading specialists in their field and many are internationally-known performers. The general aim is to stimulate international contact and broaden enthusiasm for music, in a relaxed and convivial setting.

Lacock courses have been held in most countries in western Europe, and as far afield as Cyprus, Mexico, Cuba and Tobago. The list of courses until June 2018 is now on the Lacock Calendar. These include the Ambleside Winter School with Will Carslake between Christmas and New Year, a return to the Caribbean island of Tobago with Justin Doyle at the end of January, the Gargonza Music Week with Patrick Craig in a fortified hilltop village in Tuscany in April, Singing in Venice with Carlos Aransay in May, the Monteconero Music Week with Gabriel Crouch in June followed by a course for invited singers, the Monteconero Music Party, with Erik Van Nevel, and the Ludlow Summer School with Justin Doyle, David Hatcher and Greg Skidmore in August.

The criteria for joining vary slightly from course to course, but in general you should be a good reader, have a blending, straight voice (or one with a controllable vibrato) with full dynamic range, be used to normal choral discipline and be able to respond quickly to direction – the intention being to combine professional pace of work with amateur enthusiasm. A scholarship scheme awards free places to current, recent or prospective university choral scholars and other young people with a similar interest in ensemble singing. The London-based Lacock Scholars is a 12-part ensemble formed largely from past holders of these scholarships. They have their own programme of concerts and a web site at www.lacockscholars.org.

The first Lacock course, held in 1986, was directed by Harry Christophers. Since then, many eminent musicians have made regular appearances as directors, including Andrew Carwood, Robert Hollingworth, Andrew Parrott, Jeffrey Skidmore and Paul Spicer. Lacock courses have also introduced several overseas conductors to English musical life, among them the Fleming Erik Van Nevel, director of the ensemble Currende, the Spaniard Carlos Aransay, an authority on Hispanic and Latin-American music, Graham Bier, Director of Music at Bryn Athyn Cathedral in Pennsylvania, and the Dutchman JanJoost van Elburg, who subsequently became the director of London’s specialist early music choir, the Renaisssance Singers. You will find more information on these directors and many other musicians associated with Lacock courses in the list of Lacock People in the panel on the left.

  Lacock courses are run by Andrew van der Beek from Cantax House, Lacock, Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK, SN15 2JZ. Email us if you would like to receive email alerts of new courses as they are announced.