PIANO WEEK at Rugby School

If you are a regular visitor to piano summer schools but haven’t yet discovered PIANO WEEK, it might be time to explore this rapidly expanding piano course and festival. With seven international residencies during 2017, you will certainly be spoilt for choice.

Established by pianist Samantha Ward, this impressive touring piano festival and summer school moves around the world. Samantha (you can watch a video with much more information about PIANO WEEK here), and her pianist husband Maciej Raginia, has designed a bespoke musical performance experience for pianists of all ages and abilities. Here, you can expect to find a five-year old beginner alongside an adult amateur, a professional concert pianist or a world-renowned artist all engaged in music making together – on stage, in public master classes, playing duets or composing.

The concept of a piano festival and summer course without boundaries, whether that be age, ability or location, has generated unique concert platforms, whilst engaging new audiences, as well as offering a confidence boost to all participating pianists.

A tempting choice of venue and country (or continent!) is on offer; Sankt Goar in Germany, Foligno in Italy, Beijing in China or any of three residencies in the UK. These include two at Moreton Hall School and one at Rugby School. The latter, which is UK’s newest addition to the festival, is being held between the 13th and 20th August 2017.

PIANO WEEK at Rugby coincides with the 450th anniversary of the school’s foundation. Based at the well equipped music school, with concerts held in the Memorial Chapel and the Temple Speech Room, this week-long residency offers participants an opportunity to study with distinguished concert pianists in a stimulating environment.

Samantha (Artistic Director) heads the piano team, and will work alongside Maciej (Creative Director), Alexander Karpeyev and Mark Nixon. Apart from daily recitals given by all the faculty members, the closing concert will feature a two piano recital; internationally celebrated pianist Stephen Kovacevich will perform works by Debussy and Rachmaninoff with Samantha, as well as Schubert’s final Sonata D960. It’s Stephen Kovacevich’s third consecutive year performing at the festival, which is a tribute to its cultural wealth and success.

The content of this intensive piano course consists of a long list of individual one-to-one lessons, master classes, duet lessons, listening and harmony, memorisation, composition, theory and sight-reading sessions to name but a few. All this is delivered on excellent instruments with copious practice facilities. For those keen on physical activities, there is a gym, two sports halls, tennis, hockey, netball, squash or badminton (all subject to availability), provided free of charge throughout the duration of the festival. Participants can also benefit from using the 25-meter swimming pool for a small fee.

Whether you live near the school campus or come from further afield, both non-residential and fully catered residential options are available for participants at PIANO WEEK | Rugby. You can apply for your place or buy tickets for all the concerts online. Click here for more information and here to buy tickets.

PIANO WEEK goes to Frankfurt

PrintA profusion of piano courses and festivals can be found in the UK (and many abroad too), therefore enticing young (and older) pianists to part with their money and time to attend such ventures is an increasingly demanding task.

British pianist Samantha Ward has risen to this ambitious challenge with aplomb. She began her piano course, PIANO WEEK, in North Wales in 2013, and since inception, it has swiftly grown. Now an international piano festival and summer school, it is en route to become one of considerable note in the UK, Europe and in Asia.

This year the festival’s profile has evolved into a touring enterprise with international residencies in China, Italy, Germany and two here in the UK. Moreton Hall and Rugby School are both featured in the UK’s roster of events, which boast state-of-the-art facilities. Each PIANO WEEK residency  proffers a different character; from the intimate setting of a 1892 villa on the bank of the picturesque Rhine river in Germany to a  perfect four-day retreat in Umbria. If a rather more urban setting suits your taste, the bustling city of Beijing hosts what will no doubt be a glittering Asian extravaganza.

piano-week-1Places at  PIANO WEEK’s first residency this year in Frankfurt (in Sankt Goar at a beautiful villa (see photo to the left and below), part of the Upper Middle Rhine UNESCO World Heritage Site), are limited, and the deadline for application is the 20th January 2017. The course runs from the 16th – 19th February 2017, and the faculty consists of pianists and pedagogues Samantha Ward (artistic director and founder), Maciej Raginia (Creative Director), and Niel Du Preez.

For those lucky enough to attend, sessions will run throughout the day, including three one-to-one lessons, two opportunities for solo performance, as well as part of a duo, and also a chance to perform your own composition. The week will therefore include a duet lesson, two composition classes, two master classes, a sight reading class, plus a complimentary duet book, allocated practice time (which will be subject to availability) and access to all faculty recitals and master classes.piano-week-2

Concerts will be held in the evenings for both participants and faculty, followed by dinner. There will also be ample opportunity for sight-seeing, with breathtaking scenery, lovely restaurants, and a chance to enjoy the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the famous Lorelei Statue (all very close to the venue).

You can find out much more about the course and book your place by contacting Samantha by either e mail or mobile phone: pianoweek@yahoo.com or 07775 207066












Piano Week 2014

Samantha Ward (photo: Liz Gregg)

Highlighting piano festivals and summer schools is always a pleasure. Piano Week was launched last year by pianist Samantha Ward. It’s an international festival and summer school for pianists of all ages and abilities which takes place in the beautiful surroundings of North Wales.  Piano Week 2014 is once again being held at Bangor University between 10th and 15th August and it has an international faculty which will give recitals and master classes throughout the week.

Samantha wanted to build a performance platform for pianists from around the world and she chose North Wales partly because it’s where she grew up, and also she wasn’t aware of any venture such as Piano Week taking place in the area previously.  The location is idyllic and in 2013, the festival welcomed participants from all over the UK as well as from America.  The ethos of Piano Week is that it’s open to everyone. All festival participants benefit from one-to-one piano lessons, duet lessons, a master class with a member of the faculty, talks and discussions, classes in listening, theory and composition for children and comparative listening and analysis for adults, a performance in the Schott Music showcase, a demonstration on the ‘inner workings’ of the piano, performance opportunities both as a soloist and in part of a duet and recitals and a cabaret performance given by the faculty.

The Piano Week 2014 faculty hail from all around the globe and are all highly acclaimed concert pianists as well as excellent pedagogues; David Fung (Guest Artist, Australia), Maciej Raginia (Poland), Niel du Preez (South Africa), Sachika Taniyama (Japan), Vesselina Tchakarova (Bulgaria), Alexander Karpeyev (Russia) and piano technician David Daniels (UK).

Piano Week 2014 is being supported by Bluthner who are lending a brand new concert grand piano for the duration of the festival this year.  Pianist magazine included an article about the festival in their recent issue and Schott Music publishers will once again be presenting a showcase at Piano Week 2014.  An interesting and educational week for piano enthusiasts everywhere, if you fancy taking part or just want to find out more information, click here.


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Photos from the 2013 Piano Week