Baroque Week.  Patron: Trevor Pinnock CBE   Artistic Director: Theresa Caudle

Is Baroque Week for you?

For players, the course is principally for those with baroque instruments at A415. However, we are also very happy to accept string players on modern instruments tuned down to A415 and using gut strings. If you do not own a baroque bow we may be able to loan you one for the course. Wind players will need at least one instrument at A415. Plucked continuo instruments as well as keyboard players are very welcome. Keyboard players will have opportunities to play from either figured bass or realisations. Many participants play more than one instrument and the format of the course gives plenty of opportunity for this.

Playing and singing is mostly one-to-a-part and you should be a competent sight-reader and able to hold a part confidently in a small ensemble.  A reasonably high level of musical ability and technical competence is needed in order to benefit from detailed coaching in stylistic matters even when sight-reading.  The emphasis of the course is on Chamber Music, usually exploring different repertoire in almost every session.  If you are new to Baroque Week please give us details on the application form of your standard of playing and/or singing and sight-reading, and your experience of Baroque music.  We ask new singers to provide a short recording when they apply.

For singers, the course offers a rare opportunity to sing solo music with instruments as well as working in a small consort of voices and we recommend that you prepare and bring arias, cantatas or motets that you would like to work on with small groups of instrumentalists. In the weeks before the course we will send details of some of the music programmed and will allocate some solo parts to appropriate singers. We can only accept a maximum of ten specialist singers, but instrumentalists who also want to do some solo or one-to-a-part singing in tutor-led sessions should also use the Singers' application form. (Everyone is encouraged to take part in the Choir each evening after dinner.)

To achieve a balanced distribution of suitable voices we will not confirm places for specialist singers until February.  However please still apply as soon as possible for the chance of an en-suite bedroom and to help us to plan repertoire and groupings. More details of the selection criteria can be found on the singers’ application form.  We will of course refund your deposit in full if we are unable to accept your application.

“Excellent teaching and friendly, helpful tutors”

“Tutors manage to achieve such wonderful results in such a short time”

Dates and times

Registration will be from 2.30pm on Sunday 11th August 2024, with tea/coffee and cake available in the common room from 3.30–5.30pm. There will be an explanatory meeting for newcomers (or those who haven’t been for a few years) at 4.30pm, including a tour of the campus, and then an initial course meeting for all before dinner, which is followed by an organised playing and singing session. The course finishes with lunch on Sunday 18th August.   Please see the venue page for more information about the school.

Queen Anne’s School, Caversham, Berkshire

11th-18th August 2024

Residential Baroque Music Summer School

What to expect at Baroque Week

Whether you are an amateur, student, semi-professional or an emerging young professional musician this course offers an wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in baroque music for a week with guidance from knowledgeable, inspiring and encouraging tutors, all leading specialists in the performance of baroque music on period instruments. There may be full or part bursaries available to those who could not otherwise afford to attend — please see the Bursaries page.

The emphasis is on chamber music, usually exploring different repertoire in almost every session.  Thanks to the extensive Baroque Week library of around 3000 works there is always something interesting to play, whatever the line-up of your ensemble. On the first full day chamber music sessions are prearranged; for the remainder of the week participants organise most of their own groups and choose the music, although we will arrange groupings and suggest repertoire if you find empty places in your playing diary. You will have the chance to take part in many different ensembles during the week as you are likely to be playing with a different group in every session.

In recent years we have had participants from all over Europe, USA, Israel, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. We make every effort to ensure that newcomers feel welcome, and have a “buddy” system where a long-standing course participant will help to explain how the course works and help to make sure that you are fully involved, particularly in the chamber music sessions.

“It must be the friendliest course in the country”

A typical day at Baroque Week


Session 1 — Tutor-led instrumental and vocal projects, including a workshop-style session on Tuesday morning


Session 2 — Instrumental chamber music; singers work in small consorts with continuo and possibly other instruments, or in a masterclass format


Session 3 — Free time, untutored chamber music, or a special event


Session 4 — Chamber music for singers and instrumentalists; followed by:

Pre-dinner informal performance of some of the day’s music


After dinner, there is an all-comers choir, accompanied by a small orchestra  

(On Wednesday, the tutors give a concert)

Session 1

In the first main session, we offer tutor-led projects related to the year’s theme. Singers will normally be in a chamber choir together with some instrumentalists; most players will be involved in orchestral or smaller instrumental projects. On three days we will work on the same group of projects, leading to their inclusion in the informal concert on Saturday evening. In this session on “Technical Tuesday” we will divide into separate groups in more workshop-style sessions for upper strings, cellos, viols, harpsichords, theorbos and lutes, flutes, recorders, oboes and bassoons, and singers, concentrating on aspects of baroque style, performance practice and techniques.  


This amazing, long-standing course was started by Walter Bergmann, who was a seminal figure in the early music movement as a recorder player and enlightened editor of baroque music. Peter Collier took over directorship of the course and ran it single-handedly for over thirty years; happily he continues to come with his instruments, library and wealth of knowledge. In the spirit of Walter Bergmann we continue to explore lesser-known repertoire alongside the more familiar — there is still so much to discover.  The course has been held at Queen Anne’s School, Caversham since 2016.

We are delighted that Trevor Pinnock agreed to become our Patron in 2016 and are honoured that he is giving his support to Baroque Week.

Baroque Week was constituted as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in 2014 with Registered Charity number 1161774. Its official objects are:

1) The promotion and performance of baroque chamber music for the public benefit; and

2) To promote education in baroque music for the public benefit.

Membership of the charity is open to anyone who is interested in furthering its purposes and agrees to act in good faith to further these purposes.

Joining or renewing membership of the Baroque Week charity

The minimum donation for membership is £1. The suggested amount is £25. Subscriptions expire on 30th September; those who join/renew on or after 1st August are members until September the following year. Click here to download a form to join or renew.

Constitution of the Baroque Week

To see the constitution, please click here.

Session 2

In this session we largely separate the singers and instrumentalists so that the singers have a chance to work in small consorts (one to a part) with basso continuo and possibly a few other instrumentalists. On two days singers will study solos in a masterclass format. This gives the chance for most players to concentrate on instrumental chamber music of their own choice.

After dinner

After dinner all are invited to take part in the choir or accompanying orchestra, which this year will feature Coronation Anthems: Handel’s Let thy hand be strengthened, and Purcell’s I was glad.  These will be performed in Saturday’s final concert, together with a selection of the pieces studied in Session 1.

On Wednesday evening there will be a concert given by the tutors which will centre around this year’s theme.

“The tutors’ concert was a highlight”


Each playing room has one or more harpsichords, spinets or chamber organs. We are grateful to those who bring their own harpsichord or spinet and tune it daily, who get a £50 discount. The remainder belong to the tutors, or have been hired.

Session 4

In the fourth session, after tea, singers and players are encouraged to make up groups together to explore vocal and instrumental repertoire of their own choice.

Informal concerts

On Monday to Friday evenings there is an informal concert before dinner, where participants can perform some of the music they have particularly enjoyed during that day’s sessions.

Session 3 (Free time)

After lunch you are free to do what you like, whether it be more chamber music (untutored), swimming in the school pool, resting or exploring places of interest nearby.   On two days there will be special events offered; on Thursday Kath Waters will return to give a session on Dance at the courts of Queen Anne and George I, and on Saturday Clare Beesley will give a 30-minute talk on Johnson and Boswell’s musical tour around Scotland.

“I got hooked the very first time round…”