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Early Music (Adults)

22nd - 28th July 2018
Directed by Philip Thorby
Tutor: David Hatcher
Assistant Tutor: Adam Staines
Guest Tutor: Richard Thomas
Please note this course is now fully subscribed; any
new applications will be placed on a waiting list.

Location: Wotton House, Horton Road, Gloucester. GL1 3PT
Residential - camping - B&B
Fee: £450
(Download Application Form)
(Download Printable Course Information)


From cherubim to seraphim, from Gabriel to Lucifer, from the annunciation to the two young men dressed in white who greeted the Magdalene in the empty tomb, angels permeate Christian sacred texts and the music and art which these texts inspired.   We will explore words sung by angels or about angels, by composers such as Francisco Guerrero, the Gabrielis, Orazio Benevoli and Heinrich Schütz.   Instrumentalists will enjoy a positively celestial diet of sonatas and canzonas, and there will also be an occasional appearance from that secular cherub - Cupid himself.

Philip Thorby

The Beauchamp Early Music Course has been running for over 30 years, over half of which have been under the charismatic direction of Philip Thorby.   For the last few years Philip has been ably assisted by David Hatcher and we are pleased to welcome Adam Staines as a third tutor.   We are pleased to have Richard Thomas joining us for a couple of days as a guest specialist tutor.

In 2018 we are very pleased to be returning to Wotton House - a very private oasis in the city of Gloucester.   Wotton House is the home of the recently launched Gloucestershire International School (   It is an historic Grade 2 listed stately home, built in the early 1700s, retaining many original features.   It has the huge benefit of a residential block with many single (and a few twin) bedrooms.

Early Music Week Each full day there are 4 tutor-led sessions (2 in the morning, one late afternoon, one after dinner); for these the tutors will put up a list daily naming the instrumentalists for each piece to be played.   There is ample opportunity in the early afternoon and late evening ‘free time’ for musicians to arrange groups amongst themselves to play any instruments they may not be listed to play.   These optional, informal sessions tend to gravitate to a slightly later repertoire.

A level of competence is required from participants.   Voices don't have to be beautiful, but singers need to have some sight-reading fluency and to be in control of their voices; players need to comfortably hold their part and be able to hit the right notes on suitable instruments at the right time!   Early Music Week Appropriate instruments for most of the repertoire are cornetts, sackbuts, curtails, recorders, baroque strings, viols, continuo instruments.   Pitch is A440.   As always we try to remain as close as possible to the composer’s orchestration, so not all instruments may be involved at all times.   If you have more than one instrument, or are happy to join the choir for a session or two, you will be kept very busy: if you come as a dedicated sopranino shawm player, less so!   (If in doubt, please feel free to enquire.)  

Early Music Week
Though many who attend are regulars - and some have been coming on the course since its inception! - new participants are always most welcome.   Our excellent and friendly catering staff provides all meals - breakfast, coffee, a substantial lunch buffet, afternoon tea and 3-course dinner and cater for all dietary requirements.

Many course participants camp/caravan in the grounds and there are good shower and toilet facilities.   In this new venue we are pleased to be able to offer a good number of single bedrooms (not en suite) and a few twin bedrooms on a first-come-first-served basis at £170 for single occupancy, £100 shared.   Please email for more information and availability.  

Daily programme:

8.15 a.m. Breakfast
9.15 - 11.00 a.m. Session 1
11.00 a.m. Coffee break
11.15 a.m. - 12.45 p.m. Session 2
1.00 p.m. Lunch
4.00 p.m. Tea
4.30 - 6.00 p.m. Session 3
6.30 p.m. Dinner
7.30 - 9.30 p.m. Session 4

To download the course leaflet please click here:   for a Booking Form, please click here.   For further information or queries please contact Anne Summers by email at or phone 01989 218432 / 01452 668592.


Philip Thorby is well known as a performer, teacher and conductor of Renaissance and Baroque music.   As a performer he has played recorder, viol and early wind instruments with many of London’s early music ensembles, as well as in premieres of works by composers such as John Tavener, Imogen Holst, David Bedford and Paul McCartney.   He founded and directed the Renaissance ensemble Musica Antiqua of London, which made seven highly acclaimed CDs of sixteenth century music, broadcasts for the BBC and performed concerts in Britain and abroad.   He now plays regularly with Philomel, an ensemble formed by some of his former students, and his new ensemble The Intrepid Academy, as well as continuing as a freelance soloist.   As a teacher, he had a long career directing early music at Trinity College of Music (now TrinityLaban Conservatoire of Music and Dance) in London, of which he is now Emeritus Fellow.   He was recently invited to direct Cambridge choral scholars and professional instrumentalists in a project on Cavalieri’s opera "Il Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo", culminating in staged performances in Trinity College Chapel.   His energetic, passionate and scholarly direction is also much sought-after on playing days and weekends, as well as on courses such as the Easter Early Music Week in Ascot, Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools (where he directs the Renaissance course and co-directs the Baroque one), the Irish Recorder and Viol Course, and in Venice, where he directs two courses a year, with final concerts in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, where both Gabrieli and Monteverdi directed their own music!

David Hatcher was born in Warwick and upon attaining the LTCL diploma two years after taking up music, he went on to study viola da gamba with Charles Medlam and recorder with Philip Thorby at Trinity College of Music, London.   He began his career based in England, touring to America, Israel, France, Germany and the Netherlands.   He has broadcast for both the BBC and independent radio and television. In 1987 he moved to Japan where he was to remain for the next nine years, taking an active part in that country’s flourishing early music scene.   He has recorded with Evelyn Tubb, The Consort of Musicke, I Fagiolini, Sprezzatura, and the Japanese ensembles Chelys, Ensemble Ecclesia and the Bach Collegium of Japan.   David now lives in Leominster on the Welsh Marches and has appeared with Fretwork, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, The Globe Theatre, The Consort of Musicke, Muisca Antiqua of London, The Corelli Orchestra, The Harp Consort, Glyndebourne Opera and many other period orchestras and ensembles.   He regularly teaches on summer schools such as the Cambridge Early Music Summer School, the Easter Early Music Course at Ascot and Sastamala Gregoriana in Finland, and is in demand as a tutor for many weekend and day courses.   Recent projects include performing in Damon Albarn's opera "Dr Dee" and performing and recording with I Fagiolini in their hugely succesful interpretation of Striggio's 40-voice mass.   He performed in the inaugural season of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in 2014 and in the highly acclaimed production of The Knight of the Burning Pestle in 2014 & 2015.   He is a founder member of Philomel and The Intrepid Academy, which, under the direction of Philip Thorby, explores the rich heritage of early 16th century Venetian music.

Adam Staines.  Adam was born in Bury St Edmunds; he later held a Choral Scholarship at St Edmundsbury Cathedral and also began to learn the organ under David Humphreys.   He graduated from the University of Leeds with an honours degree in Music, and the University of Buckingham with a Postgraduate Certificate of Education.   Whilst at Leeds, he specialised in Performance and Analysis with a keen interest in Early Music.   He also conducted the University Chamber Orchestra in his final year, and directed a vocal consort to win the University Chamber Music Competition.   In addition to this he held a Choral Scholarship at Leeds Cathedral, where he was invited to conduct the Boys’ Choir on occasion; he has also deputised for Leeds Minster and Leeds College of Music.   Adam has sung on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, as a soloist for the Headingley Academy of Operatic Research, and for HRH The Prince of Wales.   Adam conducted a small choir alongside Bob Chilcott and Jonathan Willcocks at Salisbury Cathedral in a memorial service for David Willcocks in 2016.   In addition to this, Adam has sung at many places of prestigious choral heritage including St Paul’s Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, Eton, Eddington Priory and Salisbury Cathedral.   Adam is also a very keen composer and specialises in choral composition; he has recently written a piece for Huw Williams (Directory of Music, Bath Abbey) and the Choir of Bath Abbey.   Adam is the Choirmaster and Director of Chapel Music at Marlborough College where he is responsible for conducting the four choirs within the college and a 250-voice-strong Choral Society, as well as occasionally playing organ for chapel and teaching academic music.   Before this he taught at St Mary’s School, Calne, where he was responsible for teaching academic music to seven different year groups, directing two vocal ensembles and the school Big Band, coaching hockey, and occasionally playing organ for chapel.

Richard Thomas.  Richard studied at the University of Wales, the Royal Academy of Music and the Schola Cantorum, Switzerland.   As part of his Master of Arts degree, Richard undertook research into the William Shaw Silver State Trumpets housed in the Jewel House, at the Tower of London.   Richard’s interest in the performance practice of historical brass instruments (including the natural trumpet, keyed bugle, saxhorn, slide trumpet and cornett) has enabled him to work with The Wallace Collection, English Baroque Soloists, Australian Chamber Orchestra, The King’s Consort, Florilegium, Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Dufay Collective, Ex Cathedra, New London Consort, Gabrieli Consort, Opera North, English Touring Opera, Norwegian Opera, Early Opera Company, Alamire, London Pro Arte Baroque, Counterpoint, Meridian Sinfonia and the Musiciens de Louvre - Grenoble.   As well as being a regular performer at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London Richard can be heard on the film sound tracks for Shrek III, The Golden Age and Bedtime Stories.   Richard is a founder member and director of the acclaimed sackbut and cornett ensemble QuintEssential as well as a founder member of waits band The City Musick and the 19th century brass group The Prince Regents Band.   He teaches natural trumpet and cornetto at the Royal College of Music, London, the Birmingham Conservatoire and University of Birmingham.

Early Music Week

Feedback from previous courses:

National Early Music Association

Here is a link to the National Early Music Association which you may find useful.

Also, one for the North West Early Music Forum, and one for the Welsh Early Music Information site.

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