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What a wonderful summer at Belle Serre!

Posted by Lowri Blake on 10th September 2018
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Another summer full of magic moments at Belle Serre, lots of hard work, two wonderful concerts, new friendships forged and old ones renewed, barrels and barrels of laughter and of course, local wines – all fuelled by Bob and Rob’s amazing meals. A huge thank you to all the cellists, tutors, cooks and helpers who took part in Cellos at Belle Serre this summer and made it a memorable fortnight of music-making!!

 

Two fabulous cello courses with two super groups of cellists here at Belle Serre this summer –

You can see all the other course photos here

 

Here are just a few comments about the courses:

Thank you, Lowri, for organizing all these wonderful courses !!!

 

Thank you for all the wonderful photos … they are great & a lovely reminder of yet another super course at BS !!!

 

Thank you to you and your team for a lovely cello immersion course at Belle Serre. Looking at the photos reminded me of the lovely people and time I spent during the course.

 

Just a few words to warmly thank you for the amazing week spent in your beautiful home. Your hospitality, your pedagogy and the outstanding organization are unique and absolutely unforgettable. Your sense of art and poesy and your extreme sensitivity will remain in my heart.

 

Last week was simply wonderful!
Thank you so much.

 

I came back from Belle Serre so enthused and inspired. I have been practising a lot and am really enjoying it! Thank you for another wonderful course.

 

Thank you for another wonderful week. I do appreciate all the work that you must have to do to get these courses off the ground but you leave no stone unturned and everything is beautifully organised and runs like clockwork. It’s marvellous that you give us such variety in the week – it really is stimulating. It was nice to meet and have the help from Andrew and Florian in addition to the expertise of you and Mark. Your support team are wonderful too, and Bob and Rob produced, seemingly effortlessly, delicious meals every day – it was lovely to enjoy eating them on your terrace in that beautiful, peaceful setting. It was a lovely group this year and we all had such fun. Thank you, Lowri, for everything – it was a glorious week.

 

I have come home reinvigorated and enthusiastic about my cello. Thank you so much for all the hard work that you and your family put into making us feel so welcome and creating such a positive musical environment. I appreciate what a huge undertaking it is to make the courses seem so relaxed and effortless and as a lucky recipient I learn such a lot and really enjoy it!

 

What a wonderful week spent with you all at Belle Serre. Thank you all for making it so special.

 

Just to thank you for a wonderful week again at Belle Serre. Everything was perfect – organization, food, company and of course your inspirational teaching. Thanks to you and to your family for all the hard work making things run smoothly.

 

As always, inspired teaching, wonderful company, amazing food. Can’t wait until next year!

 

Chers amis,
VENEZ NOMBREUX!

Violoncelles à Belle Serre
CONCERTS DE VIOLONCELLES

Mardi 17 juillet 18:00
avec Judith Choi Castro, violon, Willemijn Knödler
et Susan Urbita, violoncelle
Camille Galinier, piano

Vendredi 27 juillet 18:00
avec Mark Lacey, clarinette, Andrew Wilson-Dickson, piano
et Florian Belbeoch, violoncelle

A l’auditorium du Conservatoire de Musique et de Danse
du Tarn, 12 bd Mendès-France, 81100 Castres

Les concerts clôturent les stages intensifs de violoncelle à Belle Serre
dirigés par la soliste internationale Lowri Blake.
Vous entendrez des solos, des trios avec clarinette/violon, violoncelle et piano,
et un ensemble orchestral de violoncelles, interprétés par les stagiaires venus de
toute l’Europe.

Venez participer à cette fête de violoncelles.
Rejoignez-nous à l’issue du concert pour un apéritif.
Entrée gratuite
www.cellosatbelleserre.com

 

 Autumn 2018 Cello Day in Hampstead, North London – bookings are now open!

The Belle Serre summer cello courses are fast approaching and I’m looking forward to two weeks of study and sun with cellists and tutors from many parts of the globe. In addition to the summer weeks, I’ll be holding another cello workshop and master class in the impressive Free Church in Hampstead, North London this autumn. Its beautiful acoustics and warm ambiance make it a perfect place for a day of cello study and cello fun – do come along!

 

Cello Workshop and Master Class Day with cellist, teacher and director of Cellos at Belle Serre, Lowri Blake

Saturday 13th October 2018   9.15-5.30pm

at the Free Church, Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, NW11 7AGPhoto of Lowri Blake

Come and enjoy an intensive and fun day of cello ensemble playing, a Cello Clinic and an afternoon master class with Lowri Blake. The workshop is for cellists of all levels of experience from approx. Grade 6 up to diploma standard.

Fee for the full cello day’s events: £70 for all activities, as
observer of the master class (£50 FT student), or £90 all activities including performing in the master class (£70 FT student). Payable on the day by cheque or cash.

Contact Lowri at lowri.blake@gmail.com to reserve your place for the cello day, giving details of your musical experience and approximate standard. Early booking is advisable. There are four places for master class participants.

 

 

Programme: Saturday 13th October, 9.15am – 5.30pm

09.15 Welcome and registration

09.45 Lowri’s technical warm-up: a very informal group session exploring effective ways to warm up and imaginative ways to practise.

11.00 Coffee break followed by Cello Ensembles: Lowri will direct and play in an ensemble session for all participants. Whatever your level of experience, there will be a part to suit you. We’ll play two or more to a part – safety in numbers! Please let Lowri know your approximate standard. Parts will be sent to you in advance via e mail so that you can practise in advance of the cello day.

13.00 Lunch – please bring a picnic lunch. Tea and coffee will be provided.

14.00 Master class: Lowri will give individual lessons to four cellists and all participants are invited to observe. Lowri’s tip – ‘As a student, I learnt as much, if not more, from watching my fellow cellists’ lessons as from my own. Whether you prefer to perform in the master class or observe, it’s an equally valuable experience.’

Please state in your application if you would like to perform in the master class and what you would like to play (either one piece or a movement from a larger work). Siobhain O’Higgins is our superb pianist for this afternoon class.

16.00 Tea break followed by Polishing and Performance: More cello ensemble time and after some polishing up of our group work, we will round the day off with a short performance for any friends and family who would like to join us. We will finish the cello day at 17.30.

 

Who is coming?

Lowri welcomes students (16 yrs and over) and amateur cellists of all levels of experience from approximately Grade 6 level up to diploma standard.

What to bring:

Your cello and bow, your spike holder, a music stand, your cello ensemble parts, a piano part if you are performing in the afternoon master class, and a picnic lunch. Tea and coffee will be provided.

How to find the Free Church:

The entrance to the church is in North Square, where there is also on-site free parking.  The H2 bus from Golders Green tube station will stop at the Free Church on request.

Contact: lowri.blake@gmail.com or via www.cellosatbelleserre.com

A terrific music week in Tenerife

Posted by Lowri Blake on 23rd February 2018
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What a privilege to be a part of a great team of musicians at the International Chamber Music Festival and Academy of Music in Tenerife last week. Huge thanks to the director, violinist Judith Choi Castro for a superb series of concerts and for her brilliant and unflappable organisation of this very happy and successful festival and competition.

 

We’ll be seeing Judith again later this year when she returns as one of our immensely popular chamber music tutors for the Week 1 course at Cellos at Belle Serre.

 

 

More photos here

of the festival and of my sight-seeing day exploring this beautiful island.

 

There are a couple of places still available for Week 2 (21-28 July) at Belle Serre. The course is open to cellists of approximately ABRSM Grade 8 standard and above, with experience of ensemble playing. Amateurs, students, teachers and performers are all welcome. Cellists this year are coming from Switzerland, Spain, Holland, France, the UK and the USA. Please contact me via this site for more information about the course. 

 

A bientôt!

Garden quartet

The two summer courses at Belle Serre are almost fully booked but there are still a couple of places left for a wonderful week of intensive, hard-working study in a non-competitive and supportive atmosphere. Come on down to South West France for a cello holiday of a lifetime!

The two courses are for intermediate level players and for more experienced cellists: for amateurs, students, teachers and performers – if you’re not sure which course to apply for, do contact me to discuss which week would suit you best.

It’s a truly action-packed week: our daily schedule includes technique sessions, cello ensembles, trio chamber music with two superb professionals, a cello clinic, master classes, individual and group teaching, and of course some time to practise and time to chill out by the pool or simply saunter round the village or the woods. We’ve also got a baroque afternoon scheduled with our hugely popular visiting experts, Lucy Robinson and Andrew Wilson-Dickson, and in Week 2, we also welcome for the first time Ross Harbaugh from the Frost School of Music in Miami as guest cello tutor, working on how to practise and how to perform.

If you’re looking for maximum cello time and tuition expertise, this is the place to be!

 

Pool at night

 

 

Happy New Year from all of us at Cellos at Belle Serre. We wish you a very happy and successful year ahead, full of joyful music-making.

We’re gearing up here for the July 2018 courses and if you’re planning on joining us for one of the summer weeks, please contact me or complete the online booking form as soon as possible – there are just a few places left!

We have a great team of tutors and a jam-packed week of activities for our Week 1 course (11-18 July). This week is for intermediate players with some experience of playing in ensembles and as a guideline, the level for players on this course is from about Grade 7-8 ABRSM standard and above, up to diploma level.

Whatever your level, there are cello ensemble parts to suit the less experienced as well as the highly experienced, and the beauty of playing trio chamber music with two superb professionals (piano and violin) is that you can really enjoy high quality chamber music at any level of experience!

Join me and my team, cellists Willemijn Knödler and Susan Urbita, pianist Camille Galinier and violinist Judith Choi Castro for a week of intensive study in a relaxed setting. We’ll also have our ever-popular Baroque Day when Lucy Robinson and Andrew Wilson-Dickson join us with Lucy’s consort of viols and Andrew guiding us in the art of playing baroque cello sonatas and continuo.

My Week 2 (21-28 July) tutors are pianist and harpsichordist Andrew Wilson-Dickson, clarinettist Mark Lacey, cellist Florian Belbeoch, another wonderful team to coach us through a great selection of cello ensembles and a fabulous range of trio chamber music repertoire, in addition to the daily master classes and technical workouts.

 

I am also delighted to welcome our visiting guest cello professor, Ross Harbaugh who teaches at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in the USA, who is going to be giving a couple of technique and performance classes during our Week 2 course.

The Week 2 course is for cellists who are post Grade 8 ABRSM level and are generally more experienced in ensemble playing. We welcome amateurs, students and professional performers and teachers – again, there is quite a range of experience amongst the players, with ensemble parts to suit each individual cellist; if you’re not sure which course would suit your ability best, do get in touch with me.

Come on down to Castres for a week of cello cool and summer sun!

A bientôt!

 

 

 

 

 

Belle Serre

Come on down to sunny Castres in SW France and enjoy one of our fabulous cello courses at Belle Serre next summer. Bookings will open on this site in mid-November. Watch this space!

The dates are:

Summer Week 1: Wednesday 11 – Wednesday 18 July 2018
             (Week 1 is for intermediate level up to advanced level cellists)
Summer Week 2: Saturday 21 – Saturday 28 July 2018
             (Week 2 is for advanced cellists)
Arrivals from 18.00 on the first day, departures by 10.00 on the last day
Week 1 is for all players from intermediate (approx. Grade 8) to advanced level (diploma up to professional level) who are are experienced in ensemble playing and sight-reading.
Week 2 is for advanced cellists (diploma level up to professional level) who are experienced ensemble players able to tackle the more challenging ensemble repertoire.
Amateurs, students and professional cellists are all welcome.
A varied daily schedule will include individual tuition, duo repertoire with superb resident pianists Camille Galinier and Andrew Wilson-Dickson, group technical workouts and cello ensemble playing with outstanding cello tutors Florian Belbeoch, Susan Urbita and Willemijn Knödler, trio chamber music sessions with guest professional musicians, violinist Judith Choi Castro (Week 1) and clarinettist Mark Lacey (Week 2), baroque continuo and sonata days, the ever-popular Cello Clinics and discussions about all aspects of cello playing. The aim is to study hard in a house party setting, with time to relax too, basking in the sunshine around the pool or taking long shady walks in the surrounding countryside.
Full details of each week and booking forms will be posted on the Cellos at Belle Serre site in mid-November.

 

Photo of Lowri Blake
I have been invited by the Artistic Director, Judith Choi Castro to participate in the International Chamber Music Festival and Academy of Music, Tenerife in February 2018. I will be attending the Augustìn Ponte International Music Competition as a member of the competition jury from 10-13 February, and from February 14-18 I will be giving cello and chamber music tuition and also offering coaching for cellists wishing to play in sessions for cello ensemble.
The festival promises to be a fine opportunity to immerse yourself in listening to, studying and playing music. Whether you are a player or you simply want to come and enjoy the feast of music-making on offer as an observer, it all takes place right on your doorstep in the lovely surroundings of the Aguamarina Golf Hotel. It’s a chance to soak up some winter sun too in a wonderful atmosphere surrounded by musicians and music-making. Everyone is welcome!
The competition is open to pianists and string players up to 32 years old. Last year’s special prize was awarded to cellist Timothée Botbol, who assisted me with teaching at Cellos at Belle Serre in 2016.
There are master classes for a range of instruments taking place throughout the festival. My classes are open to cellists of all levels of experience; whatever your ability, come and enjoy a few days of lessons, coaching and concert-going. If you’re interested in cello ensemble playing, please do contact me via e mail and I will aim to coordinate duos, trios and quartets sessions for you.
In the evenings there are chamber music recitals given by colleagues of violinist and artistic director Judith Choi Castro, (also a regular and highly popular chamber music tutor at Cellos at Belle Serre). There are also informal daytime concerts given by the students taking part in the various master classes.
 
I would be delighted if you were interested in joining me for what promises to be an excellent festival of music-making, study and superb concerts.
You can choose to stay just for a few days or for the whole festival, it’s up to you. Please book your music holiday directly with the festival via their website at
I hope to see you there!

“Yet another incredible week at Belle Serre!”

Just one of the great feedback messages we have had from this summer’s cellists here at Belle Serre. Our 2017 guests came from as far afield as Spain, Canada, France, Switzerland, Ireland, Norway and the UK. Here are some more of their comments: 

” I enjoyed the friendship new and old, the music playing as well as the opportunities to advance my skills as an adult cello student.  I have learned so much in the past week. You teach with kindness and expertise and always find something positive to build upon. It was for me, a great experience. I also loved playing trios with Mark and Camille. They made it so easy for me to participate in a wonderful musical journey. I look forward to returning to Belle Serre soon.”

“A very enjoyable week in great company. Lovely music and setting as always.”

“I was enchanted by everything; the quality of your teaching and of the other musicians working with you, everyone’s kindness, the amazing organisation, the food, the accommodation, the setting, the participants etc….I’ve come home full of motivation to improve my cello playing!”

“Thank you for making this such an unforgettable week.  I appreciated not only your warm welcome and kindness, but also your incredible expertise. You are an inspiration.”

“We were all so lucky to have coaching from you, Camille, Mark and Sue – without exception you were all so kind, encouraging, helpful and instructive and I could not have enjoyed these sessions more.”

“It must involve you in an immense amount of work to put on this course but it was all brilliantly done and everything worked like clockwork. What a team – all of you made this a magical week.”

“Thank you Lowri and co for this marvellous week of music. I had a very very enjoyable week!!”

“Once again it was a marvellous week at Belle Serre. Music, company, food and, last but not least, inspiration; and everything impeccably organized. A huge thankyou to you and your team for all that you do.”

“Thanks so much for a fabulous week at Belle Serre – I felt that I really learned a lot and had such enjoyment playing with everyone.”

“I made huge progress on this course and I feel very motivated to play. My sound has improved a lot and I focus particularly on my posture before playing – and it works!”
Chers amis,
 
VENEZ NOMBREUX!
Violoncelles à Belle Serre
 
CONCERTS DE VIOLONCELLES
 
Mardi 11 juillet 18.00
avec Mark Lacey, clarinette, Camille Galinier, piano
et Susan Urbita, violoncelle
Samedi 22 juillet 18.00
avec Judith Choi Castro, violon, Andrew Wilson-Dickson, piano 
et Florian Belbeoch, violoncelle
 
A l’auditorium du Conservatoire de Musique et de Danse du Tarn, 12 bd Mendès-France, 81100 Castres
 
Les concerts clôturent les stages intensifs de violoncelle à Belle Serre
dirigés par la soliste internationale Lowri Blake.
 
Vous entendrez des solos, des trios avec clarinette/violon, violoncelle et piano, 
et un ensemble orchestral de violoncelles interprétés par les stagiaires venus de toute l’Europe et d’Amérique du Nord.
Venez tous participer à cette fête de violoncelles.
 
Rejoignez-nous à l’issue du concert pour un apéritif.
 
Entrée gratuite