On Saturday 27th June I travelled down to Dartington. After a wonderful journey with my Grandparents and my cousins (please note the sarcasm) I entered into a world that was entirely surreal.
The grounds of Dartington are enormous, and it took me quite a while to find out where I was going. I must have got lost at least five times!
The first person I met was a recorder player named Caroline, who I got along with very well! As the week progressed I gradually met more and more people, both young and old. I was incredibly shocked at the number of people at Dartington, especially the number of students and the number of older people; there were no middle aged people attending the school.
Some of the people were composers, but the majority were early instrumentalists and singers, as the first week of Dartington is traditionally dedicated to Early Music.
Other people who I got to know well, or at least as well as one can within a week, were Claudio, Chloë, Louis, Mark and Ray, who were all wonderful people! I also met a lot, and I mean a lot of people with the name John…
I was enrolled on two courses, choir and Song, but I also attended an Emma Kirkby masterclass, which was really informative. It is a shame to say that the main course I was there for (song) was unstructured and poorly run. I didn’t learn a thing. In the choir I sang part of the bass section of Rosenmüller’s Vespers; Rosenmüller is a composer who was completely unknown to me, WITH GOOD REASON! Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance, even though the music was pretty bad.
I composed my piece on Wednesday, and was fairly pleased with it. I had a tutorial with Dominic the next morning, and I thought that he too was pleased with it. That was until it was workshopped. He decided to criticise the piece and verbally rip me apart, and this is something he did in front of the entire group. I was so shocked , after all he said nothing in the tutorial. Every member of the class was also surprised at how cutting he was, some even told him after the class how harsh he was, so he later came and found me to see if I was OK. I was OK, but as with all people I come to not like, I was highly defiant to his suggestions and thoughts.
The person I received the most help off was James Weeks, a very successful composer and conductor. I learnt an awful lot in a very short space of time off him.
I attended many concerts, and most of them were early music: Emma Kirkby, Ensemble Meridiana, The City Musick, Fretwork, Exaudi and a contemporary music concert. After the contemporary music concert Mr Woolrich invited Chloë, Claudio and I back to his VIP lounge for drinks and snacks! Chloë and I attended, but Claudio did not feel that he could attend for fear of being an underaged drinker!
The food at Dartington was a disaster, sometimes I didn’t even eat because there were just so few, or awful options. Even the waiters and those serving food made the food even worse just by being there. They were the moodiest bunch of people I have ever come across!
All of the above being said, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Dartington and I learnt a lot! I cannot wait for next year so that I can attend again! Hopefully I will be able to do the Advanced Composition course…who knows?