About the course
The Eton Choral Courses are week-long, residential Summer courses for singers aged 16-20, which provide intensive, fun weeks of training in singing and choral music.
For 36 years, we have been at the forefront of choral scene for young singers in the UK and offer a unique opportunity to perform at the highest level with like-minded musicians.
Guest conductor, Jeremy Summerly
It is a great pleasure to welcome Jeremy Summerly to the Eton Choral Courses this year. Jeremy was recently appointed Director of Music at St Peter’s College, Oxford.
Choral Evensong at Magdalen College
Singing at Magdalen College is always a highlight for the Choral Courses, and we are very much looking forward to returning to the beautiful College Chapel to sing Choral Evensong this summer, directed by Daniel Hyde.
All are very welcome to attend this event. We invite parents and friends to join us for Choral Evensong, and advise arriving at least half an hour early.
Vocal Masterclass with Toby Spence
We are delighted to welcome Toby Spence to the Eton Choral Courses this year. Toby attended a Course himself many years ago, and went on to sing in the Rodolfus Choir.
An honours graduate and choral scholar from New College, Oxford, Toby Spence studied at the Opera School of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was the winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society 2011 Singer of the Year award.
Engagements this season have included “The Dream of Gerontius” with the Vienna Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle at the BBC Proms, Eisenstein (“Die Fledermaus”) for the Metropolitan Opera, David (“Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”) at the Paris Opera and Captain Vere for the Teatro Real, Madrid.
One of the great privileges of being based at Eton College for Choral Courses is the opportunity we have to rehearse and perform in the glorious College Chapel. One of the major highlights of the week will be the Course Recital, which will be directed by Ben Parry in the Chapel on 12 July.
During the week there are opportunities to perform solo songs or arias to the rest of the course but, near the end of the week, the Informal Concert gives students the chance to perform any other music of their own choice. This is either on their own or in small groups. The concert has a more informal atmosphere than some of the full choral performances and also features the Course Orchestra.
Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3
Each year, one of the courses is selected to sing Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3. The service will be broadcast live from Eton College Chapel on Jul 13 at 15:30.
During the week the full choir sings a wide range of music spanning the last five centuries up to the present day for the main course performances.
In your small CONSORTS you will sing a variety of music from madrigals to close-harmony and jazz arrangements.
You will be asked to bring some SOLO music to work on in your individual SINGING LESSONS and there will be a chance for you to perform any other music during an INFORMAL CONCERT.
Tutors and presenters
Ben Parry, Course Director
Ben Parry is a composer, conductor, arranger, singer and producer in both classical and light music. His choral compositions and arrangements are published by Peters Edition and have been heard at the BBC Proms and on the hit TV series, Glee. He is Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, Assistant Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge and co-director of London Voices, with whom he has worked on the soundtracks of many major Hollywood films. Formally Director of Music at St Paul’s School, London and the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music, Ben has directed Eton Choral Courses annually for the last 16 years.
Margaret Humphrey Clark, Alexander Technique Teacher
Margaret Humphrey Clark studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she is now a Professor of Singing. She is also a trained teacher of the Alexander Technique which she uses to enrich her singing teaching. She had a varied career in Oratorio, Recital, Ensemble work and Opera before focussing mainly on teaching. She has taught singing in many schools including Eton College and St Paul’s Girls’ School, at Cambridge, Surrey and City Universities, and has been teaching on the Eton Choral Courses for many years.
Nicki Kennedy, Singing Teacher
Nicki Kennedy’s solo career has taken her all over the world with many of Europe’s leading baroque and classical ensembles. She regularly appears at the Wigmore Hall in London and in prestigious festivals in Europe and further afield. As well as her solo career, Nicki has sung with London’s top session choirs, contributing to films and recordings from Pirates of the Caribbean to the Harry Potter films. Nicki is Head of Singing at Repton School in Derbyshire. She regularly teaches on Eton Choral Courses and also in France, Spain and the Czech Republic. This year she joins the teaching staff of the National Youth Choir.
Robert Rice, Singing Teacher
Robert Rice is a concert baritone who regularly performs oratorios such as Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Requiem, Bach’s Passions et al. He gained early recognition for staged performances of challenging contemporary scores, and continues to give recitals of modern song, also recently visiting Bavaria to work with guitarist Erich Schachtner on a Lieder programme.
Robert teaches singing regularly at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, for Lincoln Cathedral, and privately in London. He is in demand as a workshop leader; in recent times he has given workshops and master-classes for the Eton Choral Courses, The Sixteen, Christ’s Hospital and UCL Opera among others.
Peter Wilson, Singing Teacher
Peter Wilson studied at RSAMD in Glasgow and later in Rome. He has sung extensively throughout Europe, and also in America and continues to give recitals. His main time is devoted to teaching at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the Dennis O’Neill WIAV in Cardiff. Five years ago Peter founded an International Summer school on the Isle of Arran for young singers, where he lives. He returns to Eton Choral Courses after many years.
The courses have been based at Eton College since 1985 and we start the summer with two courses here, rehearsing every day in the stunning buildings of the College and making full use of the state-of-the-art music schools.
Students will stay in individual rooms in one of the school's boarding houses and enjoy three meals per day in the mediaeval College Hall.
Eton is across the river Thames from Windsor, near Slough and within easy reach of London, just outside the M25.
All Eton Choral Courses