Video introduction by director Paul Roberts from last year 

Paul Roberts plays ‘Au bord d’une source’ -
Beside a Spring - by Franz Liszt.

Booking now open for July/August 2021

Music at Chateau d’Aix is the latest incarnation of the renowned piano summer school founded in 1991 by pianist Paul Roberts and arts journalist Jenny Gilbert. Over the years they have maintained and developed their original vision: to nurture the highest standards of music-making in idyllic surroundings, bringing together teachers and pianists of international reputation with conservatoire students from around the globe. Amateur pianists are offered the same opportunities, a quality of teaching and insight they would rarely
find elsewhere. It is the combination of amateur and aspiring professional, and the wide mix of ages, nationalities and life experience, that give the summer school its unique musical and social ambience. 

Binding the whole enterprise is a commitment to hospitality. The food, wine and spirit of enjoyment combine with the intensity of the music-making to create a life-enhancing week.


We are running just two courses this year due to Covid. The good news is that from 19 July quarantining is no longer necessary for returning travellers to the UK.  France is allowing entry for those with double vaccination from the UK but some form of testing will still be necessary. Particpants must check the exact requirements before departure. Dates are 26 July to 2 August; 5 August to 12 August. 


Music at Chateau d'Aix 2021
  • Master classes for advanced students
  • Workshops and individual teaching for amateurs
  • Emphasis on the psychology of performance and how to communicate music without fear
  • Ample opportunities for practising 
  • No upper age limit, and a lower age limit of 17
  • Observers and partners welcome

The courses at Chateau d’Aix are open to full-time piano students and proficient amateurs. Each class takes up to 12 participants. Highly skilled amateurs may put themselves forward for the Advanced Class.

Teaching is conducted principally through master classes. Advanced pianists will be familiar with this format, but for amateurs it should be stressed how supportive the classes are, and how enlightening it can be to listen to others. Participants develop considerably in skill and confidence during the course. This transformation in enabled by the unique ambience of Music at Chateau d’Aix: the inspiring and sympathetic teaching, the setting, the mix of ages and nationalities and the conviviality of mealtimes.

A typical day

Each day is centred on two intensive periods of piano study, interspersed with practising, relaxation and meals en plein air. The morning begins at 8am with breakfast on the terrace, followed by practice until class at 10am. The Intermediate and Advanced Classes usually run simultaneously until lunchtime (with coffee break), but there will be ample opportunity for participants in the Intermediate Class to observe the Advanced Class.

Everyone is timetabled to play every day, either in class or in an individual lesson.

Lunch is taken outside in the shade. Afternoons are free for leisure or practising, and classes begin again at 4pm. The evening relaxation begins at 7pm with drinks from the bar, followed by a recital and dinner. At the end of each course participants are encouraged to play in a concert, and the final dinner is followed by a party and cabaret. 

Pianos and Practising

There are two grands in the main teaching/recital room and one grand in the second teaching room. These can be booked for practice out of class hours (7-10am, 2-4pm and after dinner). We have 4 further practice rooms with uprights, and six digitals with weighted keyboards that are perfect for private practice at any time of day or night with headphones. 

Set works

Any work by Scriabin or Liszt

Advanced Class Repertoire

Two or more compositions to include a major work by Liszt or Scriabin 

Intermediate Class Repertoire

The requirement is at least two pieces by any composer that can be comfortably performed in front of others, as well as work in progress. There is no set standard for this class, but most participants are at least AB Grade 8.

The optional set work for the Intermediate Class is one or more of Scriabin's Préludes or Poèmes. 

Non-playing partners receive a 50% discount, and are welcome to sit in on classes. Or they may choose to relax in the chateau grounds and beside the pool, or spend the day exploring the beauty of the Lot: its wild hillsides, valleys of sunflowers and lavender, and the vineyards of the famous black Cahors wine. 

Dates 2021
  • Course 1: Monday 26 to Monday 2 August
  • Course 2: Thursday 5 August to Thursday 12 August


Accommodation (prices in GB pounds and euros)
  • Marie Antoinette: double bed, ensuite bathroom        £2400/2700€
  • La Reine*: double bed, ensuite bathroom                     £2400/2700€
  • Chambre Biblio: twin, shared bathroom                        £1900/2100€​​​​​​
  • Chambre d’Or* double bed, shared bathroom             £1800/2025€
  • Chambre Blanche*: double bed, shared bathroom     £1800/2025€ 
  • Chambre Écrivain: twin beds, shared bathroom           £1700/1900€ 
  • Maison du parc: single bed, shared bathroom              £1700/1900€
  • Cartier-Bresson: single bed, shared bathroom              £1500/1650€
  • Parc mezzanine*: double bed, shared bathroom          £1500/1650€
  • Chambre de la tour*: double bed, shared bathroom   £1500/1650€
  • Chambre Zébra: single bed, shared bathroom              £1200/1350€
  • Chambre Bleue: dormitory, 3 beds                                    £900/1015€
  • Douve Attic: dormitory, 5 beds                                           £900/1015€

* Double rooms marked with an asterisk can be booked as single occupancy at no extra charge

La tour and Zébra have compromised privacy - one room leads off the other, but both are fully private when the door is closed. These rooms are best suited to friends applying together. Zébra is small

For further information on rooms, please see our blog post Budgeting with friends at Chateau d'Aix


Fees for Music at Chateau d’Aix include full accommodation, all meals, refreshments, tuition at every level, and concerts. Table wine from the neighbouring vineyard is served gratis with the evening meal.

The only extras are for the bar, our local minibus to and from the airport, and one optional outing in the course of the week: the vineyard holds a weekly fête serving its own wine and regional dishes.  

  • All prices are per person
  • Fees payable in GB pounds or euros only
  • See Booking Form for deposit and payment
  • 50% discount for non-participating partners 
  • Scholarships available for advanced students
  • Deposit will be returned if booking is cancelled before 1 April 
  • See Terms & Conditions 


  • Days 1 and 8 are for arrival and departure
  • The most convenient airport for Chateau d’Aix is Toulouse Blagnac. Those coming by train will arrive at the railway station Toulouse Matabiau. Either way we organise a minibus direct from the airport with a pick up at the station
  • The journey by road from Toulouse to Chateau d’Aix takes 90 minutes. The cost depends on the number of people sharing the minibus bus but is usually less than 40€ per head - compared to local taxis which cost around 250€! 
  • The bus will depart Toulouse airport no later than 5.30pm on the arrival day. There will be a pick up at the railway station (Toulouse Matabiau) at 5pm. Those arriving on morning or midday flights should plan to spend a few hours in the old city centre and join the bus at the railway station 
  • Those travelling from outside Europe should fly to Toulouse via London, Paris or Frankfurt. Those travelling from the UK can also fly into Bergerac (only 60 minutes drive to Chateau d’Aix) where they may hire a car or arrange their own taxi
  • Those coming by car should not arrive at the chateau before 5pm
  • Refreshments will be served on arrival from 5pm, followed by dinner at 8pm. Classes begin the next morning
  • The return bus will depart at 9 in the morning on day 8. So please do not book flights or trains that depart Toulouse before midday