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
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.
COURSES & DATES 2020
Music at Chateau d'Aix 2020
- Master classes for advanced students
- Workshops and individual teaching for amateurs
- Emphasis on the psychology of performance and on communicating 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 a mixture of leisure, swimming and 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.
Advanced Class Repertoire
This year’s set work will be announced in January
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 set work for the Intermediate Class is one Prelude by Debussy
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.
This year we have added a day to each course. Teachers joining Paul Roberts in 2020 will be announced shortly
- Sunday 19 July to Sunday 26 July
- Monday 27 July to Monday 3 August
- Thursday 6 August to Thursday 13 August
- Saturday 15 August to Saturday 22 August
One-to-one teaching will be offered on all four courses by James Kreiling and Janneke Brits
FEES & ACCOMMODATION 2020
Chambre la Reine
Chambre bleue dormitory
Chambre Marie Antoinette
Chambre de la tour
Accommodation (prices is GB pounds or euros - £/€)
- Marie Antoinette: double bed, ensuite bathroom £2400/2700€
- La Reine*: double bed, ensuite bathroom £2400/2700€
- 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 £1600/1775€
- Cartier-Bresson: single bed, shared bathroom £1500/1650€
- Parc mezzanine*: double bed, shared bathroom £1500/1650€
- Chambre Biblio: twin or triple, shared bathroom £1300/1425€
- Chambre de la tour*: double bed, shared bathroom £1300/1425€
- Chambre Zébra: single bed, shared bathroom £1100/1200€
- Chambre Bleue: dormitory, 4 beds £900/1000€
- Douve Attic: dormitory, 5 beds £900/1000€
* Double rooms marked with an asterisk can be booked as singles at no extra charge
Chambre Biblio is suitable for two or three friends sharing (2x£1300; 3x£900)
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. Zebra 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. The only extras are for the bar and for one optional outing at the midpoint of each course. Table wine from the adjacent vineyard is served gratis with the evening meal.
- All prices are per person
- See Booking Form for deposit and payment
- 50% discount for non-participating partners
- Scholarships available for advanced students
- Deposit and any fees paid will be returned if booking is cancelled before 1 April
- See Terms & Conditions
- Days 1 and 7 are for arrival and departure
- The most convenient airport for Chateau d’Aix is Toulouse Blagnac. Those coming by train will arrive at the terminus Toulouse Matabiau. Either way we organise a group taxi 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 taxis, but is usually less than 40€ per head. This arrangement may involve a short wait at the airport to assemble a group from different flights
- 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
- Arrival at the chateau is from 4pm onwards on Day 1, so the first taxi pick up will usually not be before 2.30pm in Toulouse
- Refreshments will be served on arrival from 4pm, followed by dinner at 8pm. Classes begin the next morning
- Taxis will depart after breakfast on day 7