During the week of the Sunday 15 – Sunday 22 May 2011 I had an amazing time participating in a Samling Masterclass week and gained wonderful insights into repertoire preparation, performance and life as a musician.

“Samling transforms lives. We take highly talented young people on individual journeys in music” samling.org.uk  – 2011

Who?  I was joined on the masterclass week by fellow ‘Samling Scholars’   Meeta Raval,  Eva Ganizate and  Jennifer France (sopranos) ,  Stephen Chambers (tenor),   Benjamin Appl  (Baritone) and  Elizabeth Burgess and Jocelyn Freeman (pianists). Karon Wright (Samling Chief Executive) was on hand with help and support and our Samling masterclass  team comprised celebrated artists  John Mark Ainsley (Tenor), Della Jones (Mezzo Soprano),  Paul Farrington (Vocal Consultant) and Caroline Dowdle (pianist)  

Where?  I travelled up to Cumbria to stay in the beautiful setting of Farlam Hall, a family run and  country manor hotel , which was our ‘home’  for the week.   The setting of the hotel in 12 acres of gardens with its elegant drawing rooms, amazing cuisine (the tea breaks and home-made bread were a highlight!) and lovely staff made our stay very special.   http://www.farlamhall.co.uk/

What?  During the week we had a very full schedule of classes.  We were given the opportunity to rehearse and work with the pianists and then perform our repertoire for the tutors.  During the masterclasses we were able to explore the pieces in many different ways: through the interpretation, technique, language and music …and the learning didn’t stop when you had finished singing in your class – there was so much to learn from everyone’s personal experiences as musicians and to have the opportunity to watch the other singers working with the input from the  tutors and pianists was really valuable.  Also, during the week we even had the opportunity to share and explore poetry.

Performances …We travelled from Farlam Hall to The Sage in Newcastle on the Wednesday for our public masterclass session.    We took the scenic route to catch a glimpse of parts of the Hadrians wall path, see the Millenium Bridge in Newcastle and there was an amazing view of the The Sage which is a fabulous venue!    

The Sage, Gateshead.

The Sage, Gateshead.

 My masterclass session was with Della who helped me explore Olga’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’ in more depth.     

By the end of the week at Farlam Hall I was starting to panic about whether I would still be able to fit into my concert dress after eating all the wonderful food and glorious cakes… 

On Saturday evening we travelled back to The Sage (I squeezed into the dress!) and it was a lovely way to finish the week with the Samling Gala concert  – the programme was bursting with arias, songs,  as well as operatic ensembles.   It was such a lovely treat to have Della Jones and John Mark Ainsley join us for the Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzer.   

Samling Foundation Scholars

Samling Scholars concert at the Sage, Gateshead

I spoke to audience members afterwards who had also attended the public masterclass earlier in the week and it was great to have their insight into the Samling experience –   there is so much to learn from how your performance has been received by the audience!

There was such a supportive atmosphere throughout the week and across the two public events.  I learned a great deal during the week from everyone involved and in such a short space of time – there is so much to reflect upon and it is an experience I will never forget.  Thanks to everyone involved and good luck to all of the fellow and future Samling Scholars!! 

Kathryn x

 What is the Samling Foundation?

 Since 1996 the Samling Foundation have been working with some of the world’s greatest artists to help nurture young professional musicians as they embark upon their careers.

“Distinguished singers from around the world, led by our Patron Sir Thomas Allen, together with internationally celebrated accompanists, artists and teachers came to Cumbria to lead week-long residencies that could and did change young professionals’ lives.”  samling.org.uk  – 2011

 Hear more about Samling from Sir Thomas Allen at…  http://www.samling.org.uk/about.html

“Our Masterclass Programme is unique in the UK and provides singers and pianists – Samling Scholars – with a sympathetic environment where they can work, perform and, above all, be inspired.”  samling.org.uk  – 2011