Music Durham Masterclasses

Do you want to work with professional musicians? Do you want to enhance your technique, try something completely new, or simply pick up a few helpful hints and tips? Read on!

Music Durham is fortunate enough to have strong relationships with other musical institutions, as well as professional ensembles, which allows us to provide a range of masterclasses catering to all instruments and voice types.

Why should I go to a masterclass?

Masterclasses offer students the unique opportunity to partake in practical sessions, get one-on-one specialised tuition and ultimately improve your quality of playing. Not only this, these classes could open you up to new possibilities, new repertoire, and new techniques. If you are looking to become professional post-university, this is a perfect opportunity to start networking and help expand your portfolio.


I’m not a performer, can I still attend a masterclass?

If you are a non-performer, masterclasses can still benefit your musical knowledge and help develop your personal capabilities. Regardless of your instrument, you can observe any of the masterclasses on offer throughout the year. This is a particularly fantastic chance for aspiring conductors to get to grips with various instruments, how they work and how players produce specific sounds.

Most recent,, the leader of the Monteverdi String Band, Oliver Webber, held an Early String Masterclass. Specialising in early and baroque music, this class opened up many of our string players to a whole new world of technique. Violinist Nina Kumin had this to say:

“The masterclass with Oliver Webber was a fantastic experience for me! The class focused for the first half on nuances in phrasing and tuning as an ensemble in Monteverdi’s opera Orfeo. The second half focused on improvised ornamentation in madrigals. This was completely new to me and was really fun to be able to try! I learnt so much that can apply to my playing, both modern and baroque, and the change in sound and expression as an ensemble from our first read through to the end of the session was really rewarding. It has definitely inspired me to take my early violin playing further!”

Other recent masterclasses have included Joy Farrall, Head of Clarinet and Chamber Wind at the Guildhall, working with Divinity Wind Quintet and wind soloists on their rehearsal technique and performance practise.

We full encourage all musicians to exploit these exceptional opportunities which will provide you with an invaluable experience. Oh, and did we mention they are completely free?

How can I get involved?

If, like Nina, you want to expand your practical knowledge, here are the scheduled masterclasses for the next few months:


Internationally renowned and multi-award winning flautist, and principal flute of The Heritage Orchestra since 2009, Gareth McLearnon, will be in Durham on 30th November. Individual and group slots are available from 1.30-5pm. He will also be working with the University Flute choir.

Chapel Choir and Organists

Daniel Cook (Master of the Choristers, Durham Cathedral) will be giving a masterclass to university chapel choir singers, directors, and organ scholars on Wednesday 31st January 2018. The choirs will join together in a massed choir, and student directors will take turns to lead the singing, under Daniel’s direction. Following this Daniel will work with organ scholars.


On Friday 9th February the singers from Durham Opera Ensemble will be hosting their annual professional masterclass. Singers will be preparing for their Gala theatre performance of The Magic Flute, working with professionals who have recently performed this repertoire in renowned theatres throughout the UK.

Keep an eye on the Music Durham website for more great opportunities, or email Masterclass Manager, Ashleigh Charlton, for more details at [email protected]

We look forward to seeing you at future events!

Article by Alice Benton, Music Creative Assistant 2017-18.