Frequently asked questions

Do you get instrumental lessons as part of the Academy?
No, we would expect you to continue studying your instrument with your current instrumental teacher while taking part in the Academy. You will work with some of the UK’s top chamber musicians, but not individually in the traditional teacher / student fashion.  Britten Sinfonia Academy is designed to work alongside your current instrumental lessons and your participation in school, private or Music Service ensembles.

How does Britten Sinfonia Academy work alongside my other my other musical commitments?
We strongly believe that the skills gained from taking part in Britten Sinfonia Academy will be in addition to the skills you get from taking part in other musical opportunities. For example, working with Britten Sinfonia is totally different from playing in a symphony orchestra and will require different skills. If you are already a member of a County or School Music Ensemble, we will expect you to continue to take part in that ensemble whilst playing in Britten Sinfonia Academy. We are working closely with the Music Services to ensure that our opportunities don’t clash, as we want to support and encourage you to attend both.

We appreciate that young musicians are often very busy and that it is difficult to balance school work, life and music. If you want to discuss your personal situation, please do get in touch with Natalie Ellis, Creative Learning Director.

How much does it cost to become a member of Britten Sinfonia Academy?
We are looking to recruit musicians regardless of their financial means, ethnic or social background.
Bursaries are available, both to cover fees and travel. Please contact Natalie Ellis Creative Learning Director if you would like to discuss bursaries.

Britten Sinfonia Academy is supported by the Monument Trust, and we have therefore been able to keep fees to a minimum. There will be a fee for 2014-15 of £200, which will be payable on accepting a place in Britten Sinfonia Academy.

If I become a member of the Academy, how long will I be a member for?
Britten Sinfonia Academy will be a one year opportunity. At the end of the year, members will be able to re-audition if you would like to take part for another year.

What is the commitment?
In the first year, the group will meet for 12 days of core music courses and all members will be required to commit to all course dates. In addition, there may be opportunities to meet players at BS rehearsals and concerts that you are invited to.

Where will Britten Sinfonia Academy take place?
Britten Sinfonia Academy will recruit musicians from all over the East, and will not have a fixed home. However, we regularly play in Norwich and Cambridge and we therefore expect the Academy to reflect that. We will alternate our meeting places, throughout the year, and also take into account where the recruited members of the group live. All participants will be required to travel to attend all opportunities throughout the region but we will of course do our best to arrange lift shares and travel bursaries will be available.

What are the dates for the 2014-15 Academy?
Wherever possible, we will require all participants to attend all sessions throughout the year. In addition, other opportunities and invitations may present themselves, however these are the compulsory dates for 2014-15:

7 September - induction day
13, 14 September - course 1
15, 16, 20, 21 November - course 2 anc concerts in Milton Court, London and West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
25 January, 1, 2 February - course 3
8, 14, 15 March - course 4
27, 28 June - course 5
30 June, 3 July - Concert in at Andrew's Hall, Norwich and West ROad Concert Hall, Cambridge

I’m also interested in Aldeburgh Young Musicians – what’s your advice?

Our two organisations are in close communication and are equally committed to ensuring that young musicians from the East of England are able to access high quality musical opportunities. The two schemes can complement each other very well and where appropriate, we will recommend young musicians to apply for AYM and vice versa. We are keen to help young musicians discover the most appropriate opportunities for themselves as individuals. We also hope to work together and share opportunities in the future.

It may be appropriate for you to become a member of both groups or for one organisation to direct you to the other.

You can discuss this choice with your music teacher, and both Isobel from Britten Sinfonia and Colin Virr from AYM are happy to chat to you about what is suitable for you as an individual.

What are the main differences between Aldeburgh Young Musicians and Britten Sinfonia Academy?
Aldeburgh Young Musicians is part of a national network of Centres for Advanced Training (CAT), endorsed by the Department for Education (DfE).  Their distinctive scheme is intended to develop and nurture young musicians of exceptional potential through continued development, rather than to provide one-off ‘holiday’ courses. For those who choose, Aldeburgh Young Musicians is providing a completely balanced and personalised music programme which coordinates individual lessons, intensive residential courses at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Suffolk, mentoring and performance opportunities. Their programme takes into account an individual’s contribution towards county or national ensembles and orchestras, too, and so complements the programme offered through Britten Sinfonia Academy. AYM is designed to provide students with a broad musical experience which will help them develop into an exciting, creative young musician.

AYM works with young people from a wide range of musical backgrounds. The scheme is less about formal teaching and more about encouragement to question and experiment, using their talents to explore new ways of working, including creating new music and in different styles and genres. Aldeburgh Young Musicians have fabulous opportunities to develop their individual musical identity but fewer opportunities to work within more formally structured ensembles. Find out more on their website.

Britten Sinfonia Academy on the other hand, is a year long programme and we are a flexible and open-minded group of musicians but rooted in classical chamber orchestra tradition. We want to replicate this with Britten Sinfonia Academy and are searching for classically trained young musicians, with a passion to learn and explore. 

Britten Sinfonia Academy will help to develop young musicians’ skills as chamber musicians, leaders and team players. Although we will run one creative course per year, where we will look at improvisation, creative composition and collaborative work, the main foundation of our courses will be working as a chamber orchestra.


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West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
03 October 2014 7:30pm

Nicholas Daniel is the soloist in John Tavener's theatrical oboe concerto, Kaleidoscopes.


Norwich Theatre Royal, Norwich
05 October 2014 7:30pm

Nicholas Daniel is the soloist in John Tavener's theatrical oboe concerto, Kaleidoscopes.

Curlew River - US Tour 2014

The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, New York
30 October 2014 7:30pm

A revival of Netia Jones' critically acclaimed production of Britten's Curlew River takes to US stages in seven performances across New York, North Carolina and Berkeley.

Curlew River - US Tour 2014

The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, New York
31 October 2014 7:30pm

A revival of Netia Jones' critically acclaimed production of Britten's Curlew River takes to US stages in seven performances across New York, North Carolina and Berkeley.

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