Sherborne Summer School of Music (formerly Canford)
2nd to 8th August 2015

Application details are now available via the Sherborne Summer School website. Please email with any queries.

Mark Heron writes:

Sherborne Summer School Wind Conducting Course (formerly Canford) has become established over the last 24 years as one of the leading international courses for wind music. Course fees for 2015 are £519 (€650 US$815) for seven nights accommodation, excellent food, all tuition fees, and admission to all concert. This represents remarkable value for such in intensive course with guaranteed daily podium time.

The class of 2014 from Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Scotland
England, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Canada & USA.

This internationally recognised course is for conductors at all levels with an interest in wind repertoire, or a desire to immerse themselves in issues relating to conducting wind and brass instruments. Around twenty-five students will be accepted as active participants. Observers are also encouraged and will be fully involved in the course, but they will only conduct at the discretion of the tutors.

An integral feature of the course is that all active participants receive podium time with an ensemble each day and a performance opportunity at the end of the week.

Student conductors and Bjørn Sagstad after their performance of
Robert Russell-Bennett's Suite of Old American Dances

Participants will explore the physical language of conducting, score preparation, rehearsal technique and repertoire knowledge. All conducting sessions are filmed and students receive a DVD of their work at the end of the week as well as regular review sessions during it. The course runs concurrently with the Wind Ensemble Course and there will be close liaison between the two including the opportunity for selected participants to work with that ensemble.

All participants should bring with them any instruments they play in order to accommodate ensemble work within the class. (If for any reason you are unable to bring your instrument(s), please let the summer school office know when you enrol). Students should, as a minimum, prepare thoroughly the works marked with an asterisk before commencement of the course.You may then wish to select further pieces from the remaining repertoire -it is usually more beneficial to know some of the music well, than all of it not so well. More experienced students may also wish to prepare works from the Wind Ensemble repertoire list.

There are four sessions a day. Free concerts every evening and most lunchtimes. Podium time every day. Midweek formal dinner and dance. Sherborne School is set in one of the loveliest old Dorset towns and has a swimming pool and sports facilities, bar and local pubs.

BASBWE will offer a partial scholarship to one conducting student participating in the course. For further details email.

Joining me this year are Bjørn Sagstad and Cynthia Johnston Turner

2015 Repertoire

Conducting course

*Vaughan Williams

English Folk Song Suite




Marching Song


Flute Concerto


Spiel für Blasorchester

Vaughan Williams

Toccata Marziale


Lincolnshire Posy


Symphony in B flat


Pictures at an Exhibition


Serenade, Op.7


Serenade No.10 in B flat, “Gran Partita”, K361

Wind Ensemble course




Symphony in B flat




Silent Movie Suite


Spiel für Blasorchester


Flute Concerto


Pictures at an Exhibition




Power of Rome and the Christian Heart


Serenade, Op.7


Serenade No.10 in B flat, “Gran Partita”, K361

Wind Ensemble Course
Running alongside the conducting course, and sharing the same faculty, the wind ensemble course is designed for experienced amateurs and students to rehearse and perform significant repertoire written for the medium. Some of the repertoire will be studied in depth and form the basis for one or more of the several concerts the Wind Ensemble gives during the week. The remainder will be played in repertoire sessions. This year there are extended opportunities for large scale chamber music and there is close liaison with the Wind Conducting Course.

BASBWE will offer a partial scholarship to one player participating in the course. For further details email.

2014 Review
A vintage year with 27 conductors from all over the world - 50% from the UK, 50% international. The cameraderie was as good as it's ever been, and the class contained graduate conducting students, professional military musicians, music education professionals, undergraduate music students from universities and conservatoires, and conductors of amateur bands & orchestras.

The repertoire worked on was as follows:

Robert Russell Bennett

Suite of Old American Dances

Adam Gorb

Bohemian Revelry

Martin Ellerby

Paris Sketches

Fergal Carroll

Winter Dances

Arnold Schoenberg

Theme & Variations, op 43a

Gustav Holst

Suite in Eb, op28, No.1

WA Mozart

Serenade in C minor, K388

Igor Stravinsky

Concerto for Piano & Wind Instruments

Igor Stravinsky


Guy Woolfenden

Illyrian Dances

Antonin Dvorak

Serenade in D minor, op 44

Adam Gorb joined us for the final 2 days of the course to participate in rehearsals of his new work, Bohemian Revelry, and to lead one of our 6pm seminars. As you can see, these sessions are not dull, dry affairs!

l to r: Bjørn Sagstad, Adam Gorb, Mark Heron, Russell Cowieson

The conducting students participated in 2 performances at the end of the week, members of the Wind Ensemble course also gave a concert conducted by the faculty members, and some of them also performed the StravinskyConcerto for Piano & Winds with soloist Benjamin Powell.

2014 was my 8th year teaching the course, and I was again joined by Russell Cowieson and the renowned Norwegian conductor Bjørn Sagstad as a guest teacher following his great work with us last year. In Bjørn's opinion the course is the leading one of its kind in the world.

Bjørn Sagstad with the Wind Ensemble

Some 2012 -2014 Participant Profiles

Yu Chang is from Taiwan and is currently studying on the orchestral conducting Masters program with Harold Faberman.

Chris I'Anson is a recently apponted Director of Music in the Royal Air Force. Previously a percussionist in the RAF Central Band, he studied conducting with Mark Heron on the RAF Professional Development course, and attended Sherborne on a number of occasions. Chris is Director of Music of the Band of the RAF Regiment.

Caroline Hand is a Masters student at the University of Minnesota where she studies with Craig Kirchoff. Having previously studied flute and music education, she worked as a high school band director before moving onto to further study.

Duncan Gallagher is a student on the RNCM / University of Manchester joint course, where he studies violin with Julia Hanson and conducting with Mark Heron. In the coming year he will work with all of the University's orchestras and ensembles, including the Wind Orchestra so a strip to Sherborne was the perfect way for a string player to get ready for that ordeal!

Cole Bendall has just graduated from Aberdeen University with a 1st class degree in music. He has worked extensively with choirs, and hopes to study conducting at postgraduate level in the future. Cole had previously studied with Mark Heron at the RNCM Conducting Weekend.

Ignatius Wang is a member of the band service of the Singapore Armed Forces. He is currently studying at the Royal Marines School of Music on their bandmasters course, following which he will return to Singapore to lead one of the bands there.

Carl Mazzio graduated as a trombonist from Julliard and was principal trombone of the Buffalo Philharmonic from 1995-2002. He is now teaches trombone and conducts the Wind Symphony at Fredonia State University, New York State. Carl had met Tim Reynish when he visited Fredonia, and made the trip to England to study at Sherborne.

Hans-Ulrich Buehler works as an accountant, which he says gets in the way of his music-making as a saxophonist and conductor. He conducts 2 bands in Switzerland and has been attending the course at Canford/ Sherborne for several years.

Lauren-Petritz Watts studied euphonium at Junior Guildhall and the RNCM and joined the Army in 2004. After playing with the Royal Artillery Band for 5 years she was selected for the Bandmasters course at Kneller Hall, which she will complete later this year.

Clare Deady is from Australia, currently living in Manchester. She works as a member of the house staff at Chethams, and is developing a teaching career in the Northwest. She has recently been appointed as conductor of the North Cheshire Wind Orchestra.

Demosthenes Dimitrakoulakos studied bass trombone at Oberlin and Indiana, before becoming a member of the US Army Band in Wiesbaden, Germany. He now teaches and conducts at the International School of Luxembourg and conducts the Luxembourg Wind Orchestra.

Some History:

It was during the BASBWE Executive meeting at the Glasgow Conference of 1990, that it was decided to co-operate with the Canford Summer School of Music (now Sherborne) in an annual conducting course in wind band and wind ensemble, The first BASBWE/CANFORD course in 1991 was given by Tim Reynish and Clark Rundell.

One of the unique aspects of Canford is the variety of courses on offer. For three weeks musicians of all ages; professional, amateur and student, participate in conducting, singing, choral singing, chamber orchestra, symphony orchestra, wind orchestra, string orchestra chamber music of all types, music technology, jazz and much more.

Alongside this heady mix, the Wind Orchestra and the Wind Orchestra Conducting Course have both forged their own identity. Over the years, the wind conducting course has evolved to become extremely international attracting high quality students from all over the world, many of whom are studying conducting at Masters or Doctoral level. Despite this, accessibility remains an important part of the philosophy and the class always contains a number of students whose main work is with community bands or who are coming to conducting for the first time through their work in music education. Another long-standing tradition is the involvement of the Royal Marines Band Service who send their current crop of Bandmasters Course students to Canford every year.

This blend of professionals, educators, students and amateurs gives the course its own unique atmosphere and the opportunity for students to learn about the challenges faced by their colleagues in other fields.

A typical class of the last twenty years is that of 2007, comprised of 20 students from England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Hong Kong and the United States. Around a quarter were studying for Doctorates in wind conducting, 3 were on Masters conducting courses in orchestral conducting, 5 were professional military musicians, 3 were experienced music graduates working in education and the other 9 were involved with community bands, orchestras or choirs. In 2008 we welcomed 23 students from an even wider range of backgrounds.

Over the years, until summer 2012, Tim Reynish has been an ever-present figure on the faculty and the success of the course is due in a large part to his dedication and hard work not to mention legendary comments to his students –

"What on earth are you doing with your left hand - it looks like you are scratching your navel. Thank goodness you have such short arms."

Other faculty have included Phillip Scott, Baldur Bronnimann, Clark Rundell, Felix Hauswirth, James Croft, Rafi Primo, Guy Woolfenden, Robert Ponto, Brad Cohen and Mick Dowrick. Since 2007 Mark Heron has been the other main teacher, and from 2009 has been joined by fellow Scot and Canford alumnus, Russell Cowieson.

Course Content and Repertoire

The class forms its own ensemble, sometimes with additional players brought in for balance reasons, and so the majority of the sessions are practical. It is therefore expected that all participants bring an instrument in order to support their colleagues. In addition there are regular sessions on technique, score study, rehearsal technique and repertoire. Unlike many conducting courses where podium time is extremely limited, at Sherborne most students will conduct at least once on each of the 7 days the course runs. All conducting sessions are videoed with all students taking away DVDs of their conducting during the week. One to one lessons and review sessions using the student's DVDs are also an integral part of the course.

The repertoire is extensive and deliberately varied in style and difficulty. In addition to major works of the wind orchestra repertoire, a number of less challenging works are included - particularly aimed at those working with young and amateur musicians. Students preparing to come on the course should prepare as much of the repertoire as they can, as thoroughly as possible. However, it is almost always better to know some of the music very well rather than all of it not so well. Those with less experience may well decide to focus on 3 or 4 works. More experienced participants, who are perhaps returning having already attended the course, might prepare two thirds of the repertoire. Serious conducting students, perhaps studying for Masters or Doctoral degrees would be expected to be familiar with everything on the list.

As with all good master classes, the social aspect is important and Sherborne scores highly on this front as well. With over 300 musicians present for each week of the summer school, the conducting and wind orchestra courses manage both to retain their own identity and become part of the larger atmosphere.


Can't believe my week at Sherborne is coming to an end. Thank you to all of the incredible people who have made this one of the best weeks of my life. Can't wait to back next year, and I highly recommend to any musician that they should experience this course at least once in their lives!

On a personal level I learnt an awful amount, not only from getting some podium time but also from watching other people conduct. I felt that the approach of the tutors was great, it was refreshing to find conductors who are not trying to make ‘clones’ but develop the abilities of the individuals instead.

My trip to England for the International Conducting Symposium turned out to be even more than I could have imagined. The great thing about the faculty was that they all had different, but not opposing views on conducting. They were able to give constructive criticism to the whole class, from the seasoned conductor to the less experienced. But no matter who they were working with, the MUSIC was always the most important thing.

I just wanted to take the opportunity to say how extremely enriching and motivating I have found the course. Having felt somewhat unsure as to whether I should join the group initially, I really felt you catered for all levels of experience extremely well and that each of us had a real opportunity to develop and grow from whatever our starting points. It was just the right balance ofintensitiy in a kind of relaxed, positive and invigorating way. I also hope you will not mind me saying from a teaching and learning perspective that I felt your varied styles and approaches complimented each other very well so everyone, irrespective of their preferred learning styles and needs, could be well catered for.

Just a quick thank you for the other weekend - the course was fantastic and incredibly well run. It seems to have been terrific preparation for my Dartington audition last Sunday as I've been offered a place supported by a 75% bursary!

Just a quick note to thank you and the RNCM for organising another inspiring weekend. I really appreciated the top quality of the tuition, as well as that of the ensembles; I can't believe so many musicians were willing to offer their time

I think the most important thing, apart form further developing my conducting technique, I have taken home is the knowledge of what it means to have a score studied: untill now I have thought that a simple - in musicology often (over)praised - Formanalyse and marked cues suffice. But conducting the 3rd movemnt of Paris Sketches and the Mahler experience successfully proved me wrong. I am also extremely happy to know that in some parts of the World orchestras are not out to get you, waiting for your mistake and then taking much effort in showing you you had made it!

Thanks again for a wonderful weekend. Had a rehearsal yesterday, and several players commented on a great improvement in my conducting since last week, and what I really did was to conduct more by doing less.

Thank you very much for the fascinating insights over the weekend, and yesterday morning; my mind is bursting with ideas and I can see it taking a good few months before I have fully integrated all the excellent teaching over the weekend!

Thanks for a great week, I really feel the tuition from yourself and the team was excellent and feel that it has really set me up for the rest of my course and beyond. Long way to go yet though!