Cambridge Early Music Renaissance Summer School © Paul Ashley


16 - 23 Jul 2022


All Day

Cambridge Early Music Renaissance course

As part of Cambridge Early Music’s Summer Schools programme, this week will be the perfect opportunity to make new friends through old music, and to develop your skills under the guidance of a world-class team of tutors: Clare Wilkinson voice and course director, Jacob Heringman lutes and William Hunt viols.

Mr Byrd’s Private Music: Music for recreation and devotion in Byrd’s inner circle

A chance to look in depth at the incomparable music of William Byrd: motets, madrigals, masses, viol consorts, solo consort songs (some arranged as lute songs) and consort anthems (including two newly-reconstructed works). We will work in small groups at a high level, with one voice/instrument per part, and also in the form of ‘open lessons’. Voices and instruments will work together and apart. Each day will start with an Alexander Technique-based warm-up. All our music-making will be ‘framed to the life of the words’ – led by the texts which meant so much to Byrd.

Byrd’s friend Edward Paston made lute arrangements of many of Byrd’s vocal works, some of them the only surviving examples of these works. These arrangements form the basis for more reconstructions (all are featured in William Hunt’s ‘In Chains of Gold’ series). How were these lute parts used? The opportunity to study them here opens the door to ways that voices, together with lutes and viols, may have taken part in domestic devotion as well as recreation.

This residential week will be a chance to immerse yourself in Byrd’s music on an intimate scale, work at a high level, and develop your skills under the guidance of an expert (but very friendly) team of tutors. Open to experienced voices, viols and lutes.

Is the Renaissance course for me?

This is an advanced course. We welcome applications from confident singers who can hold a line alone with ease (note that much, but not all music will be available in advance) and from similarly confident players of viols and lutes. Pre-formed consorts are especially welcome!

Non-singing/playing observers are also welcome, by arrangement; contact us for details. The course is open to over-18s, or over-16s if accompanied by an adult or if non-residents.


A typical day’s schedule might be:

  • 09.30 – Warm-up, followed by consort groups
  • 11.00 – coffee
  • 11.30 – ‘open lessons’ on solo consort/lute songs, or a group workshop
  • 13.00 – lunch break
  • 14.30 – Free time, for music if you will
  • 16.00 – tea
  • 16.30 – consort groups
  • 18.30 – dinner
  • 19.30 – tutti session: consort anthems, or sharing the day’s music
  • Later – Benslow Music’s bar is open

This example timetable is subject to change.

Music will be provided, but you are also encouraged to bring your own sets of parts and scores if you wish. Alternatively, you could join the growing number of people saving paper by using iPads.

On the final evening, course members participate in a public concert, performing works studied during the week. There will be chances for informal performance of favourite pieces during the week.

Participants should arrive in time for tea at 4pm on Saturday 16 July; the first session will start at 4.30pm. The course ends with breakfast on Saturday 23 July.

Applications and fees

Please visit the Cambridge Early Music website for full information about bookings.

Residential fees

We will update this page with 2022 fees shortly. Fees below apply to the cancelled 2021 Summer Schools (per person, per course).

  • Resident: £950 per person
  • Non-resident: £750 per person


  • We make every effort to assist with bursaries where appropriate.  Please see our Bursaries page for details.


Header photo: Cambridge Early Music Summer School 2019 Renaissance Summer School © Paul Ashley



Benslow Music
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG4 9RB, United Kingdom

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Benslow Music
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