Full Info

FULL INFORMATION FOR
CHAMBER MUSIC COURSE 2025

Accommodation

Accommodation costs are included in the course fee: see Cost for details.

Age/Standard

There is no specific minimum or maximum age. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. We welcome players of a variety of standards, including professional. As a guide, a standard of grade 6/7+ ABRSM is recommended, although experience is every bit as important, and it may vary from instrument to instrument – please enquire if you are not sure.

Climate

April temperature is usually from about 8 to 20 degrees. It certainly could feel chilly in the mornings/evenings. Rain is possible, but unlikely in large quantities.

Communication

Because we are all staying in the same place communication will be made via an information board, and announcements at meals and other events. In addition, we will ask you for your mobile phone number, so that we can create a group messaging system. This can prove useful in getting information out to everyone quickly.

‘Concert’

On the Saturday there will be the opportunity to play through some of the music you have been working on during the week. This won’t be a formal concert, but an informal play-through. There’s no need to bring concert dress.

Course Fee

Refer to the Cost page for details of the amount to pay. Please note that your place is not secured until you have paid the full course fee.

Customs

If you are bringing an instrument with you: does it contain a rare material that could be restricted?  For example, a bow with some ivory.  If possible it’s best to avoid these materials entirely, but if you can’t, then take with you some sort of proof of purchase and ownership, and have a look at this webpage:

https://musiciansunion.org.uk/working-performing/working-overseas/travelling-with-a-musical-instrument/musical-instruments-made-of-rare-materials

It’s very unlikely that you would have a problem, but it’s not impossible …

Dates

The course dates are Monday 7 to Saturday 12 April, with the first ‘event’ being dinner on the Monday (followed by an initial chamber music session), and the final event is the play-through concert on the Saturday evening. Hence you will arrive on the Monday and leave on the Sunday. It may be possible to arrive after 7 April – please enquire.

Excursion

There will be an excursion to Lucca organised during the week. Details are to follow. The cost of the transport is covered in your fee, but any expenses you incur during the day (including lunch) are your own responsibility.

Facebook

There is a Facebook group for the Peter’s courses, which you are welcome to join if you have signed up to come, or have been in a previous year:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/121043465193141

Food

Three meals will be provided each day in the Academy dining room (with the exception of the day in Lucca, where lunch is your responsibility). Coffee and water are included, but wine costs extra. Please let us know of any dietary requirements that you may have.

Language

Although the principal language will be English, we may have some Italians with us, in which case we would work in both English and Italian. It may be possible to accommodate German and French speakers – please enquire.

If you speak any Italian the Academy staff, and any Italian musicians, will be delighted! But if you speak no Italian it will not at all be a problem.

Large Instruments: cellos

It is not possible to hire cellos (or, indeed, any instrument), and so cellists are eligible for financial help with the cost of transporting their instrument, up to £75 per cello.

Mobility

If you have mobility problems please let us know.

Problems etc

As we are all staying in the same place, it should be straightforward to sort out any problems that occur. In the first instance ask Peter or Norma, or a representative of the Montegral Academy.

Schedule

Please note: this is a draft schedule and is to be confirmed. Within your chamber groups you could agree to do longer or shorter sessions – as long as you keep Peter informed, as both he and the members of the Alkyona Quartet will have a schedule for visiting each group.

Breakfast: 7-8.30am
Lunch: 1-2pm
Dinner: 7-8pm

Mon: 19.00 ‘welcome’ dinner / 20.30-21.30 chamber music session 1 
Tue: 10.00-10.30 general musicianship 1 / 10.30-12.00 chamber music session 2 / 16.00-18.00 chamber music session 3 / 20.30-21.30 string orchestra session 1
Wed: 10.00-10.30 general musicianship 2 / 10.30-12.00 chamber music session 4 / 16.00-18.00 chamber music session 5 / 20.30-21.30 lecture-recital 1
Thu: trip to Lucca / 20.30-21.30 string orchestra session 2
Fri: 10.00-10.30 general musicianship 3 / 10.30-12.00 chamber music session 6 / 16.00-18.00 chamber music session 7 / 20.30-21.30 lecture-recital 2
Sat: 10.00-10.30 general musicianship 4 / 10.30-12.00 chamber music session 8 / 16.00-18.00 chamber music session 9 / 20.30-22.00 play-through ‘concert’
Sun: Breakfast and goodbyes!

Strings etc

There is at least one music shop in Lucca where you could get strings and so forth.  However, the problem would be getting there – you’d probably need to get a taxi at least part of the way.  You could of course go there on our day trip to Lucca.  Best to bring spare strings etc with you!

Travel

NB You must book and pay for your own travel.

The full address of the Montegral Academy is:

Convento dell’Angelo,
Via Tramonte 2530,
I-55100 Ponte a Moriano (LU)

1. By train

To start, look here: Seat61-Florence

Then here (further down the same page): Seat61-Lucca

When you get to Lucca station, you could either get a taxi (likely to cost €25-30), or do another short train ride (10 mins) to Ponte a Moriano (costs €1.60), which is the nearest station to the Academy. From Ponte a Moriano we will organise times when the Academy bus comes to pick people up. You can’t get a taxi from there.

The Seat61 website has all the information you will need, it’s wonderfully comprehensive, and has lots of useful photos.  Suffice to say that I really recommend travelling by train (I’ve travelled to Italy that way a good number of times). It does, of course, take longer, but, for one thing, you get to go through the Alps which is wonderful.  And for another, you don’t have to worry so much about the amount of luggage you have (i.e. it’s great for cellists!).  If you book well ahead, the prices are not steep either. 

2. By car

It is a few kilometres north of Lucca, just off the SS12 road. Lucca is located on the A11 highway which runs west from Florence to Pisa and the Versilia coast. 

3. By air

NB: Please ensure you know what your airline’s restrictions are on carrying musical instruments. Many airlines now charge extra, for example, to carry something the size of a violin.

Booking early is always the best money-saving option, but one other way of flying cheaply may be to change at somewhere like Milan or Rome.  

You will be informed if there are other participants on the same flight as you.

Pisa airport is closest, followed by Florence. Please note that you can reach each airport by a variety of airlines (especially if you are prepared to change planes). Car hire is possible at both airports.  

Travelling by train to Lucca is easy from both Pisa and Florence.  From Pisa you take the monorail into the town and then a train to Lucca from Pisa Central station, it takes 40-50 minutes.  From Florence airport there’s a shuttle tram into the city, it takes you close to the main station (Santa Maria Novella), and then you get a train from there to Lucca, taking about 1hr40 or a bit more. 

For the final stage, getting from Lucca to the Academy, please refer to the notes above under ‘By train’.

Problems

If you have any travel problems do please keep us informed (we will also help if at all possible). You will be given relevant contact phone numbers in due course.