32nd Guitar Course - Chateau de Ligoure 2009
Classical Guitar /UK
Having enjoyed the summer school at Chateau Ligoure in both 2006 and 2008, my expectations were very high when joining for the 2009 session. Now I can only add – fantastic – the magic continues! Eleftheria Kotzia (Ellie) directed another delightful course last July. Her organisation ensured that the daily programme ran smoothly and we all benefitted from her lively style of teaching. We were very fortunate to have the well known teacher and performer from Paris, Tania Chagnot, as one of the tutors, together with Denis Pasquet, a young French guitarist who gave lessons to the less advanced players.
There were thirty participants from nine countries, and the playing ability ranged from very advanced to relative newcomers to the guitar. Each morning and afternoon the tutors gave a mixture of private lessons and large and small ensemble classes. The informal student concert halfway through the course gave everyone an opportunity to give solo performances. The most accomplished guitarists played again at the final student concert on the last evening. All the ensembles performed the pieces they had been preparing during the course.
Ellie and Tania both gave evening concerts. Ellie performed a recital, “From Villa Lobos to Bogdanovic”, and Tania’s concert included music from "England and Spain". These two fine recitals provided us with the joy of hearing players of an international professional standard and gave us added inspiration to keep on trying.All day and all evening the sounds of the guitar could be heard coming from all over the house and gardens. Then there were those impromptu jam sessions in the dining room after dinner and even occasionally (and very unofficially!) exuberant playing and singing which lasted late into the night.
Chateau Ligoure is a unique venue. The relaxed atmosphere in this privileged setting added to the warm, friendly and inclusive environment where we all felt part of an extended family. Once again I appreciated the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the guitar for ten days, and to have this valuable experience to make significant progress.
The weather was splendid and we were able to take advantage of private al fresco practice sessions under the ancient specimen trees in the parkland surrounding the chateau. In my opinion this is one of the most special aspects which gives Ligoure its particular charm.
Summer Echos - Chateau de Ligoure 2008
This summer I had the opportunity to enjoy another excellent guitar summer school in the large Chateau de Ligoure, set in parkland in the Limousin countryside near Limoges.
This August, 2008, Eleftheria Kotzia took over the direction of the summer school, known as a ‘stage’ in French. Twenty participants from France, England, Algeria and Japan gathered for the ten day course. It included individual guitar lessons every other day at the appropriate level for each person, as well as courses in orchestra, big and small ensembles and quartets/trios/duets. Eleftheria (Ellie) who teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Jean-Pierre Billet, Guitar Professor at the Conservatoire National Regional of Clermont-Ferrant provided a high standard of tuition in the different fields. The level of playing ability varied from accomplished players to relative newcomers to the guitar. The course was run in both French and English and the atmosphere was very friendly, supportive and fun
There were a series of evening concerts, Nuits de la Guitar, during the course. Ellie played fiery Mediterranean and Greek music which was a delight. Jean.Pierre Billet and Antoine Billet, his son, played romantic guitar and cello duo music, and Jean-Marc Roulet performed a programme of Spanish music in duo with the singer, Ann Elizabeth Petit. The end-of-course student concert on the final evening gave all course participants a chance to perform the prepared repertoire under concert conditions to a local audience.
I was fascinated by an excellent Lecture Recital given by Jean Pierre on the history of guitar music from early times, followed by a performance of early music, first on his baroque guitar and then on his original 19 th century guitar. On the night of the full moon there was an informal student concert (Open Platform). Everyone took part. A moon-gazing session followed at midnight on the lawns as we witnessed a clear partial eclipse, which added a unique aspect to the evening.
Eleftheria’s delightful sunny personality and combined with her professionalism and established teaching methods, together with Jean-Pierre.’s impressive depth of musical knowledge and dry sense of humour, they made a very effective team. I have now attended two courses at Ligoure and can highly recommend the experience. After ten days I felt I had made progress. The atmosphere created by Ellie and Jean Pierre made one feel part of an extended family. I shall definitely be taking part again next summer. Oh, and I forgot to mention the tasty organic French country cuisine which gave us the necessary energy to put into our guitar playing.
30th Guitar Course – Ligoure 2006
I have recently returned from a two week Guitar Summer School held at the Chateau de Ligoure en Limousin, near Limoges in France and I am amazed at the progress, which this course has enabled me to make. ...
Add to that the fascination of living in a French Chateau surrounded by immense parkland with speciment trees 25 metres high, spending time with a mixed group of 25 people, ranging from ten years of age to 70, many of whom were very able and gifted guitarists. ....We dined simply at long tables in the large chateau kitchen/dining room on delicious home-cooked French food…
There were three evening concerts given by young guitarists with impressive ability, who have now started successful musical careers….. There was plenty of time for private practice during the hot, summer days and the massive trees provided natural ‘practice rooms’ and refreshing coolness underneath their drooping branches. The level of tuition was high, and I cannot imagine that anyone went away unsatisfied ....
I would had been prepared to pay a high price for such a superb experience, but in fact the total cost was extremely reasonable...