Chilingirian Quartet Summer School West Dean 2018

Chilingirian String Ensemble Summer School
18 to 22 July 2018

The chance for amateur, young professional or student quartets or ensembles, to work closely with the celebrated Chilingirian Quartet.

Study a repertoire of your own choice, with intensive, yet informal, daily coaching from the inspirational Chilingirian Quartet.

Participate in collaborative ensemble playing sessions in the evenings and attend a public concert by the Chilingirian Quartet. An informal student recital will round off the course on the final afternoon. Generous bursaries are available for music students and young professionals.

Bursaries are available for students aged 16 -24. Download a bursary application form.

To book online please use the link below, please also complete the musical details form at the time of booking and return to West Dean College.

The Chilingirian Quartet will perform Haydn Op 50 No 6, Beethoven Op 135,
Beethoven Op 59 No 1 on Saturday 21 July, 8pm £15. Book the Concert

Find out more about the Summer School and Book Online


Music Appreciation Saturday 18th June 2016 – Mozart & Beethoven masterpieces explored


Music Appreciation day – Mozart & Beethoven Saturday 18th June, Chorleywood, just north of London

Mozart K464 & Beethoven’s Op. 18 No.5

Levon talks about Mozart’s K464 and Beethoven’s Op.18 No.5 which are the subject of an entertaining, stimulating Saturday afternoon in Chorleywood:
“Before Beethoven had even written a quartet, he copied the Finale of Mozart’s A Major into his sketchbook, exclaiming, “Now this is a GREAT work!”  The longest and most Beethovenian of Mozart’s works, perhaps in trying to emulate and please Haydn, Mozart almost changed his style to produce a work of extraordinary creativity and textures. Beethoven paid his homage and tribute to Mozart by echoing many of its ideas”


This day will focus on two great quartets: Mozart K464 And Beethoven Op 18 No 5. The Chilingirians will provide a fascinating and enlightening study of Mozart K464 and Beethoven Op 18 No 5 Quartets, that aims to illustrate what a touching tribute Beethoven paid to Mozart’s most daring quartet!

Chorleywood church venue for Music appreciation day The day is hosted at Chorleywood Free church, a lovely 1905 Arts & Crafts church with excellent acoustics. The venue has disabled access and facilities. There is on street free parking. Talk, audience questions, musical illustration and an informal performance of the two pieces by the Chilingirian Quartet.

Saturday 18th June 2016
10.30am – 4.30pm, Chorleywood Free Church
Cost £53
Students & under 18s £25



10.30am Registration & Coffee
11.00am Morning session
12.45pm Lunch
2.00pm Afternoon session
3.15pm Tea
3.45pm Informal recital 4.30pm Day ends

Pay using our secure Paypal facility button below. (Includes lunch, tea/ coffee and booking fee). Venue is disabled accessible including facilities

Book your ticket

 Price £53.00

Purchase your ticket using our secure Paypal button (right)

Prefer to pay by cheque?
Send a cheque for £53 payable to:
“Levon Chilingirian”
C/o 19 Holden Road
London N12 8HP

 Reduced Rate Student Tickets

Price £25.00


The venue is a 10 mins walk from Chorleywood train station via the tube (Metropolitan line from Baker Street) or The Chiltern line from Marylebone

Chilingirian Quartet West Dean Music Summer School 12-16 July 2017

music summer school by the Chilingirian QuartetMusic Summer school 12-16th July 2017

Our Music Summer school for string quartets and ensembles takes place at West Dean College each year. Since its first year in 1983, many quartets and ensembles – student, amateur and professional – have benefitted from the immersive and supportive learning experience offered on the summer school. Many have used the course as a final preparation for important international competitions and concert engagements.

Generous bursaries offered by the College..

for quartets/ ensembles of music students or young professional players.
– Application deadline 30 April 2017

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A maximum of seven string quartets or ensembles are accepted to the course, each year.
Each of the participating quartets/ensembles enjoy:
 Concentrated study and daily coaching sessions with each tutor
 A practice room allocated to each quartet/ensemble for the week
 Performance opportunities and student concerts
 Informal playing with tutors
 Complimentary tickets to both concerts given by the Chilingirian Quartet, during the week
“The quartet are wonderful teachers… the coaching sessions are demanding, but laughter filled. We get great ideas and use them throughout the year. The joy of playing quartets is paramount. In the evenings we socialize in the bar area discussing topics ranging from old music recordings to current football stars. All four are wise, knowlegable and funny” (student feedback)


The Chilingirian Quartet give a concert on Saturday 8pm 15 July 2017 featuring Mozart ‘The Hunt’,
K 458, Elgar Quartet, Beethoven Op 18 No 6. Additional tickets may be purchased via the Events page at Event code QT7256 £15

These are in addition to the performance opportunities offered to the summer school students during the week.

Manoug Parikian, my teacher by Levon Chilingirian

Levon playing darts Glengorm Castle, Isle of Mull between rehearsals

Me and my teacher: Levon Chilingirian and Manoug Parikian

When I began taking violin lessons with my uncle, I was forced to re-examine every aspect of my playing

Manoug ParikianHe was strict but he encouraged his students to find themselves. He also had a wonderful patience. Like most people of that age I had a feeling that I had a lot to learn, but at the same time I felt I knew much more than I did. But even if I played something that was patently not in good taste he would use good humour to try and push me in the right direction. He would never be tyrannical – he was much more gentle and subtle. At the time I thought, ‘oh no, this is nonsense’, but I would find out years later that something he said was right on the ball.

I spent a year studying with Manoug Parikian after I finished at the Royal College of Music in 1969. I had just won the BBC Beethoven duo competition with Clifford Benson and I wanted to find out more about music, how to interpret different styles. I loved the way Parikian played. He was an outstanding musician, an outstanding violinist. He was a great inspiration and had great integrity and a marvellous ability to change style from one composer to the next.

He insisted that I stop freelancing immediately. He said, ‘I won’t teach you unless you give everything up except recitals’. He wanted me to thoroughly re-examine my violin playing and my concentration on working and preparing repertoire.
The violin was Manoug’s life. He was in almost weekly correspondence with Joseph Szigeti about things Hungarian and music in general: they would try to trump each other with the most original fingering for certain passages. He was also in touch with lots of contemporary composers: he gave many premieres and was at the forefront of contemporary music. And I think very few people come near to him in the interpretation of Mozart: his articulation and lightness is a model for me.
Manoug was also my uncle, and neither us would have dreamt of speaking to each other in anything other than Armenian. But the moment we started a lesson we spoke English: I’m sure he decided that this was work not social.

(Article first published The Strad, 2014, Joanna Pieters)

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The Chilingirian Quartet is one of the most famous names in British chamber music with an international reputation forged over 4 decades. Formed in 1971 by Levon Chilingirian, Mark Butler, Simon Rowland-Jones and Philip De Groote, all recent students at the RCM, the quartet brings a wealth of musical history, tradition and relationships with the greatest names in world chamber music from the 20th century and this informs their practice today.
Tradition, subtlety, verve and insight characterise their approach. Levon’s early influences include Manoug Parikian, Hugh Bean and musicologist Hans Keller. Levon’s career was launched winning the first prizes in both the 1969 BBC Beethoven Competition and the 1971 Munich Duo International Competition. Stephen Orton studied with William Pleeth, is principle cello with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Susie Mészáros studied with Sándor Végh, was principle viola with Camerata Salzburg making her debut at Wigmore Hall in a duo with Yehudi Menuhin in 1977, winning the Gold Medal at the Royal Over-Seas League competition. Ronald Birks studied with Alexandre Moskovsky, formerly of the Hungarian String Quartet. In 1971, he was invited to become second violin of the Lindsay String Quartet, with whom he remained until the quartet’s retirement in 2005, becoming a member of the Chilingirian Quartet in 2009.
Great performers and educators all, their precision, ideas and the wellspring of their art is firmly rooted in the great middle european tradition of chamber music performance.
The members of the Chilingirian Quartet will be discussing and reflecting on chamber music, the great works and the elements of performance at the highest level in podcasts, video interviews and articles. Join us.

Film: Mendelssohn on Mull Festival nurturing young musicians

Mendelssohn on Mull festival

is a Scottish chamber music festival which takes place every year in the first week of July. The festival has been running for over 26 years is one of the most exceptional music experiences in the world. Certainly one of friendliest. It’s a simple idea – to bring a new generation of musicians into contact with seasoned professional mentors in relaxed and stunning surroundings, far from the treadmill and stresses of the professional music circuit.  They workshop beautiful music and then perform a series of free concerts in venues across Mull, Iona and in Oban.

The festival has a unique character and this short film illustrates its value and appeal for all those taking part as audience or players. The Mendelssohn on Mull Trust has also reinvigorated music making for young children on the island through its support of workshops which are now oversubscribed every month. Beside Levon, Susie  Mészáros and Stephen Orton from the Chilingirian Quartet perform and mentor alongside other fine chamber musicians including Marcia Crayford, Gaby Lester, Jessica Beeston


Music Appreciation Day: Beethoven & Mozart 22 May 2016

Chilingirian Quartet Mozart Beethoven music appreciation day 22 May 2016

“Now that is a great piece!” This was Beethoven’s comment when a visitor noticed he had copied the entire finale of Mozart’s A Major Quartet in his sketchbook. Join the charismatic Chilingirian Quartet for an enlightening study of Mozart K464 and Beethoven Op 18 No 5 Quartets, illustrating the touching tribute Beethoven paid to Mozart’s most daring quartet. Informal performances will complete the day.


This day will focus on two great quartets: Mozart K464 And Beethoven Op 18 No 5.
Join the charismatic Chilingirian Quartet for an enlightening study of Mozart K464 and Beethoven Op 18 No 5 Quartets, that aims to illustrate what a touching tribute Beethoven paid to Mozart’s most daring quartet!
18103-west-dean-college-exterior-4-Held in the beautiful surroundings of West Dean College, West Sussex is internationally recognised for conservation and creative arts. It has one of the greatest restored gardens open to the public. A unique place to study, visit or stay, it is a centre of excellence, creativity and tranquility. Underpinning it all is the vision of founder and Surrealist patron Edward James, connecting today’s students and visitors with a rich heritage of arts, craft and creative possibility.


A subject focused course that is delivered to suit any level of experience from beginner to advanced practitioner. A structured start is followed by guided independent practice.


(provisional – this may be adapted by the tutors during the course)

10.30am Registration and Coffee
10.45–12.30am Morning session
12.45pm Lunch
2.00pm Afternoon session
3.30pm Tea
4.00pm Informal recital 5–5.30pm Course ends

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Music Appreciation Day: Bartók & Beethoven 23 April 2016

music appreciation day Bartok and Beethoven with Chilingirian Quartet April 2016

Music appreciation Saturday 23rd April 2016 – Bartók and Beethoven

This event is suitable for all levels of music appreciation. A one day course focusing on two contrasting quartet’s: Bartok’s Third Quartet and Beethoven Op 18 No 1.

“Daring and virtuosic music”

There is no better introduction to Bartok’s music than his Third Quartet!
An amazingly concentrated work of 15 minutes with two sections of wildly contrasting music. Mysterious sounds are set alongside wild glissandi and Hungarian Folk Dances!

We complement Bartok with Beethoven’s Op 18 No 1, his first calling card to the Viennese public announcing that a new and revolutionary Quartet composer has arrived at the end of the 18th Century! Daring and virtuosic music including a depiction of the Vault Scene from Romeo and Juliet.

We’ll be hosting more music appreciation days this year. Sign up to our mailing list to find out more details in advance or drop your email details on the comment form at the bottom of this page.


(provisional – this may be adapted by the tutors during the course)

10.30am Registration and Coffee 10.45–12.30am Morning session
12.45pm Lunch
2.00pm Afternoon session 3.30pm Tea
4.00pm Informal recital 5–5.30pm Course ends
Cost £72

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