Welcome to Chamber Cellos
Chamber Cello courses are for adult amateur cellists of intermediate to advanced level. From late starters to serious gigging amateurs, Chamber Cellos courses offer individual and collective challenges within a safe, supportive and fun environment where everyone is in it together. Led by professional cellist Kim Mackrell (about Kim) Chamber Cellos courses are all about the joy of playing.
What you can expect on Chamber Cellos residential and non-residential courses
Cello Section Days
Advanced Players Courses
Chamber Music Coaching
Kim has been a professional cellist since graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she studied with Leonard Stein. She was awarded the Cello Prize in her final year. On leaving the Guildhall, ‘islands abroad’ seemed to beckon, firstly to Bermuda where her quartet took up residence and a heavy schedule of teaching and performing. Then to Gran Canaria where she was appointed principal cellist with the Las Palmas Philharmonic, and gave many concerts with a variety of chamber groups. After a very happy time, and equipped with enough spanish to understand jokes but not always the punchline, she returned to Britain.
Kim joined the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra where she stayed for six years, gaining the valuable and very British ability to sight read. Leaving in 1990 to freelance in Manchester she worked with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic , BBC Philharmonic, and Manchester Camerata, and toured for a year with the Kosh Dance/Theatre Co as solo cellist in their production of ‘Dinner Dance’. She returned to London and has since worked with the major London orchestras, most regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Chamber music has always been a great love. For 12 years Kim was a member of the Solarek Piano Trio, performing extensively in Britain and across Europe. Kim has given many recitals as part of a Cello /Piano duo, and in 2002 founded the Pisces String Quartet. In 2009 the Wren Piano Trio was formed and gave highly acclaimed and personally deeply satisfying performances in England and Scotland.
For more years than she can remember Kim has been a member of Paul Robinson’s Harmonie Band. The band of six have toured extensively throughout England and Europe performing Paul’s scores for Silent Film and giving contemporary music concerts. They have run many composition/film workshops in schools, projects which engage the children and give them a new perspective on music, TV and film.
Kim has taught cello for many years, recently becoming interested in the different approaches required to teach children and adults. This interest led her to start a weekly cello group for adult amateurs at her home. It became clear to her that for those people the return to their cellos, after years of raising families or working all hours, had become a bit of a sanctuary. This realisation has been a key factor in the shaping of Chamber Cellos courses and events.
What’s on in 2017
24-26th February 2017
Residential weekend course at Symondsbury Manor, Dorset
Those who attended last year’s course at Symondsbury (www.symondsbury.com) will vouch for the loveliness of this venue. The own room accommodation is comfortable, in some cases luxurious, and the building itself and surroundings are beautiful. The owners are completely relaxed and allow us free rein in the house and wonderful gardens. Not far away is the magnificent beach of West Bay where last year some of us managed an exhilarating drenching from the stormy spray.
The course runs from Friday afternoon/evening to Sunday about 4.30, and will contain the usual joyful mix of fantastic arrangements for full ensemble and some smaller groups, with tutoring by Kim Mackrell. There are solo opportunities for those who wish to perform informally, or sitting-with-a-glass-of-wine-listening opportunities for those who don’t.
Meals are home cooked and delicious, and Marion France (www.intuitivetouch.co.uk) will lead warm ups and stretches as well as providing individual shiatsu massage throughout the weekend for those in need.
The cost of the weekend is £330
Advanced Players Weekend course at St Stephen’s Church, Dulwich (non-residential)
These weekends are a great opportunity for players of Grade 8 level and above to work towards a high quality performance. Unlike the regular courses the players are asked to prepare and practise their parts in advance in order to maximise the rehearsal time spent on ensemble rather than notes.
The programme is made up of music from all genres, with fabulous arrangements from John Kirby and others. There are challenges for all, and the satisfaction of working with other enthusiasts to produce a classy concert.
The weekend’s timing will be 10.00-5.00 Sat & Sun, with a concert on Sunday at 4.00. There will be an extra rehearsal at the church on Friday 31st March for those who can make it
The cost of the weekend is £110 and the course is open to up to 14 players.
17/18th June 2017
Weekend workshop at Kings Place, London
Chamber Cellos has been asked to run a weekend course at this amazing cultural hub in the heart of London, as part of the ‘Cello Unwrapped’ Festival. This is such an exciting opportunity to be able to participate in this award winning series (http://rpsmusicawards.com/index/latest-winners), and be part of the action at this most prestigious of venues.
Do have a look to see what other fantastic events are taking place throughout the festival – http://kingsplace.co.uk/cello
The format of the weekend will be full day rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday, finishing with an informal concert on the Sunday (time tbc)
This weekend is open to players of grade 6 to Advanced level. We will have access to a couple of rehearsal spaces which will give players the opportunity for smaller group work as well as the full ensemble.
As always there will challenges for all, with the parts allocated individually to ensure the challenges are suited to the player. There will be support and problem solving from tutor Kim Mackrell, and the ever present support amongst the players for others.
The cost of the weekend is £180.
I hope you will take advantage of this unique and very exciting chance to be part of the Kings Place hub!
October date tbc
Weekend course at St Stephen’s Church, Dulwich (non-residential)
These weekends have become hugely popular with players of Grade 6 to advanced level. In the beautiful surroundings of St Stephen’s Church, and with enough tea and cake in supply to sink a ship, a wonderful variety of music is rehearsed and eventually performed to a sympathetic and enthusiastic audience of friends and family.
The programme is made up of music from all genres, with fabulous arrangements from John Kirby and others, for which I am always grateful. There are challenges for all, with parts allocated individually to match the level of each player – stratospheric parts for those who wish to take on the challenge, more straightforward parts for the terrified. The support amongst the players is always a feature of these courses, and under Kim’s tuition with tips on technical problems and the art of busking and keeping going, everyone finds that what seemed impossible at the start becomes possible.
The weekend’s timing will be 10.00-5.00, with the informal concert on Sunday at 3.30.
Sunday morning at 10.00 we will be taking the place of the church choir and providing music for the service. The vicar is an ex-professional cellist and this lovely opportunity for another performance has become a regular event at these weekends.
The cost of the weekend is £110 and the course is open to up to 14 players.
The Sunday morning ‘Locals’ (East Dulwich) group for players grade 3-7 has begun after much demand! In spite of it’s name people are travelling from far and wide. Based in East Dulwich it is a fun hour and a half of classical, light, jazz and biscuits. We may even perform to the neighbours one day.
The cost of the session is £10
Violin/Cello duo concert at St Stephen’s
Yesterday was the final concert in a series of three that Jane Sinclair and Kim Mackrell have given in Cardiff, Glastonbury and Dulwich. Another tough but rewarding battle with some great music by Honegger, Boccherini and Kodaly. The violin/cello duo is a fantastic medium, on the face of it too thin in body to fulfil a whole concert programme, but in fact a full and luscious sound when in the hands of imaginative composers.