Piano Sanctuary - a film

Click on our short film to get the true flavour of Piano Sanctuary. A very special place, a unique programme , and tailor made for each adult learner’s wishes and desired outcomes; Piano Sanctuary really does offer something for everyone…..

To find our more about Piano Sanctuary, our Online Courses, Retreats and Podcasts please click the button. From there you can also get in touch and get involved. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Chamber Music Courses
Leiston Abbey

Leading the Way - a film

Please enjoy this beautiful film, made possible by the Max Reinhardt Trust and produced by Veronica Reinhardt and Graham Maughan. Filmed throughout the 6th of our summer chamber series it tells not only the story of the magic of Pro Corda, but the very special coming together once again of our incredible family of students after lockdown. The film really does speak for itself and will hopefully resonate with all who are part of Pro Corda, and many who are not yet.

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Chamber Music Courses
Leiston Abbey

BBC Children in Need & our Virtual Theatre

BBC Children in Need have been at the heart of enabling Pro Corda’s sustained “Create Together, Wherever!” digital programme for our many students with special needs over lockdown. Families, parents and siblings have been at the heart of this programme. Pro Corda Create Together has always been rooted in the whole family and working with parents and carers, and the lockdown period obviously brought this network of constant communication and sharing closer together still.

Our families were constantly telling us how the online provision was a lifeline at the time when so many resources for children and young adults with additional needs were cut off – and not least many of their schools and colleges.

The BBC asked us to start filming and producing video diaries to chart this journey, and have put these together in a poignant film they have shared across BBC and Pudsey social media. Alongside the coverage Pro Corda regularly receives from BBC Radio (with a BBC London feature next week for example) and also our coverage on BBC Look East, this films adds to the range of films charting Pro Corda’s work across all its programmes during the national crisis.

Watch the BBC film here:

Our relationship with Pudsey himself goes back over 15 years, when our programme for special educational needs first started. As Children in Need itself celebrates 40 years this November, we are so grateful for all the financial help the BBC have given Create Together since its inception, and the belief the BBC has placed in our unique work in this area which itself lies at the heart of Pro Corda.

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Chamber Music Courses
Leiston Abbey

The return of Chamber Music - on every level!

One of the things that struck me the most during the revised summer course season was just how powerful and needed the emotional togetherness of chamber music is right now. As our summer course students returned after nearly 6 months away from their schools and the familiar structures of their normal lives, the feeling of togetherness was palpable, the connection within their ensembles electric, the joy on their faces magical.

Pro Corda’s summer courses also demonstrated another crucial practical fact at this ongoing time of national crisis (with new government regulations coming into force at the very moment I write this.) Chamber music coaching and performance is safe. It can be done in a suitably distanced way that does not impact the physical togetherness of the group. Its coaching can be no less engaged and invigorating, and its educational impact can be no less profound.

Andrew Quartermain
CEO & Artistic Director

We are of course lucky at Leiston Abbey with the larger teaching spaces we have. But we want now to work with all our partner schools and others because small ensemble instrumental performance is something that can resound once again in classrooms and school halls across the country – just as it is already at Leiston Abbey – with risk properly mitigated, and educational and artistic results once again enlivened in a way which just cannot not (and will never be able to be) done online.

That is why we now go full steam ahead. Ensuring safety for all will be our number one priority at all times. But we must continue to bring each and every Pro Corda course and programme back in person and we will.

Some of this summer’s participants enjoying our lockdown courses and concerts

The chamber courses have returned, and our full programme announced for 2020-21 is now live. Our London Saturday School “Young String Experience” returns in October. Also in October we’ll see our first outreach workshops – all built on the core principles of chamber music – back in person. Here we continue to deliver a full programme online (which can be done very successfully) and to ensure we reach ALL our outreach students, including those we cannot bring back together in one space right now.

So as ever its about being adaptable, spontaneous, and imaginative – all the things chamber music teaches us! During lockdown I wrote about Pro Corda’s principle of taking chamber music out of the chamber. To unleash its potent properties on ALL in society who can benefit the most from them. The pandemic has propelled us to do that all the more. Both at Leiston Abbey and across the country – and watch this space for a brand new national Pro Corda schools programme to be announced.

But now is also the time to be safely back “in the chamber” where we can as well. In larger safe spaces meeting together once again in person to experience the thrill of the emotional togetherness chamber music brings at a time when we are still forced significantly apart via national rules. I will never forget as long as I live the joy on the faces of our students this last summer. That must be just the beginning of our journey to use chamber music as a healing tool and an instigating force for good not just in the music world, not even just in the education world, but in society in general.

Statement from our CEO

As many of you know, when we re-opened our doors at Leiston Abbey on 4th July we were the first course provider in the UK to do so. We were also one of the first venues, nationally to bring public concerts back. Now 11 courses, and 4 concerts in after the reopening, the revised systems we have in place to make both our residential courses and concerts safe are working well. We review all systems at all times. From the revised catering arrangements to increased deep cleans, my first priority at all times is the safety of our ever growing Pro Corda family.

As an education setting and concert venue, we are able to continue in exactly the same way we have since July within the new Government rules. I will be putting a few extra measures in place:

  • Concert audiences will be seated in safely distanced pods of 6.
  • We will continue our stringent registration processes on first days of courses, and also as people arrive at the box office for concerts.

We’ve announced our full course programme for 2020-21 – for now with more shorter courses for smaller numbers to allow for single bedroom occupancy. I hope that by Easter 2021 we can return to the traditional format of larger 8 day courses. But we will serve all our incredible Pro Corda students with this month and next also seeing the return in person of YSE, our London Saturday School, and our Create Together workshops for children with additional needs (the latter continuing to run online to ensure we reach everyone.) We will continue to have sensible, workable and safe covid policies in place across all areas and, as ever, please do get in touch if you have queries or concerns.

Thank you to you all for all your ongoing support.

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Chamber Music Courses
Leiston Abbey

Create Together, Wherever! Autumn 2020

We’re thrilled to announce our Create Together, Wherever! series for the Autumn! During the Autumn and through to Christmas, we’ll continue to see our incredible Pro Corda Create Together family online – AND we’ll be carefully and safely bringing back in-person workshops.

Announcing the new autumn Create Together, Wherever! programme.

Andrew, Laura, Kelly, Elly, Dan & Noel are all super excited to announce the new autumn Create Together, Wherever! programme.

We hope that you can all make space in your diaries at 5:00pm each Friday for Pro Corda workshops. We are going to take one show each month and explore it through drama, creative musicianship and yoga and then perform together on the 4th Friday of each month! We will be running workshops every Friday up to the 18th December with a break for half term on Friday 30th October.


Join Elly exploring the characters and plots of the show

Friday 2nd October


Friday 6th November


Join Andrew, Laura & Noel to create new music inspired by the show

Friday 18th September


Friday 9th October


Friday 13th November


Friday 4th December


Join Kelly exploring creative yoga practise inspired by the show

Friday 11th September


Friday 16th October


Friday 20th November


Friday 11th December


Join the whole Pro Corda team for SHOWTIME!

Friday 25th September


Friday 23rd October


Friday 27th November


Friday 18th December

Join the workshops via the website front page – the link will go live at 4:45pm every Friday. Also, keep checking the website for singing & signing and dance videos from Kelly & Laura. We would love for everyone to join in with as many of the activities as they would like to – creativity has NO LIMITS!

Don’t forget you can access tons of fantastic content from some truly wonderful musicals that the Create Together, Wherever! cast have been putting on since March. Click through to Musical Theatre and Go Create to discover more.

Safely bringing back our in-person Create Together, Wherever! courses.

And starting on 17th October at Leiston Abbey we will be bringing back our weekend Create Together courses, as one-day workshops to start with. This Friday also sees the resumption of our Create Together workshops at our partner schools. Pro Corda will be in action at Sunnydown School in Caterham on Friday!”

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Chamber Music Courses
Leiston Abbey

2020-21 Course Season

Following all the guidelines, we’ve had a wonderful series of courses this summer – it’s been fantastic to hear chamber music, laughter and joy coming from every corner of Leiston Abbey!

Now, with just over 2 weeks to the start of September, we cannot wait to announce Pro Corda’s 2020-21 course season. Thanks to the whole Pro Corda family coming together, Pro Corda has been able to restart its courses ahead of many other providers which – together with the support of key funders like Arts Council England and BBC Children and Need – has formed part of a very intensive period of courses and online programmes during the national crisis. There is no let up and we plan for 2021 to be our golden year. Annabel and Andrew will be writing to all families in time for the start of September and watch this space for more details on our exciting 2020-21 season!

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Chamber Music Courses
Leiston Abbey

24hr Pianothon 2020

Pianothon 2020 will take place from 6pm on Thursday this week and will run right through the night to Friday evening at 6pm! The 24 hour piano concert with Andrew Quartermain will feature special guests and is part of the Piano Sanctuary program run by Pro Corda. Indeed the last hour of the Pianothon will be broadcast live as Episode 20 of Piano Sanctuary On Air on Friday evening at 6pm.

The Pianothon is all about a very special group of people – Pro Corda’s incredible Create Together cast who have been performing every single week during lockdown on the Virtual Theatres and creative workshops.

This week we will be on to show number 20 on those Virtual Theatres, having performed a wide variety of amazing musicals from Wizard of Oz to Dear Evan Hansen, Moana to Les Miserables – it’s been an incredible journey so far.

Pro Corda’s provision for children and young adults with additional needs will continue digitally throughout August and then with a dual delivery of digital workshops and getting participants back together as soon as it is safe to do so. That all means a significant increase of resources, so Pianothon is part of the crowdfunding campaign raising £10,000 to allow us to do that.

To get involved, and be part of Pianothon 2020, click the button to donate.

You can also be part of Pianothon 2020 by tuning in at any point from 6pm on Thursday through to 6pm on Friday. The whole event will be broadcast live on Pro Corda’s YouTube channel. The final hour will then be broadcast as episode 20 of our weekly podcast Piano Sanctuary.

You can link through to the live streams below.

6pm, 6th August - 6pm, 7th August
YouTube LIVE
5pm, 7th August
Piano Sanctuary On Air Podcast

This is an extraordinary event put on for an extraordinary group of people. Please do whatever you can to help us. Thank you.

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Chamber Music Courses
Leiston Abbey

Pro Corda secures purchase of Leiston Abbey freehold

After nearly 3 years of negotiations (following the Church’s wish to dispose of its long standing freehold stake in the Leiston Abbey site) we’re thrilled to announce that a fully funded deal has been struck and Pro Corda will now be the proud owners of the Lady Chapel, the Abbey ruins, the entrance drive, and car park.

From Pro Corda’s CEO Andrew Quartermain: “This is a major development and the best possible “welcome back” present to all our Pro Corda community returning to Leiston Abbey as we re-start courses. Owning the freehold (to add to Pro Corda’s existing ownership of the other buildings on site) allows us to do so many things. We can develop new and exciting rehearsal and teaching spaces, we can instigate new and imaginative aspects of the visitor experience for those across the world who visit our site each year, and we can also enhance our own safeguarding of the site together with its security for all our Pro Corda students.”

This whole deal has been made possible by two private funders who will be recorded with a special plaque in due course. We are so immensely grateful to them for their support.

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Chamber Music Courses
Leiston Abbey

Leiston Abbey re-opens it's doors

This weekend sees Pro Corda’s first steps back to its courses.

We will be the first course provider of our kind in the country to be back, starting with two small “Piano Sanctuary Retreat” weekends followed by the revised summer series as of 21st July.

From our CEO Andrew: “I’m thrilled we are leading the way bringing residential courses back. Each step we take is within the full boundaries of safety and will be done in the right way at the right time. It is vital also that we continue to operate – for as long as it takes – our “Dual Pro Corda.” Not all our participants will be able to be back with us in person right now, and some will not be able to return for many months. So we will meet that challenge and make sure we are there for them in equal measure. My thanks as ever to a wonderful team. We cannot wait to welcome you back!”

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Chamber Music Courses
Leiston Abbey