Pro Corda's History

“Pamela Spofforth was an extraordinary and inspiring teacher of the violin and, with the cellist, Elizabeth Hewlins, brought about nothing less than a transformation of the playing of chamber music in this country. Pro Corda (the National School for Young Chamber Music Players), which they founded in 1969 and which continues to flourish, has inspired two generations of young musicians with the joys and challenges of playing string quartets and “Spoff”, as she was known by many pupils and friends, gave unselfishly of her time, energy and money to that end throughout her working life.

In the 1960s and ’70s Pamela was the violin teacher at Woking County Grammar School for girls. Her frustration with the low standards of string-playing and lack of support for talented students within the state school system led to the formation of Pro Corda, and the first course of approximately 25 students took place for a week at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Stoke D’Abernon in the summer of 1969. Other schools were subsequently used and the number of pupils grew until in 1977 the Trustees managed to raise sufficient funds to purchase Leiston Abbey House in Suffolk for £14,000. Pamela eventually sold her much-loved house in Guildford and moved to Leiston.

In 1996 she received an MBE in the Queen’s 70th birthday Honours for services to music. She continued to oversee the growth of Pro Corda after the death of Betty Hewlins in 1990 but a debilitating stroke brought a close to her working life. She died on 4 December 2008.”

Adrian Butterfield, 2009

In 2019 Pro Corda celebrated it’s 50th birthday…

Leiston Abbey
Pro Corda's Vision
Meet the Team