The Pro Corda national schools’ Festival 2024 is now LIVE!!!

Read below to find out how YOUR school can enter

The Pro Corda Festival is the only national festival to exclusively promote and celebrate chamber music within schools. It is available to all instrumental ensembles between three and nine players. The festival is a vibrant annual celebration of chamber music education in the UK. It is held in January, February and March each year and tours schools around the country through qualifying and regional semifinal rounds, culminating in a finals day at a prodigious performance venue. Each group receives individual coaching with a skilled adjudicator during every round, so the further they progress through the competition the more coaching and experience they receive. The Final usually has a special guest adjudicator and is a celebratory day of chamber music which allows the students the opportunity to play for, and meet, their peers in other schools from around the country.

Some of our amazing festival performers

How does it work?

Each group will be invited to perform at a qualifying round where they will receive a public masterclass and written report from one of Pro Corda’s International Chamber Music coaches. Successful groups will be invited to perform at a semi-final round where they will receive an additional masterclass. The final is adjudicated by a distinguished world-class musician.

All finalist groups receive certificates and five ensembles are selected to be Chamber Champions. These groups will be offered a public performance opportunity in a prestigious venue to be announced. In addition to the Chamber Champions, trophies are awarded to schools for Outstanding Performance, and Outstanding Contribution to Chamber Music Education.

The festival is organised into different age categories: under 12s, under 14s, under 16s and under 19s.

For a full list of rules and regulations please click the link at the bottom of the page.

Some of our 2023 Festival Award Winners

I am so proud of each and every ensemble who performed at the Finals Day at Brighton College. From 10am to 7.30pm we had a non stop feast of some of the finest young musicians in the UK performing an array of stunning repertoire. But there was something extra special about it. The sense of spontaneity and imagination, the way some performances literally made time stand still such was their moving quality, and at other moments real show pieces of diverse genre from jazz to musical comedy. The day had a true feeling of celebration and each and every ensemble was a winner.

The Finals, of course, is just one day out of back to back weeks of exciting schools chamber music across the country in the Pro Corda Schools Festival. It has been the largest and most diverse Festival yet, and there were so many great moments across all the Qualifying and Semi-Final rounds. Well done to ALL schools who took part; and a special welcome to the Festival Family to the new schools and ensembles performing for the first time this year.

Chamber music gives a unique and truly transformative education not just for the young musician and instrumentalist but for the young human being. It teaches sensitive and imaginative leadership alongside a sense of coming  together to create something uniquely beautiful when the sum of collective parts becomes a magical whole of something beyond what those collective parts are. That is the eternal wonder of chamber music; and I’m so delighted it was portrayed so vividly throughout  this year’s Pro Corda Festival.

The 2023 Festival Awards

Cup for best new School entrant

Reading School

CEO Festival Cup

St Albans High School for Girls

Founders Trophy

Sevenoaks School

Chamber Champion Ensembles

U12 King Henry VIII School Clarinet Trio

U14 Brighton College Piano Trio

U16 Sevenoaks Bacewicz Quartet

U19 King’s Wimbledon Staples Trio

U19 Godolphin School Lam Trio

So that’s it for another incredible year of the Pro Corda National Chamber Music Festival for Schools.

If YOUR school would like to get involved next year we will be opening up the 2023 Festival in September 2022. Follow us on social media by clicking the links below and you will be the first to hear all the details of the new Festival.

Thank you to everyone who has participated and helped us along the 2022 Festival journey. You can read Pro Corda CEO, Andrew Quartermain’s thoughts on this year’s Festival by clicking the link below.

How can our school enter?

Schools can enter the Pro Corda Festival by filling in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with all the details of the applicants and the music they will be performing. Please upload the completed spreadsheet in the form below. Our Festival Co-ordinator will then be in touch with all the information you need.

You can download the spreadsheet by clicking the Festival Entry Form.

If you can’t access Microsoft Excel, or have any questions regarding the Festival please contact Pro Corda on 01728 831354.

All Host School Venues and dates can be found at the bottom of this page.

How do I pay the registration fees?

Schools can calculate the total fees for all their groups on the Festival Entry Form above. Payment can then be made via BACS (using the details on the Entry Form). If there is any discrepancy our Festival Co-ordinator will then be in touch.

If you have any further questions regarding the Festival please contact Pro Corda on 01728 831354.

Entry Fees:

U12 Category: £68
U14 Category: £75
U16 Category: £97
U19 Category: £112

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Host School Venues for Qualifying Rounds and Semi-Finals