Project information

East Neuk Retreat for Gifted Young Musicians 2018

10 outstanding young classical players from around the world come together for 9 days of intensive chamber music coaching and mentoring by 5 exceptional musicians, culminating in concerts at East Neuk Festival . One of them called it "one of the most special and best musical experiences I’ve had.

June 2018 - July 2018

Charity information: East Neuk Festival

East Neuk Festival logo
  • Need


    Chamber music is a great treasure of the world, but young artists drawn to it face challenges in developing skills in it. Often educational establishments steer them towards orchestral, educational or solo careers. Many chamber music courses and seminars are expensive. Later, life as a chamber musician can be difficult as fees are low, management elusive and opportunities to perform limited. By offering this inspiring encounter with acclaimed established musicians we aim to encourage them.


    The East Neuk Retreat seeks to encourage, support and inspire young musicians who are already demonstrating a gift for chamber music by offering a matchless opportunity to spend time with outstanding players to learn specific repertoire and more general kinds of musical wisdom that will influence their work for years to come. Subsequently we stay in touch with the young artists and will find opportunities for them to appear at the Festival, thereby deepening the benefit.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To nurture young musical talent with a passion for chamber music.


    » Create a retreat where young musicians can work with world-class musicians in an intensive schedule of rehearsals and master-classes.
    » Course leaders, such as the esteemed violinist Alexander Janiczek, will guide and instruct the participants through rehearsals and master-classes.

    What success will look like

    The concerts given by the players immediately demonstrate this. We also ask the young musicians and the coaches to assess the impact and value of The Retreat to them in feedback.

    Aim 2

    Provide performance opportunities for participants.


    » The young players perform alongside their coaches and mentors in at least 2 concerts as part of the award winning East Neuk Festival.

    What success will look like

    Retreat concerts are an annual feature of the festival programme offering this opportunity. Additionally we seek onward opportunities as appropriate and keep records of these

    Aim 3

    The raison d'etre of the Festival is to nurture performance and this great chamber music tradition.


    » Give young musicians the guidance and confidence to take on new chamber music challenges in a supportive environment.
    » The Retreat aims to remain in contact with the young artists, seeking further opportunities for them as appropriate both at ENF and through advocacy.

    What success will look like

    The ENF performances demonstrate the success of this; additionally we ask participants and coaches to feedback to us on how effectively The Retreat enhanced their playing.

  • Impact


    The specific and trackable change we aim at is that musicians who first come to the ENF in The Retreat return over time as their musical lives progress, and they in turn enrich the lives of other young musicians. Each year we identify 1-3 Retreat musicians who are extra-special and stay in touch with them. The long term benefit we am to achieve is that a great music repertoire continues to be performed and understood by musicians and audiences of future generations.


    The primary risk is artistic: the young players come from many nations and cultures; they are of ages between 18 and 30. They have not met before but must share a very intense and personal experience. This carries the risk of artistic, culture and personality clashes: but this is innate to the project. Our coaches manage such situations within the musical process and to date we have had no experience of conflict.


    East Neuk Festival's report back to donors includes a summary of activities, unedited feedback from the participants and Artistic Director, a media summary, and final income/expenditure statement.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £50,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 artist/ participant costs This includes the leader fees, accommodation and catering for the Retreat
      £20,000 production costs Venue & piano hire, producer, roadie, admin and concert costs

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Box office income £7,000 Conditional
    Participant fees £2,000 Conditional
    Anonymous Donor £10,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    East Neuk Retreat will take place in the peaceful and quiet East Neuk of Fife, where the musicians are freed to give themselves over to a transformational and intense musical experience. We wish for them to be able to absorb themselves in music without any concert for anything except making the most of the week.


    East Neuk Festival has grown from an audience of 700 in 2004 to over 30,000 in 2015. It is now one of the main chamber music festivals in the UK and is drawing an audience from mainland Europe and increasingly North America. We operate in an area not well served with world class performances and we enliven communities further by on-street art and music.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    East Neuk Festival is an award winning chamber music festival in the UK: it is able to offer the quality of management and production required. Violinist Alexander Janiczek leads The Retreat musically. He has been at the forefront of music making in Europe for 3 decades, has appeared at the Salzburg, Edinburgh and Marlboro festivals. As a teacher and coach, he has excellent experience of nurturing young talent, and connections to other acclaimed coaches who join him at The Retreat

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Alexander Janiczek

    Retreat leader, violinist and teacher.

    Svend Brown

    Artistic Director of the East Neuk Festival who will deliver the Retreat with the award-winning East Neuk Festival team.

An amazing week to focus on what we all really want to do, but never get the chance! Time to learn lots of chamber music, have an amazing time playing with a wide range of individuals and time to get to know other young musicians in a similar walk of life :-)

Retreat Participant 2015 [anonymous feedback]