Skip navigation to content

Strings in Spring

‌Update: The next course will take place from Thursday 9 April to Sunday 12 April 2015

Further details about the course and how to apply will be available soon. If you would like to register your interest please contact the Music Centre Manager, Helen Gregory:


Please find below information about the highly successful 2014 course:

Come to the beautiful and historic town of St Andrews and immerse yourself in four days of string chamber music making with the renowned Fitzwilliam String Quartet. Enjoy quartet coaching as well as rehearsal sessions and working with the Fitzwilliam String Quartet in a united string ensemble.  Other activities include a public recital given by the Fitzwilliam String Quartet and post-concert reception, a topical lecture and also an optional dinner out in St Andrews.  Pre-formed string quartets and individual string players of a level equivalent to grade 6 or above are welcome to join this intensive course, combining the pleasures of great music, great company and a matchless location.

Course Programme

The main focus of this course is string quartet coaching, given by the members of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet. Individual applicants will be placed together in quartets with others of similar levels of ability and experience, and repertoire will be allocated prior to the course to give everyone a chance to prepare their parts in advance. Pre-formed quartets are welcome to come with their own choice of repertoire. Each quartet will receive numerous quartet coaching sessions over the duration of the course, and these will be supplemented with formal rehearsal periods, string orchestra sessions and a topical lecture. The Fitzwilliam String Quartet will be giving a public recital on the first night of the course and there will also be an optional dinner outing on the Saturday evening. For more details, please view the 2014 Course Programme.


The course fee is £215 per person. This includes all group tuition, admission to concerts and lectures, tea/coffee/soft drinks throughout the course and a light lunch on the final day.  There are discounts available for those applying early and/or those applying as pre-formed string quartets:

  • Applications received by Thursday 16th January 2014: discounted rate of £200 per person
  • Applications from pre-formed string quartets: discounted rate of £200 per person
  • Applications received by Thursday 16th January 2014 from pre-formed string quartets: discounted rate of £190 per person


You can apply online here.  Alternatively you can download an application form String in Spring application form 2014 (Word, 795 KB).


For participants traveling from beyond Fife, the University of St Andrews Music Centre will be happy to assist in arranging accommodation through our special relationship with various hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments. Please contact us for further information.

Food and Drink

The course fee includes coffee, tea and soft drinks during the day and a light lunch on the final day. For the remaining mealtimes, St Andrews is well supplied with cafes and restaurants serving a wide variety of cuisines to suit every pocket, all of which are within easy walking distance of the course venue. 

The Fitzwilliam String Quartet

Lucy Russell - Marcus Barcham-Stevens - Alan George - Heather Tuach

Now well into its fifth decade, the Fitzwilliam String Quartet is among the longest established string quartets in the world.  The current line-up combines founding member and violist Alan George with a new generation of performers, violinists Lucy Russell and Marcus Barcham-Stevens, and cellist Heather Tuach.  International recognition came early for FSQ, as the first group to record and perform all fifteen of Shostakovich's string quartets, drawing on the players' personal connection with the composer.  Today, the FSQ performs a wide and diverse range of music from the late 17th century to the present day.  It remains one of the few quartets to play on both historical and modern instrument set-ups and has brought over 50 new works to the repertoire.  Its involvement in 2013 celebrating Britten's anniversary, and in 2012 playing chamber works of Delius and Grainger, reflect the players’ enthusiasm for using anniversaries to promote less familiar music, and their wish to elevate English music alongside that of Russia and Vienna as principal areas of the Quartet's speciality.  The Quartet has performed regularly across Britain, Europe, North America, the Far East, and Southern Africa, as well as making many award winning recordings for Decca, Linn, and Divine Art.


"The enthusiasm of the Fitzwilliam Quartet was contagious, their coaching was both astute and painless, and being in St Andrews (best ice-cream shop anywhere among other delights) was the icing on a very tasty musical and social cake." - Toby Lipman

"My abiding memory of Strings in Spring is that it not only boosted my confidence in playing chamber music, but also that it was enjoyable and great fun." - Frith Robb 

"We got some great advice on playing Mozart and Beethoven, as well as the unforgettable opportunity to play the first movement of Schubert’s ‘Rosamunde’ quartet with Lucy Russell playing second violin!" - Jessica Wyatt

Further Information

Feel free to contact Rachel Dyker, FSQ Courses Administrator by emailing or Helen Gregory, Music Centre Manager by emailing, writing to Strings in Spring, University of St Andrews Music Centre, Younger Hall, North Street, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9AJ, or calling +44 (0)1334 462226 with any questions you have.

Strings in Spring FSQ portrait

SiS 2013 formal pose

St Andrews Harbour

Map of Scotland with St Andrews marked