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Strings in Spring

‌Thursday 6 April to Sunday 9 April 2017

Details for the 2017 course are being finalised.  The information below relates to the 2016 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, quartet rehearsal sessions and working with the Fitzwilliams in a united string ensemble.  Additional activities include a public recital given by the FSQ, an optional dinner at the Byre Theatre restaurant and a mix of organised and more casual, social and musical activities.  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.

Lucy ponytail 220 wide

Course Programme

The main focus of this course is string quartet coaching, given by the members of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet and guest tutors Christopher George and John Todd. (Unfortunately Susie Mészáros has had to withdraw from this year's course.)  Individual applicants will be placed in quartets together with others of similar levels of ability and experience. Each quartet will usually study two works over the duration of the course and repertoire will be allocated soon after the closing date in order to give everyone a chance to prepare their parts in advance.  Pre-formed quartets are welcome to make their own choice of repertoire. Each group will receive seven quartet coaching sessions and these will be supplemented with formal rehearsal periods, informal sight-reading periods and two string ensemble sessions. The Fitzwilliam String Quartet will give a public recital on the first night of the course and there will also be an optional evening meal on the Saturday. For more details, please view the 2016 Course Programme (coming soon).


The closing date for applications is Thursday 17 December 2015.  The course fee is £235 per person. This includes all group tuition, concert and lecture admission, refreshments 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 from pre-formed string quartets: discounted rate of £215 per person
  • Applications received by Thursday 5 November 2015: discounted rate of £215 per person


You can apply online here.  Alternatively you can download an application form Strings in Spring 2016 application form (Word, 798 KB)


For participants travelling 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.  Visit and you will be able to find participating establishments offering a 15% discount to Strings in String participants. Please contact us if you require any further assistance or advice.

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 cafés and restaurants serving a wide variety of cuisines to suit every pocket, all of which are within easy walking distance of the course venues. 

2015 group standing 530 wide


"This was a memorable and enriching weekend.  The members of the quartet were inspirational, each in a different way, and this made the experience all the more valuable.  Perhaps one of them can sort out my bow arm!" - John Phillips

"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.

See our terms and conditions here: Terms and Conditions 2016 (PDF, 47 KB).

SiS 2014 ensemble Lucy 2 260 wide

John Todd

John Todd was the cellist in the Coull String Quartet for 15 years. With them he gave concerts and broadcasts throughout the world, made over 20 CDs, and fulfilled the role of Quartet in Residence at the University of Warwick. As a soloist he appeared in recitals and concertos in the UK, Europe and the Far East, and recorded for BBC Radio. He also played in and directed two cello ensembles, Quattrocelli and Red Barn Cellos. Prior to that he was an associate member of the London Symphony Orchestra, guest principal of the Sadlers Wells ballet orchestra, and co-principal cellist in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, as well as freelancing with ensembles including the Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Kent Opera and Gemini. In his early career John lived in Switzerland, performing with the Lucerne Festival Strings, and, as principal cellist, Bach Kollegium Basel.

John taught cello and chamber music at Birmingham Conservatoire for over 20 years, for 10 of which he was Head of Strings. He is a member of the Associated Board’s diploma examining panel.

Strings in Spring FSQ portrait

SiS 2014 formal pose

St Andrews Harbour

Map of Scotland with St Andrews marked