Course Information


Magdalen Farm



TA20 4PA


Our next course will be
from 7th to 13th April 2017

Age and Ability

Ages 9 to 16 years


Musical standard between Grade 2 to Grade 8


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Who's Who at Magdalen Farm Strings


Colin Matthews

Colin Matthews

Colin was born in London in 1946. He studied music at the Universities of Nottingham, and Sussex, where he also taught, and subsequently worked with Britten in Aldeburgh from 1972 to 1976, and with Imogen Holst. He collaborated with Deryck Cooke for many years on the performing version of Mahler's Tenth Symphony. Since the early 1970s his music, ranging from solo piano music through three string quartets and many ensemble and orchestral works, has been played worldwide, with recordings on Unicorn, Virgin, Collins Classics, Deutsche Grammophon/Decca and NMC.

From 1992 to 1999 he was Associate Composer with the London Symphony Orchestra, writing amongst other works a Cello Concerto for Rostropovich. In 1997 his choral/orchestral Renewal, commissioned for the 50th anniversary of BBC Radio 3, was given a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. His ballet score Hidden Variables opened the Royal Ballet's 1999/2000 season, and the large-scale ensemble piece Continuum was toured in Europe by the BCMG and Simon Rattle in 2000. Recent works include Reflected Images for the San Francisco SO, Berceuse for Dresden for the New York Philharmonic at the reopening of the Dresden Frauenkirche, and Turning Point for the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Colin is currently Composer-in-Association with the Hallé, for whom he completed his orchestrations of Debussy’s 24 Preludes in May 2007. His coda to Gustav Holst’s The Planets, Pluto, commissioned by the Hallé in 2001, was received with universal enthusiasm. Future commissions include works for the London Sinfonietta and BBC Symphony Orchestra and a violin concerto for Leila Josefowicz and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Course Administrator

Sarah Gleadell

Sarah Gleadell & Jenny

Sarah Gleadell has been Development Manager at The Magdalen Project since April 2007. Before that she ran a successful £1.5 million building appeal for The Marchant-Holliday School, a Special Needs School near Wincanton. Sarah and her husband moved to Somerset in 2000 from London, where she was an editor at Faber and Faber for several years and more latterly worked for Macmillan Cancer Support, notably as fund raiser for The Pembridge Centre, a hospice in North Kensington.

The idea for Magdalen Farm Strings was inspired by her violinist daughter’s enjoyment of music camps at Pigotts, Buckinghamshire in which she took part during her teenage years. The music-making, companionship and fun she experienced at Pigotts made a lasting impression, and were certainly a major factor in her decision to make music her career.

In the picture above Sarah is posing with Jenny, the Magdalen Farm working horse.