Alan Davis 1945-2021

Alan Davis at NORVIS

We are very sad to report that Alan Davis passed away this week. Alan was a renowned recorder teacher, composer and player, tutor at NORVIS for 40 years until 2018. A marvellous concert of his music at NORVIS in that year, organised by Jane Rumney, celebrated Alan’s contribution to the course and to the recorder world. Despite his loss of sight, he remained a demanding and wonderful teacher, committing so much to memory. His legacy is the playing and teaching of his many eminent students and his huge array of compositions.

Our condolences and love to Eira and to their family. Much fuller remembrances than this short note will follow in due course.

NORVIS 50 dates for 2022

We are delighted to remind you that NORVIS will be taking place in 2022 from Saturday 30th July to Saturday 6th August at our new home, Barnard Castle School.

We will launch NORVIS more formally in November and will update the website with the 2022 details for music, the daily programme and how to apply to join the course as it becomes available over the next couple of months.

Barnard Castle School

NORVIS postponed to 2022

The Trustees of NORVIS announce, with deepest regret, that we have had to decide to postpone NORVIS 50 once again owing to the risks posed by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

We worked tirelessly as a committee in conjunction with our Musical Director and wonderful team of 12 freelance tutors and with our new venue, Barnard Castle School, to create a COVID-safe early music summer school for our 70 or so participants.

Regrettably, the spiralling infection rate, relaxation of legislation and guidance this week and the continuing need to self-isolate have meant that we couldn’t reach a sufficient level of confidence. What a disappointment not hold our fiftieth wonderful NORVIS week this year.

We have written to everybody who was booked to come to NORVIS explaining the situation and are grateful for so many replies expressing understanding and good wishes to everyone.

NORVIS will be back next year – and it will be wonderful: put the dates in your diary: 30th July – 6th August, 2022.

With all our best wishes to you for good health and good music-making.

Music list now online

We are delighted to publish the 2021 music list for NORVIS, which you can read HERE. This includes details for the tuition classes, NORVIS Baroque Orchestra and (subject to government restrictions on group singing) the Choir. Visit the NORVIS music page for more details.

NORVIS in-person

The NORVIS committee wishes to thank all our NORVIS friends for your feedback to the questions sent out a few weeks ago. The overwhelming preference was for a COVID-secure in-person course, the same preference as our tutor team. So, in the light of the government’s plan to allow all amateur music making from Step 3 (17th May) and further ease restrictions from 21st June onwards, we are confidently working towards that. As chair of the trustees, I recently revisited our new venue, Barnard Castle School, to look at its COVID-secure measures, which were very thorough. The school has also made available some additional spacious rooms as teaching and performance spaces.

We will follow government advice at the time to keep the course COVID-secure, following the school’s domestic routines and keeping our music making safe. The singing class and choir will take place, in a suitably controlled manner, but there will be absolutely no sharing of wind instruments. It is possible that we may ask people to take Lateral Flow tests during the week. 

On this basis, much of what we love about NORVIS will be almost normal; perhaps we should call it ‘new normal’. There may be some minor adjustments to the afternoon and evening activities to make them appropriate for the situation.

In the unlikely event of the in-person NORVIS being unable to take place, we have contingency plans for a more compact online offering (at lower cost to you) which will keep the NORVIS torch burning until we can meet once again.

So, please feel confident about booking for NORVIS. if you have not already done so. We are regularly updating the website and the music list details. This year sees the anniversaries of both Josquin des Prez (500 years) and Michael Praetorius (400 years), and the concerts and choir music will reflect these commemorations. We have some great events planned and hope that the wonderful Bowes Museum, next door, will be back in action too. But most of all, NORVIS is about our superb tutors, the wonderful experience of making music with others, the great variety on offer and the friendly community that is NORVIS as we celebrate our 50th year.

Apply at and also use the contact form to ask any questions that you might have – we will try to answer you in a straightforward manner. We are extending the £20 early application discount to 10th May (normally 1st April), and the payment deadline for balance of fees to 15th June (normally 1st June). As ever, there is a £50 discount for introducing a friend who comes the course for the first time and generous bursaries are available to students and others who might not be able to come otherwise. 

NORVIS open for applications

Welcome to NORVIS 50!

After so many disappointments in 2020, we are very much looking forward to celebrating our 50th NORVIS summer school in 2021. Although we don’t have a crystal ball, the trustees hope that the situation around Coronavirus COVID-19 will be sufficiently resolved by next summer for us all to be catching up on our music making. Our team of wonderful tutors, under Andrew Fowler’s musical direction, are eager to lead a magnificent programme of musical tuition.

The course will be held at our new venue, Barnard Castle School in County Durham, next door to the world-famous Bowes Museum. The course takes place from Saturday 31st July to Saturday 7th August 2021, starting late afternoon on 31st and finishing after breakfast on 7th.

As ever, we offer generous bursaries for full-time students and some others.

Applications are now open using the online application process which we introduced last year.

Meanwhile have a look at LIFEM, the online London International Festival of Early Music organised by the Early Music Shop, which offers an exciting programme of free events right now. 

With best wishes for good health and good music making in 2021.

Greetings from NORVIS

Dear NORVIS participants for 2020 (would have been!) and everyone who came in 2019 – welcome to ‘not-NORVIS’ week 2020! My name is Mark Lawrence, chair of the NORVIS trustees, and I would normally be greeting you today in person and welcoming you to our wonderful summer school. Well, remotely, welcome anyway! All being well, we will indeed meet in 2021 for our Golden Jubilee NORVIS 50.

So I needn’t ask you if your travelling was easy or hard, or whether you have checked into your accommodation OK. You don’t need a site tour, and you can’t take part in the playing session for people to join once they have settled in. You haven’t got the first tuition session tonight. Never mind, you can imagine.
Meanwhile, you can meet our tutors at least virtually. Furthermore, many of them have sent messages, videos or other resources for you to have a look at. This material has, in many cases, been created specially for you. I have emailed you individually as this is not available to the general public for copyright reasons.
Every best wish from everyone at NORVIS.

Announcement – coronavirus COVID-19

NORVIS 50 postponed to 2021

In the light of the current coronavirus pandemic, the Trustees of NORVIS regret to announce that they have decided to postpone the Golden Jubilee NORVIS 50 early music summer school from August 2020 to the summer of 2021. All those who have applied to attend NORVIS have been contacted individually. The new provisional dates for the course will be 31st July – 7th August 2021 at Barnard Castle School. When we celebrate our Golden Jubilee, it will indeed be magnificent. Thank you for your support of NORVIS – please keep in touch with us. (