Riverina Summer School 

for Strings

Inspiring string players to live their passion for music


The next Riverina Summer School for Strings will be from

Saturday 11 January - Saturday 18 January 2020

Click here to see a video from 2015


Saturday 11 January 2020:

  • Registration from 1.00 pm

  • Auditions from 2.00 pm

  • Bush dance from 7.30 pm

The daily program from Sunday 12 January - Friday 17 January:

The Riverina Summer School for Strings is divided into five main sections:

  • Nelson Cooke Orchestra & Tamaris Pfeiffer Ensemble

  • Charles Sturt Orchestra & Carl Pini Ensemble

  • Classical guitar

  • Mandolin

  • Irish Fiddle

  • Conducting

Nelson Cooke Orchestra & Tamaris Pfeiffer Ensemble - younger/less experienced players
Sessions run 9.00 - 3.00

The Nelson Cooke Orchestra and Tamaris Pfeiffer Ensemble groups will develop ensemble playing and team work within a fun musical environment. Special emphasis will be placed on developing:

  • rhythmic skills

  • listening skills (intonation, tempo, dynamics)

  • sight reading

  • leadership qualities

  • concentration

  • understanding the role of a conductor

  • rehearsal techniques and how an orchestra functions

  • general musical history about composers and playing styles

There will also be a daily element of chamber music where the students will play in small mixed instrumental combinations. The week-long program will culminate in an opportunity to perform in the final concert.


Charles Sturt Orchestra & Carl Pini Ensemble - older/more experienced players

Rehearsal: 9.00 - 10.30

The Charles Sturt Orchestra and Carl Pini Ensemble groups are for more experienced players and over the week will prepare a variety of works in a range of styles for presentation at the final concert.

Note: Membership of either orchestra or ensemble is not based purely on age and exceptions may be made where younger players of special ability would benefit from participating with more mature performers and for older players who would prefer to work in less-experienced group.


Sectional classes: 11.00 - 12.00

Each morning after the orchestra rehearsal, separate classes are offered in instrumental groups. These classes provide a rare opportunity to learn from outstanding teachers of each instrument and cover such things as repertoire, interpretation, posture and technique.


Classical Guitar: 9.00 - 4.00

Classical guitar classes will cover fundamental and advanced techniques, phrasing, ensemble playing, knowledge of the fingerboard, harmony and sight reading. Intending classical guitar students should be of least Grade 2 AMEB level. This is a great opportunity for classical guitarists to develop new skills and broaden their musicianship. Contact the administrator for more information.


The Mandolin in Traditional Music: 9.00 - 12.00

Focusing on traditional music from Ireland and Scotland but also branching out further afield, this class will look at how the mandolin (and other plectrum based stringed instruments) fits with music from tradition. We will dissect technique and learn how to listen to melody and rhythm in a way that can be applied to the instrument. In the afternoon, participants in this class will join  Ensemble Playing in World Music from 2.00 - 4.00.

Irish Fiddle: 9.00 - 12.00

This class will cover a range of fiddle styles, tunes and ornamentation from Ireland. Resources will be provided from well-known folk music collections/archives and the approaches of a variety of well known players will be used for reference. Anyone interested in learning predominantly by ear may attend, although sheets with the ‘skeletons’ of each tune written out will also be provided. In the afternoon, participants in this class will join  Ensemble Playing in World Music from 2.00 - 4.00.

Conducting 9.00 - 4.00

A new strand at the Riverina Summer School for Strings will give conductors a chance to work with student string groups under the direction of highly acclaimed  conductor Johannes Fritzsch, who is the Director of the Australian Conducting Academy in Hobart. The classes will cover topics relevant for any conducting situation (ie band, vocal, orchestral or string ensemble) and will include score preparation and conducting technique. Practical conducting experience at the school will include working with pianist Caroline Almonte in preparation conducting RSSS string ensembles later in the week.  This class is offered as professional development particularly for any music teachers working with student ensembles, or for any musician interested in developing their conducting skills.

9.00 am - 10.30 am: technical training with piano

10.30 am - 12.00 noon: string orchestra rehearsal participation or observation in the early part of the week, string orchestra conducting later in the week

2.00 - pm - 4.00 pm: technical training with piano

Repertoire will include:

Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, mvts 1 - 3

Beethoven Symphony No 1, mvts 1, 2 & 4

Strauss Blue Danube Waltz

Grieg Peer Gynt Suite No. 1

Participants are invited to bring scores they want to discuss

Lunchtime Concerts: 12.00 - 1.00

All students are encouraged to participate in these informal concerts held from Sunday through to Friday as they are a great chance to play in front of a supportive audience. Solos are best to be done in the first few days, as later in the week there is higher demand and most of the programs are made up of ensembles.


Electives - Chamber Music or Ensemble Playing in World Music: 2.00 - 4.00

Chamber Music

Students who choose to participate in chamber music are organised into quartets and other string ensembles wherever possible. They will be assisted in forming groups and selecting repertoire on the Sunday and will be allocated a tutor to work with them. It is important to be aware that it is not possible for every chamber group to have a tutor with them at all times - students are expected to be able to independently apply the insights provided by tutor.

The Friday lunch-time concert will specifically focus on performances by chamber groups who have prepared material during the week.


Ensemble Playing in World Music

This class will examine the traditional music session and how to ‘hear' traditional melodies. We will look at the arranging for music traditions that are modal (i.e. those without traditional arrangement beyond melody and rhythm) in a way that can be both formal and improvised. 

Saturday 18 January 2020:

  • Sound check at Wagga Civic Theatre 9.00 am - 12.00 pm

  • Grand Finale Concert at Wagga Civic Theatre 2.00 pm - 4.30 pm

  • End of school 5.00 pm

The staff of the Riverina Summer School for Strings are some of the best musicians and educators in Australia


The Sounds of Summer

The Sounds of Summer program for 2020 has not been finalised, however you can see the kind of program we will be running from looking at our 2019 series on the Sounds of Summer website found here

Attendance at all these concerts is recommended for summer school students and the student entry is included in the enrolment fee

Sounds of Summer Performance January 2017

Sounds of Summer Performance January 2017

 The next RSSS is from Saturday 11 - Saturday 18 January 2020

Enrolments are now open for RSSS 2020 and you can secure a place by paying full price or deposit with your enrolment. A receipt will be issued once the enrolment and payment has been received. 
Enrolments will close on Friday 29 November 2019 and full payment is required by then.
For further information please email admin@summerstrings.com.au or ring 0408 114 858

Please fill out the following form and submit for an online enrolment.


Street name and number
Parent number if student is under 18
Instrument *
Level *
AMEB or equivalent
Years playing *
Please give a brief description of your orchestral/ensemble background in terms of time and repertoire
Afternoon Elective Preference (for players expecting to be in Sturt or Camerata)
Note: enrolment is only complete once payment is received
Payment method *

1. If paying by direct deposit, please indicate the student name as the reference detail.

    Beyond Bank                                              BSB 325-185

    Riverina Summer School for Strings         Acc No  38717285

2. If paying by credit card, we will send you an email for credit card processing via Paypal

3. If paying by cheque, please make it out to Riverina Summer School for Strings and post to: 161 Lake Albert Road Kooringal, NSW, 2650


About The Riverina Summer School for Strings

The Riverina Summer School for Strings is a residential string school that takes place in Wagga Wagga, NSW in the second or third week of January each year. It is a non-profit organisation run by a volunteer committee. It was founded by internationally recognised Australian cellist Nelson Cooke in 1988 in order to provide a fully-immersive string experience for students of all ages and abilities in a regional Australian setting. It is open to bowed string players and guitarists of all ages and regularly attracts some of Australia's best string players to its staff. In addition to Nelson Cooke, it has been lead by highly regarded performers and teachers such as Christopher Martin, Carl Pini and Goetz Richter. The 33rd annual school will be held in January 2020 and Susan Collins, Head of Strings at UTAS Conservatorium of Music, will be the music director.



RSSS Child Protection and Code of Conduct Policies

The Riverina Summer School for Strings is committed to the overall welfare and wellbeing of all staff, students and volunteers involved in the school. In particular, the Riverina Summer School for Strings is committed to promoting and protecting the interests and safety of children. We have zero tolerance for child abuse. Everyone working at Riverina Summer School for Strings is responsible for the care and protection of children and reporting information about child abuse.

Please click on the links below to see and read the RSSS Code of Conduct Policy and RSSS Child Protection Policy

Please find the RSSS Code of Conduct Policy here

Pease find the RSSS Child Protection Policy here



Riverina Summer School for Strings

161 Lake Albert Road Kooringal, NSW, 2650


0408 114 858



The Riverina Summer School for Strings thanks the following sponsors for the their generous support


Peter and Frankie Reid from Sophia's Strings will be on hand throughout the summer school with spare string equipment and the expertise to fix most malfunctions or breakages. Peter will also be working on new instruments and is always keen for people to come and try out some of his wares.