Riverina Summer School 

for Strings

Inspiring string players to live their passion for music

The next Riverina Summer School for Strings will be:

Saturday 7 January - Saturday 14 January 2017

Click here to see a video from 2015


Saturday 7 January 2017:

  • Registration from 1.00 pm
  • Auditions from 2.00 pm
  • Bush dance from 7.30 pm

The daily program from Sunday 8 January - Friday 13 January:

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

  • Nelson Cooke Orchestra & Viva Ensemble

  • Charles Sturt Orchestra & Carl Pini Ensemble

  • Classical guitar

  • Scottish fiddle for folk players 

Nelson Cooke Orchestra & Viva - younger/less experienced
Sessions run 9.00 - 3.00

The Nelson Cooke Orchestra and Viva 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

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.


Scottish Fiddle (for folk players): 9.00 - 4.00

At Riverina Summer School for Strings Catherine Fraser and Sam Leske will offer classes in aural tune learning, harmonic structure and accompaniment, creating rhythmic stability and groove, and ensemble playing and arranging. They can cater to all levels of player from AMEB grade 1 up, and will tailor their classes to the ability and experience of the students. A minimum of ten players will be needed to run this class.

Catherine Fraser and Sam Leske began their musical collaboration in 2016, after meeting at a studio session for Catherine's latest release "After the Haar". A  mutual respect of each other's genres led them to begin to explore the possibilities of combining forces, and a new duo was born. Steeped in the Scottish tradition, Catherine brings an energy and depth to both the traditional repertoire and her own compositions. Paired with Sam's innovative and sensitive guitar playing, her music is taken to new horizons, whilst maintaining the integrity and groove inherent to the idiom.


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 Scottish Fiddle: 2.00 - 4.00

Chamber Music (for classical players)

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.


Scottish Fiddle (for classical players)

The Scottish Fiddle sessions will introduce students to a range of tune styles including strathspey, reel and jig. Students will learn repertoire by ear and explore the harmonic structures and rhythmic undercurrents that drive the tunes. They will learn how to connect tunes into performance sets and will investigate the relationship between the music and dance. 


Saturday 14 January 2017:

  • Sound check at Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre 9.00 am - 12.00 pm
  • Grand Finale Concert 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 tutors for the 2017 school are still being finalised, but they will include the following (stay tuned for updates):

The Sounds of Summer

a series of concerts presented by the staff of the RSSS.


The Sounds of Summer program for 2017 will run from Sunday 8 - Friday 13 January 2017.

In 2016 the Sounds of Summer Concert Series featured the program listed below. The program for 2017 has not yet been finalised but will be posted here as soon as details are confirmed. However, concert goers can gain a  good idea of the kind of works presented at the Sounds of Summer by checking the 2016 program below.

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


Sunday 10 January 2016, 7.30pm, Joyes Hall: Contrasts

Tchaikovsky: Elegy for Strings

Vivaldi: Concerto in D for Guitar & Strings

Dvorak: Piano Quintet A Major Op 81

A medley of Scottish airs and dances


Monday 11 January 2016, 7.30pm, Joyes Hall: The Genius of Mozart

Mozart: Divertimento F Major K 138

Beethoven: Piano Quartet Eb Major Op 16

Mozart: String Quintet Eb Major K 614


Wednesday 13 January 2016, 7.30pm, Joyes Hall: The World of Yesterday

Mahler: Piano Quartet A Minor

Robert Fuchs: Sonata for Piano & Double Bass Op 97

Bruckner: String Quintet F Major


Thursday 14 January 2016, 7.30pm, Joyes Hall: Scottish Fiddle

Catherine Fraser, Renata Bratt and Duncan Smith will take you on an inspiring journey through the breadth and depth of the Scottish fiddle tradition.


Friday 15 January 2016, 7 .30pm, Joyes Hall: Celebrations …Quasi Italiano

Boccherini: Grand Quintet for Guitar & Strings D

Dvorak: Quintet G Major Op 77

Mendelssohn: Octet in Eb Major Op 20

Sounds of Summer Performance January 2015

Sounds of Summer Performance January 2015

 The next RSSS is from Saturday 7 - Saturday 14 January 2017

Enrolments will open in July 2017 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 25 November 2016 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)
Enrolment for Classical Players (full day)
Note: enrolment is only complete once payment is received
Enrolment for Scottish Fiddlers (full day)
Note: enrolment is only compete once payment is received
Payment method *

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

    Beyond Bank                                              BSB 805-022

    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


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 regularly attracts some of Australia's best string players to its staff and has been lead by highly regarded performers and teachers such as Christopher Martin and Carl Pini in the role of Music Director. Currently this position is held by Professor Goetz Richter from Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The 30th annual school will be held in January 2017

Riverina Summer School for Strings

PO Box 2086 Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2650


0408 114 858



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