Riverina Summer School 

for Strings

Inspiring string players to live their passion for music

Congratulations to all participants in the 2018 RSSS

The next Riverina Summer School for Strings will be:

Saturday 12 January - Saturday 19 January 2019

Click here to see a video from 2015


Saturday 6 January 2018:

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

The daily program from Sunday 7 January - Friday 12 January:

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

  • Nelson Cooke Orchestra & Viva Ensemble

  • Charles Sturt Orchestra & Carl Pini Ensemble

  • Classical and contemporary guitar

Nelson Cooke Orchestra & Viva - younger/less experienced players
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 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.

Contemporary Guitar: 9.00 - 12.00 & Gypsy Jazz Fiddlin/Hot Club Swing 2.00 - 4.00 

The contemporary guitar classes will focus on swing jazz guitar techniques, theory, repertoire, improvisation, and ensemble playing, with an emphasis on the genre of gypsy jazz (Jazz Manouche). Classes will be punctuated by question and answer sessions to ensure everyone in the group is feeling confident and clear with the instruction. Intending contemporary guitar students should have a knowledge of basic guitar chords and scales, however experience with improvisation is not required. These classes will be an excellent opportunity for students to explore contemporary guitar in an ensemble setting, and are best paired with the afternoon Hot Club Swing sessions for a day of fun swinging jazz study.


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 Hot Club Swing: 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.


Gypsy Jazz Fiddlin/Hot Club Swing

The Hot Club Swing sessions are an introduction to string based improvisational techniques, creative playing and how to improvise with others through trading and sharing forms. For players of all levels, instruments and abilities, we will explore some popular standards of the genre and learn how to include exciting double-stops, melodic and rhythmic counterpoint, jazz ornimentation, appropriate improvised accompianament roles for upper strings, enharmonic and modal transitioning and some blisteringly hot swing fiddlin'. Best bring some seatbelts for your ears because we are going to take them for a humdinger of a ride! Woohoooo.

Saturday 13 January 2018:

  • Sound check at Joyes Hall 9.00 am - 12.00 pm
  • Grand Finale Concert at Joyes Hall 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 2018 school have not yet been finalised, but here are some of the wonderful team who will be working with us in January 2018:

The Sounds of Summer

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


The Sounds of Summer program for 2018 has been finalised under the title of Song and Dance.

Full details are available from 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 2015

Sounds of Summer Performance January 2015

 The next RSSS is from Saturday 6 - Saturday 13 January 2018

Enrolments are now open for RSSS 2018 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 1 December 2017 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 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 and post to: PO Box 8335 Kooringal, NSW, 2650


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. It has been lead by highly regarded performers and teachers such as Christopher Martin, Carl Pini and Goetz Richter in the role of Music Director. The 31st annual school will be held in January 2018 and Susan Collins from the University of Tasmania will be the Music Director.


Riverina Summer School for Strings

PO Box 8335 Kooringal, NSW, 2650


0408 114 858



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