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International Musicians Seminar


IMS Prussia Cove - a cultural oasis

"Sándor Végh has created something unique in Cornwall, a magical setting for music making. IMS Prussia Cove has been an invaluable contribution to British and international life. It must continue to flourish in a similar spirit..." András Schiff

The International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove was founded in 1972 by the Hungarian violinist, Sándor Végh and Hilary Tunstall-Behrens. Hilary had invited Sándor Végh to Cornwall to attend a small music festival and Sándor Végh, understanding the fruitful relationship between nature and music, immediately realised that this remote place on the Atlantic coast could offer sustenance and inspiration to musicians. The Masterclasses have taken place every year since. Open Chamber Music began four years later, when Sándor Végh invited some of the students from the Masterclasses to stay on and play chamber music with him. Open Chamber Music has grown over the years into a three-week seminar involving over one hundred musicians, taking place every September.

After 25 years as Artistic Director, Sándor Végh determined that the tradition he had nurtured at the seminars should be carried on by cellist Steven Isserlis. Steven Isserlis first attended the courses at the age of 15, first as a student, then as an Open Chamber Music participant, and subsequently as a professor. He now comes every year to teach one of the cello classes during the spring Masterclasses. Steven Isserlis is supported in his role as Artistic Director by two musicians who have long had associations with the seminars, András Schiff and Ralph Kirshbaum, who are both Artistic Advisers.

Within the seminars, depth of interpretation is explored in a free, unpressured environment and musicians work unencumbered by the constant demands of busy schedules. Over the years these seminars have become a cultural oasis. They offer musicians from all over the world the opportunity to broaden their musical horizons and to make new contacts; stimuli which are vital to a developing artist. Many of the world's leading soloists have attended the seminars, and acknowledge how much their playing owes to the magical influence of time spent in Cornwall. Former students and participants of the seminars are to be found among the leaders of the great orchestras of the world.

Hilary Tunstall-Behrens has written a book about Végh’s musical upbringing and influences – his studies with Bartók and friendship with Casals. The book also explains the development of IMS Prussia Cove. Sándor Végh... in Cornwall - the Hungarian Virtuoso Violinst