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Rising Stars - At The Castle Hotel in Taunton

Solo and ensemble performances by: Benjamin Baker violin • Timothy Ridout viola Philip Higham cello • Giuseppe Guarrera piano • Tabea Debus recorder • Benjamin Goldscheider horn

Stay at The Castle Hotel in Taunton, which is among the most comfortable and agreeable hotels in England.

Concerts take place in the hotel’s ‘Music Room’, an intimate space the size of a large drawing room.

Pre-concert talks by Stephen Johnson, writer, broadcaster and composer.

Dinners, afternoon teas, interval drinks and even gratuities for hotel staff are also included in the price.

Tickets to individual concerts are also available. Please contact The Castle Hotel directly to purchase these (telephone 01823 272 671 or visit

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A welcoming, well-appointed hotel in a pleasant English market town – could there be a better location for three days of glorious chamber music-making? This year the instrumental line-up broadens to include not just string trios and piano quartets but music featuring recorder and horn, from Handel and Bach to Schumann, Brahms and Strauss. It is a musical menu as rich and enticing as that offered by the hotel’s excellent kitchen!

Benjamin Baker. On the recommendation of violinist Nigel Kennedy, he moved to the UK from New Zealand to take up a scholarship at the Menuhin School. A top prize-winner in international competitions, he has developed an international career as a soloist and chamber musician.

Timothy Ridout. The only British violist to have won first prize at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in 2016. In 2019 he is set to appear as a soloist with the Hamburg Symphony, Philharmonia, Orchestre de Lille, Camerata Salzburg and Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

Philip Higham. The first British cellist to win first prize at the Leipzig International Bach Competition, he is currently principal of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Giuseppe Guarrera won second Prize and five other awards at the Montreal Competition in 2017. He went on to win a Tabor Foundation Award at the Verbier Festival Academy and a prestigious Klavier Ruhr Festival scholarship.

Tabea Debus. Born in Germany, Tabea moved to the UK to study at the Royal Academy of Music where she won Principal’s Prize, among numerous other awards.

Benjamin Goldscheider reached the final of the 2016 BBC Young Musician Competition. He is currently completing his studies at the Barenboim-Said Academy with Radok Baborá and made his BBC Proms debut in 2018.

Friday 24 January, 5.30pm

Benjamin Baker (violin), Philip Higham (cello) & Giuseppe Guarrera (piano)

Talk at 5.00pm

Schubert, String Trio in B flat, D471 (fragment)

Beethoven, String Trio in G, Op.9 No.1

Mozart, Piano Quartet No.2 in E flat, K.493

Saturday 25 January, 11.00am

Tabea Debus (recorder) & Philip Higham (cello)

Talk at 10.30am

Telemann, Solo Flute Fantasias No.1 & No.7

Telemann, Sonata in C from Der getreue music-meister

Telemann, Flute Sonata in B flat

Dani Howard, Two-and-a-Half Minutes to Midnight

J.S. Bach, Cello Suite No.2 in D minor

J.S. Bach, Invention No.7 in E minor

J.S. Bach, excerpts from Flute Sonatas in E minor and E

Handel, Sorge nel petto from Rinaldo

Handel, Flute Sonata in D

Arne Gieshoff, Entr’acte.

Saturday 25 January, 5.30pm

Benjamin Baker (violin), Timothy Ridout (viola), Philip Higham (cello), Giuseppe Guarrera (piano) & Benjamin Goldscheider (horn)

Talk at 5.00pm

Schumann, Adagio & Allegro in A flat for Horn & Piano, Op.70

Brahms, Horn Trio in E flat, Op.40

Schumann, Piano Quartet in E flat, Op.47

Sunday 26 January, 11.00am

Benjamin Baker (violin), Timothy Ridout (viola) & Giuseppe Guarrera (piano)

Talk at 10.30am

Schumann, Märchenbilder Op.113

Schumann, Dichterliebe, piano & viola, Op.48

Strauss, Violin Sonata in E flat, Op.18

Price – per person

Two sharing: standard double or twin £810; Garden Room £990. Single occupancy: single bedded room £810 (doubles for sole use may be available at a later stage for a higher price). 


Four concerts and pre-concert talks, accommodation for two nights at The Castle Hotel, breakfasts, two afternoon teas, two dinners, interval drinks, programme, tips for hotel staff. 


The Castle Hotel, Taunton: renowned for its excellent service, for comforts traditional and modern and for its superb catering. It has been owned and run by the Chapman family for over 60 years. There is a lift to all floors but please let us know if you require a bedroom without step access, or if you use a wheelchair.

How strenuous?

These weekends are very leisurely affairs – everything takes place within the confines of the hotel. However please read the paragraph above if you use a wheelchair or have difficulties with negotiating stairs. 

Group size

Maximum 76 resident participants.


Individual concert tickets

Available to people living within 30 miles of Taunton. £20 mornings, £25 evenings.Interval drinks and a programme are also included.

Individual concert tickets are handled by the hotel. Please call 01823 272 671 or visit

Map for Taunton.

'A remarkably talented group of young musicians performed with flair and commitment a varied and pleasingly unhackneyed programme of works.'

'We thought that showcasing of young, emerging and talented musicians was an excellent idea. Such groups and soloists bring a freshness and enthusiasm to their performance which was in evidence over the weekend. The programme was varied and interesting, and it was a delight to hear the performers interviewed, and meet them at dinner.'

'Stephen Johnson was an excellent speaker – he gave very good, clear explanations of the music and had a nice, sensitive approach to his interviews with the musicians.'