2019 Tutors and Course Dates

Our Tutors – 2019

The summer piano courses for 2019 will be led by an exceptional trio of tutors. We are delighted to welcome Charles Owen, Noriko Ogawa and Martin Cousin for four weeks of intensive and inspirational teaching 


Described by Gramophone magazine as “one of the finest British pianists of his generation”, Charles Owen has enjoyed an extensive international career performing a wide-ranging repertoire to outstanding critical acclaim. He has appeared at London’s Barbican and Queen Elizabeth Hall and regularly gives recitals at the Wigmore Hall and Kings Place. Internationally, he has performed at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Brahms Saal in Vienna’s Musikverein, the Paris Musée d’Orsay and the Moscow Conservatoire. Charles enjoys a highly successful piano duo partnership with Katya Apekisheva. Together they are Artistic Directors of the London Piano Festival, an annual celebration of the piano held at Kings Place.

Charles studied in London at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music with Irina Zaritskaya and Imogen Cooper. He has enjoyed collaborations with many leading conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Ryan Wigglesworth, Nicholas Collon and Martyn Brabbins. Charles was appointed Steinway & Sons UK Ambassador in 2016. 

Click here for a link to Charles’ website




Noriko is an internationally renowned concert pianist; her success at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1987 having launched her international career. She appears regularly with all the major European, Japanese and US orchestras and made her BBC Proms debut in August 2013 and appeared again in 2014 with the Endymion Ensemble. Noriko’s “ravishingly poetic playing” (Telegraph) sets her apart from her contemporaries and acclaim for her complete Debussy series with BIS Records, confirms her as a fine Debussy specialist. Her Images Book I and II were chosen as the top recommendation ‘exquisite delicacy’ in the BBC Radio 3’s CD Review, January 2014. Noriko’s latest recording for BIS records is of solo piano music by Eric Satie.

Noriko regularly judges the BBC Young Musician, Munich International Piano Competition, Honens International Piano Competition and the Scottish International Piano Competition and has recently been appointed as Chairperson of the Jury for Japan’s prestigious 10th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2018.

Click here for a link to Noriko’s website




A distinguished British concert pianist, Martin was awarded 1st Prize at the 2005 Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competition (Seregno, Italy) and Gold Medal at the 2003 Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition (London). He has appeared regularly in the major British musical venues since graduating from the Royal College of Music, making his London solo debut at the Purcell Room in 1998. Numerous solo recitals followed, notably at the Wigmore Hall in 2001, 2005 and 2011.

His disc of Rachmaninov’s Études-Tableaux was released in 2014 and was proclaimed ‘a landmark recording’ by The Observer with a 5-star review. Classical Source added, ‘This is one of the best solo piano records I have heard for a very long time – the more so considering it faces some pretty severe competition in the catalogues. Those who do not know these extraordinarily original masterpieces are strongly advised to acquire this disc. There is none better.’  Fanfare Magazine proclaimed, ‘Based on the present disc and on the towering performance of the First Sonata on his debut CD, I am prepared to state that Cousin is among the most distinguished Rachmaninoff pianists of our generation.’

Martin’s hands are also featured on the big screen in the Oscar-winning film “Shine”, for the scenes involving Rachmaninov’s 3rd Concerto.

Click here for a link to Martin’s website



Course Dates – 2019

May 11th – 18th, 2019                                 CHARLES OWEN

June 15th – 22nd, 2019                               CHARLES OWEN

July 4th – 11th, 2019                                    NORIKO OGAWA

August 25th – September 1st, 2019         MARTIN COUSIN


General booking opens on September 1st, 2018. Please see Fees and How to Book for more details and use our Contact form to apply for a place.


Guest reviews:

“The course was, as ever, of 5 star standard: it was so good to spend lots of time at the piano, hear others play and to learn from them – as well as constantly learning from the Maestro.  Breakfasts, lunches and dinners were superb.” – David M 2018

“I have still not quite come down from the extraordinary experience of La Balie, and perhaps I will forever feel transformed by that wonderful week. Playing in front of other people is a such huge threshold for amateurs to cross, and one of great complexity. The setting in which that happens is an integral part of the experience. Somehow La Balie puts these two things together in a way that intensifies every element into something both profound and enjoyable. It is deeply salutary to be with a group of people for whom music means so much and in a place where it can be allowed to expand through everything else. Time and again in James’s masterclasses and talks it reminded me how music is not just something I do for an hour a day, it’s central to one’s whole life, and we are all in this together. Just as James moved constantly from the particular to the universal in masterclasses, so the course itself seemed to open us up from the centre of all our musical selves to a wider awareness as we got to know each other. There was a tremendous sense of camaraderie and solidarity by the end.” – Conrad W 2018

This was my second visit to La Balie and it was just as wonderful as the first which I would not have thought possible! It is hard to imagine that just one week can be filled with so many memorable experiences – piano sounding from somewhere all day, inspiring teaching, beautiful evening recitals, new friendships, a lot of laughter and fun , a lot of hard work that feels so rewarding and delicious food so beautifully presented…….not to mention the free-flowing wine….and the swimming….and my lovely ensuite room. And all in the most perfect surroundings – I felt cared for down to the last detail.” – Lynnette G 2018

For an amateur pianist La Balie is heaven on earth.  In July 2016 I enjoyed a week of inspiring teaching and music making, including two wonderful recitals by James Lisney.  James’ teaching is hugely enjoyable and rewarding.  His enthusiasm and gentle humour put everyone at ease very quickly, and he gave us a perfect mix of musical inspiration and technical help.  Add to this a wonderful Steinway concert grand to play on, the delightful company and shared enthusiasm of fellow pianists, the beauty and peaceful setting of La Balie itself, and gorgeous food (and wine!).  Well it really made leaving at the end of the week very difficult” – Richard P 2016

“I had the most wonderful week at La Balie. A stunning 5-star venue, and the ultimate piano experience. I learnt so much from James’s truly remarkable teaching and performances, but also from all the other players. Hard to imagine a more supportive, warm and encouraging atmosphere. A wonderful group of people, gourmet food and wine, and a lot of laughter. But most of all, on cold winter days to come, I shall remember standing in the middle of beautiful La Balie in the heat of the afternoon, just listening to glorious piano music pouring out of every window and door. A very special place.” – Colin W. 2015


“An exceptional course with inspirational teaching”

“A wonderful time in every way – great people, great teaching, gourmet food and wine and a lot of laughter”

“The best master classes I’ve ever had”

“An incredible chemistry of place, people and learning”

“La Balie has been created with taste, expertise and passion” 

“Beautiful place, surroundings, food & owners…wonderful to retreat to!”

“The Advanced Piano Course was a great inspiration and it was a real privilege to listen to so much wonderful playing.”