2021 Tutors and Course Dates

“…for quality of experience and teaching, intensity, intimacy and care for detail, I would hazard that La Balie will be hard to match” – Graham Sheffield 2019 


Our Tutors – 2021

The summer piano courses for 2021 will be led by an exceptional trio of tutors. We are delighted to welcome back Charles Owen, and Martin Cousin for their second and third respective visits and to welcome Ian Jones for his first course at La Balie 



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 Charles’ website

Click here to read a “Meet the Artist” interview with Charles by Frances Wilson who blogs as The Cross-Eyed Pianist




Ian Jones FRCM is Professor of Piano and Deputy Head of Keyboard at the Royal College of Music in London and a Steinway Artist

Appearances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall and Barbican Hall include critically acclaimed performances of Rachmaninov’s Second and Third Piano Concertos and Paganini Rhapsody as well as concertos by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Grieg and Schumann. He has appeared in Paris and throughout France as concerto soloist with the Ensemble International and has performed many of Mozart’s piano concertos in Europe and USA. 

A prizewinner at the Leeds International Piano Competition, he also won the prestigious Chappell Medal, whilst a student at RCM, the Vlado Perlemuter Piano Prize and a special scholarship from the French government inviting him to spend a year in Paris. His teachers included Maria Curcio, Gyorgy Sebok, Phyllis Sellick, Jerome Lowenthal and Alain Planès.

Ian Jones is much sought-after as a teacher and his students have enjoyed international success. He is Artistic Director of the World Piano Teachers Association International Piano Competition and often serves on the juries of other international piano competitions. He frequently examines and adjudicates at other leading conservatoires, including the Royal Academy of Music in London and regularly performs and conducts international masterclasses. 

Click here for more information about Ian





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.’


Click here for a link to Martin’s website



Course Dates – 2021 

May 26th – June 2nd, 2021                       CHARLES OWEN

June 15th – 22nd, 2021                              IAN JONES

July 10th – 17th, 2021                                MARTIN COUSIN 



Please see Fees and How to Book for more details and use our Contact form to apply for a place.



Graham Sheffield writes about his week at La Balie for Pianist Magazine August 2019:

“You might forgive yourself for thinking you have woken up in paradise on your first morning at La Balie, nestled as it is at the top of a gentle slope in the lush undulating meadows of France’s Aquitaine region” 

“I begin to realise what a unique opportunity La Balie is for an amateur pianist; you not only have the chance to indulge a lifetime passion in a magical setting away from ‘real life’ but you are also able to study intensely with a top international concert pianist”

“An outstanding house restoration aside, the stand-out building must be the inspiring new concert hall, which seats an audience of around 100, and is equipped with two grand pianos, including a magnificent Steinway D. The acoustics, as well as the rural view, are superb.” 

“…for quality of experience and teaching, intensity, intimacy and care for detail, I would hazard that La Balie will be hard to match”

To read the full text of Graham Sheffield’s article in Pianist Magazine Issue 109 please click here