Summer Piano Courses – 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

The 2018 summer piano courses are led by JAMES LISNEY. This summer there are four week-long intensive courses combining James’ dynamic, down to earth and relaxed teaching style with luxurious accommodation, great food and wine and the sunshine of the Lot-et-Garonne.

Classes at La Balie are limited to eight pianists, with the emphasis on personal attention and exceptional teaching. Limiting the class size allows each student the opportunity to work closely with James to enhance, deepen and improve musical ability as well as to share musical interests with the other members of the group. The courses are designed to be intensive and to give each guest a meaningful and personal experience.

Course Dates – 2018

24th May  – 31st May, 2018

14th June – 21st June, 2018

4th July – 11th July, 2018

22nd August – 29th August, 2018

As a guide we ask for a Grade 8 or above for the Master Class courses but we are open to rusty, returning pianists as well!

Our Course

Our summer piano courses are designed for the advanced amateur and professional teacher (Grade 8 and above) with the focus on in-depth study of prepared pieces. This is an intensive course structured as a series of morning master classes, afternoon lessons/practice and evening recitals.

Master Class guests usually choose three pieces (free repertoire) to study in their master class sessions, with each student’s chosen repertoire being circulated to the other guests in advance of the course. Additional pieces are often selected to perform in the evenings and at the end of course concert.

The format of the day

Each day is structured as a combination of morning Master Classes, private tuition in the afternoon, practice time and evening concerts.  At the end of each day there is an “Aperitif concert” at which there are performance slots available for guests wishing to give a recital to the group. The middle evening of the week is reserved for multi-hand/piano playing and has proved to be a popular addition to the course and on the last night of the course we hold an informal end of course concert at which we encourage each guest to play. In addition to the informal guest recitals, James will play two formal recitals which are open to the public one of which is held late at night in a beautifully candlelit studio.

Performance and Practice Pianos

We have six pianos available at La Balie including a magnificent Steinway D in the Studio (for Master Classes, lessons and recitals), a Yamaha C1 in the main house and 3 further practice pianos, one in each cottage. With two beautiful Grand pianos in the Studio we encourage duo playing pianists!



La Balie is a collection of beautiful 16th Century farm buildings three of which have been converted into light and airy cottages containing a total of eight charming bedrooms each with their own luxury bathroom. Each of the cottages has its own sitting room, fully equipped kitchen, satellite TV and WiFi and access to a beautiful, heated, saltwater swimming pool set within a formal garden with open views over the rolling countryside.

Click here for more photos and information about each cottage


Travelling to La Balie

La Balie is in the Lot-et-Garonne, 50km south east of Bergerac. There are several ways to travel to La Balie – by air, train or car.

By Air:

 Bergerac is our closest airport with Toulouse and Bordeaux within reasonable reach.

Ryan Air, Flybe, Jet 2 and British Airways all fly from the UK to Bergerac. There is a wider selection of carriers flying into Bordeaux and Toulouse.

By Train:

For those of you who prefer to take the train, there is a TGV direct from Paris to Agen which takes 3.5 hours and from where you can either hire a car or connect onto a local train to Monsempron-Libos which is the closest train station to La Balie.

By Car: 

La Balie is located on the D162 aproximately 50km South East of Bergerac in the Lot-et-Garonne – please see our Contact page for a map of our location

“Feeling inspired after a great La Balie week” – Eleanor G.


Please go to How to Book for more information and to apply for a place 

About James
Click here for a link to James’ website