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Each February, 2025 dates coming soon | An unrivalled opportunity to learn from the very best


The annual Adam Summer School is presented by the New Zealand String Quartet and held in Nelson each February. It is generously sponsored by the Adam Foundation, and provides the opportunity for up to 30 talented young string players and pianists to commit themselves to eight days of intense chamber music-making under the guidance of the New Zealand String Quartet and a highly renowned New Zealand pianist (such as Stephen De Pledge in 2024). The 2024 School marked an exciting milestone - 30 years of the Adam Summer School!


In the idyllic setting of Nelson in summer, students:


  • Benefit from world class coaching from New Zealand’s best chamber musicians

  • Are inspired by an intense period of music-making

  • Work with the best of their peers from throughout New Zealand

  • Participate in daily masterclasses

  • Perform a major chamber music work following their week of in-depth study


The course is fully residential with hostel accommodation and all main meals provided.


Participants have one two-hour group coaching session each day. Opportunities for individual instrument tuition from the tutors have also been built into the daily schedule.


Two Finale Concerts take place at the conclusion of the school featuring each group's performance. These Finale Concerts are open to friends, whānau and the public.


Being transported to another space in my mind had to be one of the most educational, eye-opening, inspirational and surprising moments of my life.

Finale Concert Audience Member

Dates for the 2025 Adam Summer School Finale Concerts will be announced in late 2024. Sign up to Q Notes to get the announcement delivered straight to your inbox.

Finale Concerts

These two finale concerts are a chance for students to showcase a weeks worth of intensive training within their new ensemble. 


Over the past 30 years, more than 370 students have attended the Adam Summer School. Many of these alumni have gone on to illustrious careers in classical music all over the world. Don't miss out on your opportunity to experience the next generation of Aotearoa chamber musicians in action.

Open Masterclasses

Dates for the 2025 Open Masterclasses will be announced in early 2025. Sign up to Q Notes to get the announcement delivered straight to your inbox.

See how the music gets made at an Adam Summer School Masterclass. Select Adam Summer School Masterclasses will be open to the public to spectate, completely free of charge. Watch as these incredible young musicians work in real time with their tutors to hone their craft and prepare for the Finale Concerts at the end of the week.


This is an unparalleled opportunity to witness the care and dedication that the next generation of string and piano players are putting into their music practice. 


These Masterclasses are completely free to attend, and there’s no need to register ahead of time. Simply show up at Nelson Centre of Musical Arts on the day and check in at the Box Office to be shown to the correct room. 


Applications currently closed.

Key dates for the 2025 Adam Summer School application process will be announced in August 2024. To be among the first to know when applications open, subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on social media.

Students attending should be tertiary level and above; however, consideration will be given to all interested applicants. Individual students accepted for the Summer School will be placed in groups following the auditions. Consideration will be given to pre-formed groups and each applicant in the ensemble must submit an individual application.


As inclusion in the Adam Summer School will be determined by audition recording, care should be taken to prepare audition recordings to a very high standard. To ensure the selection process is fair and transparent, tutors will listen to recordings 'blind'. 

Audition Requirements:

  • Provide a YouTube or Vimeo link to a 15-minute or more AUDIO RECORDING ONLY. Students who submit a recording with video may not be considered for acceptance.

  • ​Audition recording submissions must feature two contrasting styles to demonstrate highest technical and musical level and be from within the last 6 months. 

  • String players may submit either unaccompanied repertoire or works with piano.

  • Pianists must submit solo repertoire.



A limited number of scholarships for financial assistance with course fees are available to those students demonstrating financial hardship. Details on how to apply for a scholarship will be announced when applications for the 2025 School open.

Adam Summer School scholarships are made available through the generosity of individual supporters to the Adam Summer School Scholarship Fund.


"The Adam summer school is always the highlight of my year. It’s an experience like no other - the social dynamic and musical opportunities are so special. Every time I am hugely inspired and it is the foundation of how I approach my studies throughout the rest of the year."

- Adam Summer School Student, 2023

Thank you to our Scholarship Donors

30 years of the Adam Summer School means there's plenty to celebrate, but we wanted to take a moment to thank the generous individuals who have donated scholarships to help students attend the school in 2024.

  • Reka Solomons

  • Alastair and Dorothy Kerr

  • Howard Larsen and Lindsay Macdonald

  • Nick Miles

  • Sally Warren

  • Esmae Emerson & Simon Crase

  • Terry Holton

  • Anonymous (2)

Plus, a special thanks to Donald Armstrong for sponsoring the Donald Armstrong Award.

First introduced in 2009, this special annual Award recognises effort, commitment and progress made by an individual during the Adam Summer School. The Award is presented on the final night of the school, following Finale Concert performances.

If you're passionate about the next generation of musicians then you, too, could donate a scholarship. For $680, you can ensure that a talented young string or piano player who might not otherwise be able to afford it is able to attend the school.


A Fresh New Look for the Adam Summer School

To celebrate our 30 year milestone, we're excited to launch our brand-new look! Over the past few months we've been working with the incredible Werk Agency to refresh the look of the Adam Summer School. 

The new Adam Summer School brand will inspire individuals to explore their passions, and foster a collaborative community that will thrive on the vibrant energy of shared knowledge and personal growth.

Werk Agency

The new logo visually bridges the shape of a quaver into the letter A, while the colour used for the rebrand encapsulates the school's essence—passion, ambition, optimism and creativity.

TEMPLATE - ADAM Summer School - 1X1.png

The team behind it all...

We're incredibly proud to have been able to partner with Werk Agency on our new Adam Summer School design.

It can be a lot of work to build a solid and engaging brand that sells. Dastardly social media algorithms stop you getting the organic cut-through you used to get and it seems you need fresh content every other day to be seen. We produce attention-to-detail creative and run data-driven marketing campaigns that smash the business goals that matter most to you. Let’s get to werk, but not as you’ve known it.

A special thank you
to the organisations who help make the Adam Summer School possible

Adam Foundation Logo

Main Sponsor

CNZ Logo

Core Funder

Pub Charity Logo
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