On a recent sun-scorched afternoon, the sound of trumpets blasted from an attic by the gatehouse while piano duets thundered from the hall, and a cacophony of wind ensembles, string quartets and opera filled the outbuildings.
The Dartington International Summer School and Festival was in business, with nearly 300 people on-site: some to listen, some to learn, but most of them to play or sing. And they epitomized diversity, with star names like the pianist Steven Osborne, the trumpeter Alison Balsom and a 96-year-old former World War II navigator who came to polish up his violin technique.
The festival, which ran from July 30 to Aug. 27 this year, blurs the usual divide between professional and amateur. It is a cultural democracy, peculiarly English in its way, though driven by the worldview of a wealthy American, Dorothy Elmhirst, who acquired the manor house and its estate in 1925.