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Singing holidays run by singers for singers

Assisi Summer School - 4 August to 11 August 2019

Directed by Nigel Perrin


Assisi Summer School


Perched on a hilltop overlooking the plains of Umbria, Assisi - the city of Giotto and St Francis - is a place of picturesque alleyways, steps, churches, bells and pilgrims. It has a unique spiritual tranquility which is part of the reason for our return year after year. To us, it almost feels like a second home

This summer, the sixteenth Run by Singers Assisi Summer School will be directed by Special Guest Conductor Nigel Perrin, who directed the very first Assisi event.  He has chosen the sublime - but challenging - Pizzetti Requiem for his return. This will be interpolated with equally gorgeous motets - see below. The whole programme should sound really splendid in the Basilica.

The Assisi course runs from Sunday evening, when we meet for a welcome drink and dinner, to the following Saturday evening where we perform our new repertoire at a concert in the Basilica of St Francis. We will sing for approximately five hours each day with breaks for coffee and a long afternoon break. Thursday will be a half-day when people may choose to explore a little further afield. 

Who is the course for?

Participants should have good sight-reading ability and must be prepared to study the music beforehand, although nobody is expected to be note-perfect on Day One. It also helps if you enjoy good food, good company and the occasional glass of wine. We all eat together most evenings in a selection of different restaurants where everyone will soon get to know each other. Our singing holidays have proved equally popular with people travelling on their own and singing couples. Assisi is a beautifully preserved UNESCO site but it is hilly, there are steps everywhere and precious few ramps. it is likely to tax anyone who finds walking, climbing and standing difficult.

This is what Nigel Perrin has to say: 

"Remarkably, one of the most frequent requests I receive is “When can we do the Pizzetti again?”- yet the challenges of the piece are regularly underestimated by choirs.  Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968) was brought up singing Palestrina in his church choir, so his music is steeped in Renaissance polyphony, but his ambition was to compose Puccini style opera. Mix these two elements together and you get Messa di Requiem. I know no other piece like it. It is full of intensity and drama requiring technical ability and stamina to bring off successfully - but you'll get hooked on it in the process!

The work will take a lot of focus to master, so I am contrasting and interpolating Renaissance anthems and motets by two of my favourite English composers. Each is a gem of English C16th church music, and I am hoping they will be generally familiar."

choral singing holidays

Musical Director

Nigel Perrin’s musical life began as a boy chorister at Ely Cathedral, from where he won a choral scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge, to study under Sir David Willcocks. After a short time spent singing in most of London’s professional choirs, Nigel became well-known as the high voice of the King’s Singers and for the next eleven years he travelled the world on concert tours, recorded some twenty-five albums and appeared in countless television shows with artists as diverse as Kiri Te Kanawa and Cliff Richard. Read more...


  • Requiem (Ildebrando Pizzetti)
    Hosanna to the son of David (Orlando Gibbons)
    Loquebantur variis linguis (Thomas Tallis)
    Salvator mundi (Thomas Tallis)
    Sanctus – Benedictus (Ildebrando Pizzetti)
    O Lord in thy wrath (Orlando Gibbons)
    O nata lux de lumine (Thomas Tallis)
    O clap your hands together (Orlando Gibbons)

Where to stay?


There is a wide choice of accommodation available in Assisi from the campsite to convenient three star hotels - with dozens of one and two-star hotels in between. We have been coming here every year since 2003 so we have discovered that most people like to stay in the same two or three hotels nearest to the rehearsal room; we will send you an annotated accommodation list of those hotels on registration. Assisi is a hilltop town so please bear this in mind when deciding where to stay. The rehearsal venue is near the Piazza Commune, the main square of Assisi.

Getting there


This bit is up to you and is not included in the course fee. The nearest international airports are Perugia, Rome and Ancona. Although it is no longer the nearest airport, there is an excellent direct rail link from Rome to Assisi so some participants will favour this route - often spending a day or two in Rome. Assisi is accessible by road but the town centre is a car-free zone. Please check Assisi Online for more information about traffic restrictions.

What does it cost?


The course fee is payable in two stages - £195 on registration and a balance of £395 which will be invoiced approximately eight weeks before arrival in Italy. This covers tuition and four evening meals but not transport or accommodation. Music - which can be kept - will cost £25.00 for everything you need and will be mailed to you six-eight weeks in advance. You will also need to organise your own travel and health insurance. Non-singers are welcome to join us - subject to availability - and pay just £160 to cover their meals.


Travel and health insurance

Insurance is not included so we strongly recommend that all singers take out their own cover. You should also bring an EHIC card with you.

Any questions?

If you have any questions at all please contact Nick Couchman ( or Emma Ford ( or ring Nick during office hours on 01462 893972.

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