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Singing holidays run by singers for singers

Assisi Summer School - 1 August to 8 August 2021

Directed by David Skinner


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 returning year after year. To us, it almost feels like a second home

This summer, the nineteenth Run by Singers Assisi Summer School will be directed by David Skinner. This course is for more advanced singer so numbers will be capped at 40 and singers will need to submit rather more information about their singing experience. 

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. 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.

choral singing holidays

Musical Director

David Skinner is Fellow, Praelector, and Osborn Director of Music at Sidney Sussex College in the University of Cambridge where he teaches historical and practical topics from the medieval and renaissance periods, as well as directing the chapel choir. He is also artistic director of the professional consort Alamire (, who received the 2015 Gramophone Award in Early Music for their recording of The Spy’s Choirbook (London, British Library, Royal 8.g.vii). Read more...


‘Josquin is the master of the notes, which must do as he wishes, while other composers must follow what the notes dictate.’ — Martin Luther, commenting in 1538

This year commemorates the 500th year of Josquin’s death in 1521. He was the most influential composer of his generation, and led a compositional revolution that was to capture the imagination of Renaissance Europe. His prominence extended to the end of the 16th century and his influence culminated in the works of the master polyphonist Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.

Works chosen for this course highlight Josquin’s extraordinary compositional skills, and during the week we will explore the composer's various thought processes behind each selected work. The centrepiece is his Mass ‘Hercules dux Ferrarie’ which the composer dedicarted to Ercole d’Este I, who was duke of Ferrara  from 1471 to his death in 1505. We also explore some of Josquin's most iconic works,  including the captivating ’Nymphes de bois’, a most heart-felt tribute to his own teacher Johannes Ockeghem. 

Missa Hercules dux Ferrarie
Absalon fili mi 
In te Domine speravi
Nunc Dimittis
Inviolata integra et casta 
Nymphes des bois 

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 £424 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

All singers are required to take out appropriate travel insurance and supply their policy details to us before the course begins. 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 ( . You can also ring us on 01462 893972 but please bear in mind that we are often out of the office.

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