SIENA, TUSCANY, ITALY
TUESDAY 31 AUGUST - SUNDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 2021
Singers Abroad is back! We hold our first ever course at Le Tolfe in Tuscany; a large historic 17-bedroom villa overlooking the Chianti hills and the enchanting medieval city of Siena. Housing some of Italy’s finest architecture, Siena’s intoxicating mix of art, culture and gastronomy creates an unforgettable feast for the senses – and a perfect backdrop to a singing course!
The course includes four days of singing under the direction of Graham Ross, leading to participation at Mass and a concert on the Saturday evening in the nearby Franciscan monastery, Basilica dell’Osservanza, which has an excellent acoustic for choral music. The repertoire for this course is ‘The composer chain’: a fascinating exploration of beautiful choral music spanning more than 500 years by composers who were taught by and influenced by each other. The music spans from Josquin's earliest motet and some of the dazzling poly-choral works of the Italian Renaissance school to works by fellow school-friends John Tavener and John Rutter. The programme is book-ended with two ravishing Marian motets, composed five centuries apart.
The course comprises a mix of serious chamber choir singing and time off between rehearsals to visit Siena, sample the excellent local Chianti wine, relax in the pool and gardens surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, or simply enjoy the serenity of the timeless surrounding landscape. There is an average of five hours singing per day, working towards the public Mass and concert on the Saturday evening.
Rehearsals, accommodation and all course meals take place on site, with spectacular panoramic views over the Sienese hills in every direction. Located 3km to the north-east of Siena, La Torre alle Tolfe (www.latorrealletolfe.com) is a 100-hectare working organic estate producing Chianti wine and oil. There is an excellent rehearsal space in the grounds of the villa, as well as a large living room with a Steinway grand piano. Bedrooms are serviced daily, and the villa has its own large unheated swimming pool, tennis court, boules court, billiards table and outdoor table tennis. Wifi is available in or near the dining room.
The course schedule allows participants time at leisure to explore the magnificent city of Siena on Thursday morning and Friday evening. With the exception of Thursday lunch and Friday dinner, all meals are included in the price of the course and are served with local wines. In addition, participants can enjoy an al fresco wine tasting on Thursday evening.
Please note that some parts of the course may have to change at short notice due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We will notify all participants of any such changes with as much notice as possible. We will follow all governmental protocols throughout the course as required at the time: these may include social distancing at rehearsals/meals, regular sanitising, wearing of masks in public places etc. All of our chosen venues allow for social distancing to remain in place at all times as necessary. Currently, the Italian government requires arrivals from other countries to provide a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of travel to the country. This requirement may still be in place in August 2021.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
The Singers Abroad course is for those who love to sing together. With a maximum of only 30 singers on this course, participants should have a strong level of choral singing experience, good sight-reading skills, and have done some private preparation of the repertoire before the course begins. Singers of all ages can apply, either as individuals or with others. It should be noted that there are a very limited number of single rooms in the villa, and therefore this course is best suited to couples or friends willing to sharing a room.
The course runs from Tuesday evening, when we meet for a welcome reception and introductory dinner, to the closing performance at Mass and the concert and dinner on Saturday evening, with participants departing Sunday morning. Concert dress is white shirts/blouses with long black trousers/skirts. Participants should bring their own black folders for the concert. Non-singing partners are welcome to join us, subject to availability, at a discounted price. Participants may wish to extend their time in Tuscany with holidays in nearby San Gimignano, Greve in Chianti, Montepulciano, or Volterra.
Participants should bring their own copies of the repertoire: details of recommended editions and a link to scores that can be downloaded are circulated to participants after bookings have been confirmed.
Booking is now open for our summer course in Siena, Tuscany from 31 August – 5 September 2021. We accept applications of all voice parts on a first-come first-served basis.
The Singers Abroad course costs £995 per person sharing a room. It should be noted that there are a very limited number of single rooms in the accommodation, and that these will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. This course is best suited to couples or friends sharing a room. Subject to availability of rooms, there is a single-occupancy supplement of £38 per night. Non-singing partners sharing singers’ rooms are welcome, subject to availability, and pay a reduced fee of £845. A deposit of £250 per person is required when booking, which is non-refundable after the deadline of 1 June 2021. The full balance is required by 15 July 2021.
What is provided in the cost?
The course includes:
five nights of bed & breakfast accommodation at Le Tolfe
a welcome reception on the opening night
musical tuition (in English) under the direction of Graham Ross
a Mass and concert in the nearby Basilica dell’Osservanza, a Renaissance Franciscan monastery with excellent acoustics
two visits to the medieval city of Siena
three group lunches and four group dinners with wine at the villa
a wine tasting on the Thursday evening before dinner
transfers to/from Siena and the Basilica dell’Osservanza
great music making and new friendships!
N.B. Some parts of the course may have to change at short notice due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic - see note in 'Overview' section above.
What is not provided in the cost?
The course does not include:
transportation to/from Le Tolfe
purchase of music
health/travel insurance: we recommend that all singers take out their own holiday and cancellation cover
Singers Abroad Ltd is a company committed to customer satisfaction and consumer financial protection. We are therefore pleased to announce that, at no extra cost to you, and in accordance with '' The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018'' all passengers booking with Singers Abroad Ltd are fully insured for the initial deposit, and subsequently the balance of monies paid as detailed in your booking confirmation form. The policy will also include repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Singers Abroad Ltd. This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through Zurich Insurance PLC.
In the unlikely event of Insolvency, you must Inform Towergate Chapman Stevens immediately on +44 (0) 1932 334140 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure you retain the booking confirmation as evidence of cover and value.
Policy exclusions: This policy will not cover any monies paid for Travel Insurance or any claim relating to Air Flights. If you have booked flights as part of your travel, you should ensure that the company with which you booked the flights has the appropriate CAA/ATOL bonds in place.
COURSE LEADER & CONDUCTOR
Graham Ross (www.grahamross.com) has established an exceptional reputation as a sought-after conductor and composer of a very broad range of repertoire. His performances around the world and his extensive discography have earned consistently high international praise. He is Fellow and Director of Music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he conducts the internationally-renowned Choir, and co-founder and Principal Conductor of The Dmitri Ensemble.
In demand as a regular guest conductor in the UK and abroad, his recent collaborations have included the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir, Aalborg Symfoniorkester, DR Vokal Ensemblet, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Singers.
In recent seasons his work has taken him to Sydney Opera House, Washington’s Library of Congress, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sagrada Familia and across Europe. At the age of 25 he made his BBC Proms and Glyndebourne debuts, with other opera work taking him to Jerusalem, London, Aldeburgh and Provence. He studied music at Clare College, Cambridge and conducting at the Royal College of Music, London.
Tuesday 31 August 2021
Check-in from 5pm onwards at Le Tolfe, Siena
7pm welcome evening drinks reception
Four-course dinner together at Le Tolfe
Wednesday 1 September 2021
Lunch together at Le Tolfe
Three-course group dinner at Le Tolfe
Thursday 2 September 2021
Free morning in Siena
Three-course pizza dinner together at Le Tolfe
Friday 3 September 2021
Lunch together at Le Tolfe
Free evening in Siena
Saturday 4 September 2021
Morning rehearsal Basilica dell’Osservanza
Lunch together at Le Tolfe
7pm concert at Basilica dell’Osservanza
Four-course dinner together at Le Tolfe
Sunday 5 September 2021
Participants depart (check-out by 10am)
* some parts of the course may have to change at short notice due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic - see note in 'Overview' section above
Travel to and from Le Tolfe is organised by participants directly, and is not provided in the cost. However, with permission, we are happy to share details of participants’ travel plans amongst the group in advance to facilitate the option of booking group transfers to/from airports.
By air: nearby airports are Florence (BA, Vueling, Iberia; 45 minute drive), Pisa (BA, Ryanair, Easyjet; 2 hour drive), Rome (BA, Ryanair, Vueling, Alitalia, Iberia, Easyjet; 2.5 hour drive) and Bologna (BA, Ryanair, Easyjet; 2.5 hour drive). Car hire is available at all these airports.
By train: trains are available across Italy from most of the airports listed above, but these are likely to involve at least one change. Routing can be planned at: www.thetrainline.com/trains/italy
By car: Le Tolfe is located at La Torre alle Tolfe, 12 Strada della Tolfe, 53100 Siena. There is plenty of parking space available at the property.
For this course Graham Ross has programmed ‘The composer chain’: a fascinating exploration of beautiful choral music spanning more than 500 years by composers who were taught by and influenced by each other. The music spans from Josquin's earliest motet and some of the dazzling poly-choral works of the Italian Renaissance school to the works of fellow school-friends John Tavener and John Rutter. The programme is book-ended with two ravishing Marian motets, composed five centuries apart.
The concert programme will include selections from the following:
Josquin des Prez Ave Maria … Virgo serena
Adrian Willaert Vecchie letrose
Claudio Monteverdi Nisi Dominus
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina Exsultate Deo
Thomas Tallis Salvator Mundi I
William Byrd O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth
Thomas Tomkins Too much I once lamented
Henry Purcell Hear my prayer, O Lord
Frank Bridge Music, when soft voices die
Benjamin Britten A boy was born
Herbert Howells Here is the little door
John Rutter Sing a Song of Sixpence
John Tavener Mother of God, here I stand
Philip Stopford Ave Maris stella