Michael Chance Countertenor

SienAgosto 2019

SienAgosto Academy 2019 - SIENA, ITALY

Monday 19th to Tuesday 27th August 2019

Arrival Sunday 18th. Departure Wednesday 28th.

Michael Chance’s annual residential summer music academy for singers and continuo players will be hosted once again by the renowned school of humanities, the Siena Art Institute in collaboration with the Siena School for Liberal Arts.

Students are invited to apply for nine days of intensive teaching, coaching, workshop and masterclass, as well as public concerts, in the intensely stimulating city of Siena, where senses are bombarded, minds altered, and aspirations raised.

This course offers world-class tuition in vocal communication. Singers are most effective when they show clear intention, and a need to communicate meaning, in addition to the mere beauty of sound. SienAgosto covers all periods of classical repertoire, but shows how mastering the vocal craft through the study and celebration of earlier repertoire greatly enhances the understanding of all song. We welcome applications from instrument players, whether they’ll be playing piano, harpsichord, lute, theorbo or guitar, etc., who would also like to work with singers.

Over 100 students from some 25 countries all over the world have been warmly received in the four course so far held in Siena. Numbers in 2019 are limited to 30 participants. Teachers, coaches and accompanists will be drawn from the SienAgosto international faculty of highly experienced performers and teachers.

The price of €1200 covers shared accommodation, 1 group dinner, teaching and all related activities. It should be noted that the full cost for each student which the course must find is €2000. SienAgosto sources substantial charitable funds in order to keep the price for each student low and attract a wide intake of applicants. Therefore we offer no bursaries. The price of €1200 is already substantially discounted.

Applications must be submitted by 30th April 2019. It is expected, as in the past, that demand will be high. A non-refundable deposit of €200 will be requested following acceptance to the program. This will be deducted from the full price of €1200.

SienAgosto Faculty Members


Lynne Dawson - Soprano - Head of the School of Vocal Studies and Opera at RNCM, Manchester

Lynne Dawson is the RNCM’s Head of the School of Vocal Studies and Opera and has been one of Britain’s best-loved and respected sopranos for more than 30 years. Before becoming a singer, she trained as a translator and interpreter and spent several years in industry before studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She was very fortunate to work with many conductors and ensembles at the forefront of the Historical Performance movement, including the Deller Consort, the Hilliard Ensemble, John Eliot Gardiner, Roger Norrington, Christopher Hogwood, Trevor Pinnock, and with them made many recordings for most of the major labels. » more

Deborah York - Lyric-Coloratura Soprano

Deborah York was born and educated in Sheffield and graduated in musicology from Manchester University with a first class honours degree. She has gone on to enjoy a distinguished performing career working with musicians of the highest calibre across a wide spectrum of musical styles and genres. The recording of Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress” with John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon in which she sang the role of Anne Truelove won a Grammy Award for best opera category. » more

Elisabeth Priday - Soprano

Elisabeth Priday studied at the Royal Academy of Music, and whilst there she joined the Monteverdi Choir under John Eliot Gardiner. This marked the beginning of her career as a specialist in Early and Baroque music, both as a soloist and as an ensemble singer. She is a member of the Deller Consort, and has sung for Christopher Hogwood and Trevor Pinnock, and also with the Tallis Scholars. She's now keen to pass on her expertise and enthusiasm to the next generation of singers. » more

Michael Chance, CBE - Countertenor - Professor at the Royal Conservatory, The Hague - Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London - Artistic Director of The Grange Festival, Hampshire

In opera, oratorio, recital and in recording, Michael Chance has been singing to worldwide acclaim for over thirty years. His success has helped spread the appeal of counter-tenors, and foster the explosion of interest in baroque music. In addition, he has sung the first performances of a large body of new work by living composers. He teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague. He received the CBE in 2009. » more

Daniel Taylor - Countertenor - Head of Historical Performance at The University of Toronto, Faculty of Music

An exclusive recording artist for Sony Classical, Daniel Taylor is one of the most sought-after countertenors in the world. Daniel appears on more than 100 recordings which include Bach Cantatas/Monteverdi Choir/Gardiner (for Deutsche Grammophone Archiv and SDG). As an educator, Daniel has offered master classes at the Beijing Conservatory, the Sao Paolo Conservatory, at the Royal Academy, the Guildhall and the Royal College of Music. The University of Toronto recently appointed Daniel Taylor to the position of Head of Historical Performance in the Faculty of Music. » more

Ian Partridge, CBE - Tenor - Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London

Ian Partridge is one of Britain's leading lyric tenors. His wide repertoire 
has encompassed the music of Monteverdi, Bach and Handel, the Elizabethan lute songs, German, French and English songs and first performances of new works. He appeared regularly as soloist with major choirs and orchestras in Britain and throughout the rest of the world. He is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, and was awarded the CBE in 1992 for services to music. Ian retired from singing at the end of 2008, but continues to teach, give masterclasses and adjudicate. » more

Paul Beier - Lute - Professor at the Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado, Milan

Paul Beier graduated from the Royal College of Music in London. He has performed in Europe, North and South America and Australia as soloist, director of Galatea, member of various groups and as continuo player in orchestral and opera productions. His solo lute repertoire extends from the Italian Cinquecento to the music of Bach and Weiss. Since 1981 Paul Beier has taught lute, continuo and ensemble at the Scuole Civiche di Milano. » more

Giulia Nuti - Harpsichord - Head of the Early Music dept. of Scuola di Musica di Fiesole

Harpsichordist Giulia Nuti has appeared in venues throughout Europe as a soloist and continuo player. A specialist in Italian music and treatises of the baroque, her book "The performance of Italian basso continuo" (Ashgate 2007) is cited as an essential text for performers and scholars of basso continuo. Giulia teaches harpsichord at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, where she leads the department of Early Music; she also holds a research post at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano. » more

Fiona Tree - Alexander Technique - Royal Conservatory, The Hague

Fiona Tree teaches the Alexander Technique programme at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Since introducing the course into the bachelor curriculum in 1999, she has taught well over a thousand students and professors, both individually and in workshops. Fiona has been teaching musicians for 30 years. She is regularly invited to give courses, workshops and master classes throughout The Netherlands and internationally. » more


Rebecca Taylor - Accompanist

Born and educated in North Yorkshire, Rebecca made her concerto debut at the age of 17 performing Shostakovich's 2nd piano concerto. Under the tuition of Jeremy Young of the RNCM, she was awarded a performance scholarship to the annual Birmingham International Piano Academy in 2005 and the following year she won the Piano Academy's concerto competition. She is currently playing as accompanist for Celine Forrest, who is taking part on the Cardiff Singer of the World Competiton, currently taking place, and being shown on BBC Television, on BBC 4. » more

Iason Marmaras - Keyboards

Iason Marmaras is a keyboard player, singer, and the founder and leader of the ensemble Os Orphicum. He was awarded a Master’s degree on Harpsichord (2012) under Fabio Bonizzoni and Ton Koopman; and a Bachelor’s degree in Early Music Singing (2011) under Barbara Pearson, Kees Jan de Koning, Jill Feldman, Michael Chance and Peter Kooij; at the Royal Conservatoire in Den Haag, the Netherlands. » more


Ensemble rehearsals will be included in the schedule. Repertoire will be detailed after all applications have been submitted. It is hoped to work on both a cappella repertoire and also with instruments, using all the students on the course.


You are invited to send your application for SIENAGOSTO ACADEMY 2019 by 30th April 2019 using the following application form:

Application form Application form (MS Word file)
SienAgosto 2019 announcements
Memories of SienAgosto 2019

Another intense 9 days in the constantly inspiring and stimulating arena of Siena. We arrive not knowing what’s really going to happen. We don’t audition anyone who applies to come onto the course, but somehow they audition themselves, because all the students (around 20 this year) are good enough to be thought of as soloists and acquit themselves convincingly in each other’s company. It’s a talking shop as much as it’s an academy. We share so much with each other, and everyone has the chance to work hard and perform, in beautiful places. I really think the teachers learn a lot as well as the students. I certainly do. We had two scientists, both post-docs, singing duets with each other (Daria from St Petersburg and Ulf from Hamburg); and impressive Kirill from Moscow storming through virtuoso Handel arias. Course regular Jonathan, now working in Copenhagen, amazed us all - he’s really got it, finally! Lovely supremely competent Eoin from Dublin touched us alongside Vanessa from RNCM revealing early rep. none of us had heard before. And then Annabel, fresh from a year in Padova, I hope we helped prepare for a future in singing; and so many others to mention: João from Johannesburg has committed now to singing after his revelations last year; Sinead oozed class, as did Matthias, Tessa and Aemilia, and we loved meeting Lei from China (via Cardiff), Leonardo from Southern Brazil, and the amazing young lutenist Thomas from Ghent. ‘Bloody amateur’ distinguished art historian Christiane came to listen and watch from Frankfurt, while Tyler from Colorado and Alice from Canada showed us a glimpse of exciting futures.

We ended up as rather a close family. I do hope many will come back next year. We start 10.00am on 19th August in Il Punto, Siena School’s fabulous new home next to Siena’s southern city gate, Porta Romana. Cor magis tibi sena pandit.

Michael Chance

The first concert will be held on Sunday, 25 August 2019 at 6:30 pm in the Contrada di Valdimontone, followed by a dinner in the same contrada.
The final concert for SienAgosto 2019 will be on Tuesday, 27 August at 5:30 pm in the historic epicentre of Siena: the Sala del Mappamondo in the Palazzo Pubblico (a.k.a. Museo Civico), Piazza del Campo, no. 1. The performers will stand beneath the magnificent Maestà that Simone Martini painted in 1315. On the opposite wall is another masterpiece, a fresco showing “Guidoriccio da Fogliano at the Siege of Montemassi”, believed to have been painted by Simone Martini around 1330. In the next room is the “Allegory of Good and Bad Government” painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti between 1338 and 1339. After the concert, the programme will have its final dinner at the Osteria Babazuf, via Pantaneto, no. 85/87.
posted on Saturday 24 August 2019
SienAgosto 2019 will take place from 19th - 27th August 2019.
posted on Friday 16 November 2018
Teaching at home & abroad

Michael Chance is Professor in the Vocal Faculty of the Historically Informed department at the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag, Netherlands. He is also Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Since the 1990's, he has been running his own Summer Music Academy in Southern Europe, first in Greece, now in Italy.

We transferred our summer course from a peaceful arcadian forest grove in Greece to a bustling mediaeval city in Italy. In so doing, we lost a little and gained a lot. Some of our faithful students have expressed disappointment at losing swimming pools, forest walks, and a sense of unhurried calm and retreat from diurnal stress. They are not wrong. Siena, however, offers us a rich community, a strong cultural context, wonderful spaces for learning and performing, as well as a connection to nature which we view with constant delight during the working day. It also offers us many more opportunities to collaborate with the local community, and a wealth of possibilities to develop the Summer Academy in still unimagined ways. Another challenge is to continue welcoming musicians from a wide background, nurturing and matching the passion of the part-time enthusiast with the fierce determination of the talented student. I personally love to witness each stimulating the other. We have expanded the course to include all voice types and stringed instruments. I sincerely hope, however, that our time together in Siena will continue to feel personal and individual and memorable.

Michael Chance
SienAgosto links
Siena 2018: Photos
Siena 2018: Testimonials
Siena 2016: Concerts
Siena 2016: Testimonials
Siena 2015: Photos
Siena 2015: Testimonials
Siena 2014: Photos
Siena 2014: Testimonials
Candili 2013: Testimonials
SienAgosto 2018 appraisals
This was my first voice summer programme so I didn't really know what to expect. I was completely overwhelmed by the warm and supportive environment created by the faculty and students. Both the individual lessons and the opportunity to sit in on the lessons of other (super talented) singers were invaluable. The faculty members really got to know each of our voices and were able to guide us no matter how experienced/ inexperienced we were. Adding to the surreality of learning from people like Michael Chance, Deborah York, and Dan Taylor was the view from our classroom and the concert venues (it's not every day you get the chance to sing in a hall surrounded by frescos painted by Vecchietta)! I loved this programme and thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to participate!
Tara Venkatesan, India/USA

For any queries about SienAgosto, please use the contact details in the Application Form (MS Word file) above.

For all communication regarding Michael's other teaching projects, please use the form below.

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