Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi, in the Chiesa San Francesco in Asciano, rehearsal 2017 
The Crete Senesi | The Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi music Festival
In summer months, the otherwise silent spaces of the Crete Senesi in southern Tuscany are filled with music, thanks to a number of fine festivals. Among them the Festival estivo di Accademia Chigiana, the Piccola Accademia di Montisi, the Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi Festival and the Amiata Piano Festival.
Since 2017, the music festival Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi (formarly the Accademia delle Crete Senesi festival) is organized by Collegium Vocale Ghent. Small historic churches and abbeys provide atmospheric settings for intimate early music and lush Romantic concerts, and dinners at precious outdoor settings.
"The concerts take place in small but marvellous churches, chosen because of their adequate acoustics for the repertoire on the program. On dream locations such as the churches of Santo Stefano (Castelmuzio), Sant’Anna in Camprena (Pienza) and San Francesco (Asciano) both music lovers and performers can discover the Crete Senesi, one of the most beautiful and authentic regions of Europe, situated near well known cities such as Florence, Siena, Montepulciano or Montalcino, an amidst one of the most prestigeous wine areas of Italy."
Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi, in the Chiesa San Francesco in Asciano, rehearsal 2017 
The international level of performances and the perfect marriage between beautiful landscapes and a culture dating back to the Etruscans make the festival a unique event for Flemish, Italian and international audiences.
The programme features a rich anthology of masterpieces and unknown gems from eight centuries of musical history. Concerts take place in the Monasterio Sant'Anna in Camprena near Pienza, the Chiesa Santo Stefano in Castelmuzio and in the Chiesa San Francesco in Asciano, atmospheric and inspiring meeting places for musicians and audiences.
Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi 2023: from 23 to 29 July 2023
Instrumental and vocal chamber music and recitals from Baroque to contemporary, together with some gems from the Renaissance, form the beating heart of the festival. Big names like Monteverdi, Bach, or Schumann stand alongside lesser-played composers like Éduard Lassen, Louise Farrenc or György Kurtág.
'Singers like tenor Reinoud Van Mechelen or Thomas Bauer vouch for captivating song recitals with works by Eissler or Lassen. Laureate of the Elisabeth Competition in 2010, Hannes Minnaar throws himself into Bach's Golberg Variations. Quatuor Mosaïques once again explores the unsurpassed classical string quartet oeuvre. Once again guests at the festival are pianist Martin Helmchen and cellist Marie Elisabeth Hecker. Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent delve passionately into the Renaissance with a new anthology from the inexhaustible madrigal oeuvre of Monteverdi and his contemporaries, and perform the Officium defunctorum, the absolute masterpiece of the Spaniard Tomàs Luis de Victoria.'
Impressions edition 2022
Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi,aftermovie fesival 2022
Program 2020 | Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi from Sunday 26 July until Friday 31 July
The program for 2020 looked as promising as always. The festival opened with a lively party, with a soirée composée with concerts and buffet on Sunday 26 18:00 in Asciano (Piazza Garibaldi, Chiesa San Francesco, Basilica Sant Agatha, Piazza del Grano).
On Tuesday 28th Collegium Vocale performed Gesualdo, Book V. Napoli Gothique on Monday 27 in Pienza, Sant’Anna in Camprena. Founded and directed by Pedro Memelsdorff, Mala Punica is a vocal-instrumental ensemble devoted to the polyphonic repertoire of the end of the Middle Ages. Sylvia Huang, the 'Lauréat du public' of the Queen Elisabeth Competition performs Eugène Ysaÿe in three concerts on Tuesday 28.
The soloists of Collegium Vocale Gent conclude the 2020) festival on Friday evening, July 31 at the Monasterio Sant'Anna in Camprena with Purcell's Ode to St. Caecilia. Look for the beautiful frescos by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (Il Sodoma) in its Refectory. This is a late-night concert, preceded by a dinner in the courtyard of the abbey.
The Covid-19 crisis has made it impossible to deliver the foreseen beautiful program. The festival made this announcement:
'Also because we realize how you crave heavenly music in real live performances, and not on that damned little screen, we decided with the Collegium Vocale to let the twentieth edition of our Crete Senesi Festival take place in spite of all difficulties, with most of the performers foreseen, but in slightly changed circumstances: less audience, concentrated in Asciano and with some creative solutions. You can read the practical info here.
All concerts take place in the San Francesco church and on Piazza del Grano in Asciano.
Read the full program here on the website of the Music Festival Collegium Vocale Crete Senesi.
You can also order tickets or a subscription.
Google Maps shows you the way in Asciano (locations of churches and dinner places) via this link. You can also view them on your smartphone. This is how you get the GPS coordinates right away, you can immediately get directions, and you will be taken care of at the concert venue without worry.
Conducting artists include pianist Nelson Goerner, cellist Andreas Brantelid and lead singer Christoph Prégardien. Members of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam play a chamber music concert on Monday and Friday, respectively. The Edding Quartet will play an intimate late-night concert on Wednesday evening, and accordionist Philippe Thuriot will end the day with a free improvisation concert on the outdoor stage at Bar Hervé on Monday and Thursday evening.
The soloists of Collegium Vocale Gent conclude the 2019 festival on Friday evening, August 2 at the Monasterio Sant'Anna in Camprena with the Psalms Davids by Heinrich Schütz. Another special event is the performance of Heinrich Schütz’s O primavera, gioventù de l'anno ( Il primo libro de madrigali, 1611) by Collegium Vocale Gent and Philippe Herreweghe on Tuesday, in the marvelous setting of the Sant’Anna in Camprena monastery.