Last week I took part in WAAPA’s International Art Song Academy. The participants were coached by world reknowned Art Song expert, Dr Graham Johnson and vocal coach, Mary King.
Eighteen singers and two pianists from around Australia, prepared various lieder of Schumann and Schubert, culminating in a performance at Government House Ballroom. Over the week we covered Schumann lieder from his formative years, right up to his last song cycle. We explored one of his most famous cycles, Frauen Lieben und Leben as well as some of his lesser known cycles such as Wihelm Meister Gesangen. Graham spoke in great depth about Schumann’s influences and the social circumstances surrounding each composition, as well as the stylistic choices one is faced with when performing his works.
On Sunday afternoon we had the honor of being accompanied by Graham Johnson himself, performing highlights of the weeks workshops at Government House Ballroom.
During the week we also had seven masterclasses with British vocal coach, Mary King. Mary is well known for her appearance as a coach on BBC’s Operatunity and as a guest commentator on Cardiffs Singer of the World. Mary worked on each individual piece with a focus on dramatic intension and vocal production. Her passion for performance was infectious and her knowledge of the repertoire vast. We all gained a lot from work-shopping our arias and equally by watching each other learn.
It was a wonderful opportunity to be a part of WIASA this year and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into learning some more Schumann for my next recital. I urge any singer in Australia who is passionate about Art Song to come and be a part of WIASA 2016.
Happy music making!