I am feeling very excited about tomorrow’s Voice Training course, being held at the Guildhall. I will be on the teaching team and we will have the honour and privilege to listen to and watch some of the most knowledgeable practitioners connected with voice. They will deal with alignment, breathing, movement, laryngeal mechanics, phonation, resonance, registers, articulation, physiotherapy, emotional motor system, teaching, performance and artistry. I can’t wait!
Well, I did it! I gave a fully improvised concert, along with some superb colleagues from Guildhall- Adrian Brendel, Philippa Davies, David Dolan and Rosie Bowker. Such a privilege to sing with such excellent musicians. We definitely had some fun, with audience members giving us ideas to spark off different ideas and forms. I am finding it fascinating to discover the impact which improvisation has on the performing artist. Speaking for myself, I feel even more present and even more immersed in my performance than when I am singing a pre-composed work. Such a joy to discover this and how this filters into my regular performances.
One of my Guildhall students, Sian Dicker, last night won the Dunraven Welsh Young Singer of the Year competition!
My voice is feeling great, my students are growing and succeeding and I continue to feed my hunger for further knowledge through the superb professional development programme at Guildhall. My current interests lie within the fields of coaching-mentoring skills and musical improvisation. It is interesting to start to realise how the two are related! There is much to be grateful for at this time and some very good news which I will tell you about in one of my later posts. Nothing is impossible, lovely people!
I was very fortunate to have the superb Ron Morris in my teaching studio for today. I always love to collaborate, but it is a special pleasure when it is with someone of Ron’s calibre. Such insights and specialist knowledge! Hurray! 🙂
Am feeling really excited about travelling to Finland again for another excellent iCON seminar. The last iCON was transformative for me and it looks as though this one will be no less inspiring. I will have the opportunity to work with another group of extraordinary musicians, talented, kind and generous. Most of all, I am looking forward to seeing my dear friend from the RCM days, Mona Julsrud!
Thanks to my duo partner’s tireless work, we are about to embark on a mini-tour of South Africa, along with fabulous ‘cellist, Corinne Morris. We will give concerts in Hermanus, Mosselbay, Grahamstown and Pretoria, before returning to the UK. Repertoire includes: Schubert and Ginastera songs.
It’s been an interesting year for development and creativity. My duo partnership with South African pianist, Nico de Villiers, continues to stimulate me and create an outlet for my great love of chamber music. I have also had some wonderful orchestral singing engagements this year, in particular, Mahler 4 in Romania, which was a great delight.
My singing has developed in unexpected ways, possibly because of the introduction of improvisation sessions to my musical life this year.
I am so looking forward to performing the beautiful soprano solo in Mahler’s 4th Symphony. I have been invited to sing it with the Sibiu Philharmonic in Romania, with the wonderful conductor-composer, Marijn Simons, in the beautiful Sala Thalia. More news and photos to follow.
The Symphony No. 4 in G major by Gustav Mahler was written in 1899 and 1900, though it incorporates a song originally written in 1892. The song, “Das himmlische Leben”, presents a child’s vision of Heaven. It is sung by the soprano in the work’s fourth and last movement. In the score, Mahler specifies that the text “be sung with childlike, cheerful expression; entirely without parody!” It is utterly charming.
I am thrilled to announce that I have been chosen to represent the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, along with fabulous flautist Philippa Davies, at a 5 day event at the Estonian Academy of Music & Theatre in Tallinn. It will be 5 days of looking at improvisation! Each day will start at 10am and finish with an evening concert. There will be all sorts of other performer-teachers from other international conservatoires and we will be put into varying groups in order to practice and learn about improvisation. The event is led by superb pianist and improviser, Anto Pett, whom I had the good fortune to meet at another event, last year.
When I finished my dissertation on Fearless Performance a couple of years ago one of my conclusions was that improvisation was a key tool in nurturing creativity and presence (i.e. the ability to stay ‘in the moment’ during performance). I made a mental note at the time to look into how improvisation might further aid our development as artists. Now is my chance to find out! Wish me luck! I will post again to let you know how it all went!