Most 2020 art song programs were officially cancelled within the first few months of the year. Nevertheless, the Foundation has been able to support participants whenever it has still been feasible.
This summer, I attended the Orford Music Academy’s Collaborative Piano Workshop with Liz Upchurch and Francis Perron. Because of the Covid-19 circumstances, this program, originally for voice and piano duo, was transformed into an online workshop for collaborative pianists. The program lasted a week and not only focused on art song and operatic repertoire, but also featured group discussions and a variety of presentations around musician’s health. One of the presentations was especially valuable for collaborative pianists. Led by opera pianist Michael Shannon, it addressed the importance of hand health and injury prevention, and included lots of useful advice and resources.
Apart from daily lessons with the collaborative piano faculty, the pianists had the opportunity to explore the world of online collaboration. Each student recorded a lied for a fellow classmate who was to sing with the recorded accompaniment at the end of the week in a virtual concert. To help us prepare this performance, we had the opportunity to have a voice lesson with the incredible tenor Benjamin Butterfield.
Our group meetings also allowed us to share our experiences and predictions in terms of adaptability strategies, given our ever increasing dependency on digital media in the music industry in the midst of the pandemic. It certainly helped us to reflect and to find new perspectives on the future of art song, opera, and collaboration.
Meeting all of the musicians in the program was a very inspiring, humbling, and mood-lifting experience. I am very grateful to the Orford Music Academy for their efforts in making this program possible online and to the Art Song Foundation of Canada for supporting artists who wish to continue their musical growth despite these difficult times. My sincere thanks.
Thanks to the generous scholarship from the Art Song Foundation of Canada, I was able to participate in the very first edition of Orford Virtual Music Academy. It was a joy, in these isolating times, to talk about music and to sing for an amazing teacher, Christian Immler. We had four lessons, each lasting an hour, on Zoom.
I worked mostly on Richard Strauss’s Drei Lieder der Ophelia with him and, even though I could not sing this complex music with a pianist, we still were able to add layers of meaning into my interpretation of these Lieder. He was really precise in his remarks and helped me gain a deeper understanding of how I can use the German language to serve the music and how the music serves the poem.
It was a truly enjoyable experience and I feel very privileged to have been able to attend the Academy, albeit in an unconventional way. I feel that this week helped me to grow a little more as an individual and as an artist. I cannot thank the Art Song Foundation of Canada enough for its generous support.