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Vocal Institute

Music & Theater / Star-Powered Artistry

Interested in Vocal Training?

The Vocal Institute is the leading source to develop artists of impact and prepare them for a 21st century career in voice and vocal piano. Expert teaching artists collaborate and mentor participants to prepare them for on-stage performances— from a fully-staged opera production to public masterclasses — while also providing abundant training and dynamic opportunities to support both the on and off-stage experience.

20 singers , 5 vocal pianists & 1 directing fellow enrolled per summer

Mirroflores: Cinematic Opera

Training & Performance Opportunities

Peter Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin

The fully-staged production will be conducted by Daniela Candillari. Offering lead roles for soprano, mezzo, tenor, baritone, and bass.

Marilyn Horne Song Competition

Compete for a $5,000 cash award per winner (1 singer / 1 pianist); a Santa Barbara recital in 2023 featuring a commissioned work, and more.

Private Lessons & Masterclasses

Study one-on-one with pedagogues from our world-class faculty roster including John Churchwell, Gerald Martin Moore, Nino Sanikidze, Tamara Sanikidze, and Bill Schuman.

Additional Opportunities

  • Vocal Chamber Concerts
  • Vocal Institute Recital
  • Train with Acting and Performance Coach Sara E. Widzer
  • Work with Mosher guest artist soprano Susanna Phillips

Artist-in-Residence Sasha Cooke

Work closely with the Academy alumna and Metropolitan Opera favorite in a special masterclass, private lessons, and workshops during her two-week residency.

Composer-in-Residence Tom Cipullo

Perform in an evening of staged song, opera, and chamber music by Cipullo, coached by the award-winning composer in person.

Creative Project

Work with James Darrah for two weeks on a new creative venture.

Industry Day

Singers and pianists will be heard by and receive critical feedback from prominent artist managers and casting directors.

NEW! Directing Fellow

Collaborate with expert teaching artists to prepare for a professional career as a stage director. Serve as Assistant Director of a new production of Eugene Onegin alongside Matthew Ozawa and Daniela Candillari, and collaborate with and assist Sara E. Widzer and James Darrah on staged projects.

Innovation Institute

Offering seminars & entrepreneurial competitions. View fellow-crafted multimedia content in the 2021 DIGITAL CHALLENGE.

Compeer Program

Through our special “Compeer” program, each fellow is matched with community members for social events and more.

Wellness Program

Take advantage of wellness resources including exercise, yoga, counseling, and physical therapy.

Vocal Institute Faculty & Teaching Artists

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James Darrah
creative producer of special projects
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Hemdi Kfir
language coach
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William Long
assistant conductor & chorus master, opera
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Gerald Martin Moore
vocal pedagogue
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Nils Neubert
language coach
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Nino Sanikidze
vocal coach
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Tamara Sanikidze
vocal coach
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Maureen Zoltek
vocal coach

Application Form, Audition Process & Repertoire Requirements

2022 Directing Fellow / Dec 15, 2021 (application season closed) 2022 Voice Program / Nov 1, 2021 (application season closed) 2022 Vocal Piano Program / Nov 1, 2021 (application season closed)
2022 NEW AUDITION PROCESS! PRE-SCREENING ROUND FOLLOWED BY INVITATION-ONLY VIRTUAL LIVE ROUND All Vocal Piano applicants must first submit a Pre-Screening Round Audition Video Recording as part of the online application, Applicants will be notified by email by mid-November if they have advanced to the Virtual Live Audition Round which will occur on December 3, 4, and 5, 2021. There will be no in-person live auditions for 2022. A Virtual Live Final Round will occur instead, providing the accessibility and convenience of auditioning virtually from any location. *International Vocal Piano Program Applicants Exempt from Virtual Live Auditions: those residing overseas (outside North America) may request to submit a video upload audition in lieu of a live virtual audition, if advanced to the Virtual Live Round.   VOCAL PIANO PRE-SCREENING RECORDING ROUND AUDITION  REPERTOIRE The following two selections must be uploaded as audio or audio/video files within the online application: 1. Choose ONE of the following arias to play and sing:
  • Mozart, recitative and aria "Temerari...Come scoglio" (from Cosi fan tutte)
  • Mozart, recitative and aria  “Crudele…Non mi dir” (from Don Giovanni)
  • Mozart, recitative and aria "Tutto è disposto...Aprite un po quegli occhi" (from Le nozze di Figaro)
2. Choose ONE of the following ensembles to play and sing:
  • “Donizetti, L’elisir d’amore, “Una parola, O Adina…Chiedi all’ aura
  • Verdi, quartet "Un dì, se ben rammentomi... Bella figlia dell'amore" (from Rigoletto)
 
  VOCAL PIANO INVITATION-ONLY VIRTUAL LIVE ROUND AUDITION REPERTOIRE Four Selections: 1. Choose ONE of the following arias to play and sing:
  • Mozart, recitative and aria "Temerari...Come scoglio" (from Cosi fan tutte)
  • Mozart, recitative and aria “Crudele…Non mi dir” (from Don Giovanni)
  • Mozart, recitative and aria "Tutto è disposto...Aprite un po quegli occhi" (from Le nozze di Figaro)
2. Choose ONE of the following arias to play:
  • Tchaikovsky, “Lensky’s Aria” (from Eugene Onegin)
  • Stravinsky, "No word from Tom...I go to Him" (from The Rake’s Progress)
  • Puccini, “Recondita armonia” (from Tosca)
3. Choose ONE of the following ensembles to play and sing:
  • “Donizetti, L’elisir d’amore, “Una parola, O Adina…Chiedi all’ aura
  • Verdi, quartet "Un dì, se ben rammentomi... Bella figlia dell'amore" (from Rigoletto)
4. Choose ONE of the following songs to play. Applicant to provide own vocal partner.
  • Strauss, "Allerseelen" in E flat Major
  • Barber, "St. Ita’s Vision" in high key
  • Fauré, "Clair de lune" in B flat Minor
*Virtual Live auditions are 15-20 minutes each. INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: Vocal Piano Applicants residing overseas (outside North America) may submit a video upload audition in lieu of a virtual live audition, if advanced to the Virtual Live Round; upload four videos that satisfy the repertoire requirements above. Vocal partner must be arranged on your own to meet the fourth repertoire requirement.   *Note: Vocal Piano Early Arrival Date: Enrolled Vocal Piano fellows arrive several days prior to the start of the Festival in order to participate in pre-season training.
2022 NEW Voice Program Audition Process: Pre-Screening Recording Round followed by an Invitation-Only Virtual Live Round: Voice Program applicants must first submit a Pre-Screening Round recording as part of the online application. Applicants will be notified by email by mid-November if they have been advanced to the Virtual Live Audition Round which will occur on December 3, 4, and 5, 2021. There will be no in-person live auditions for 2022. A Virtual Live Final Round will occur instead, providing the accessibility and convenience of auditioning virtually from any location. *International Voice Program Applicants Exempt from Virtual Live Auditions: those residing overseas (outside North America) may request to submit a video upload audition in lieu of a virtual live audition, if advanced to the Virtual Live Audition Round.   Audition Repertoire: PRE-SCREENING RECORDING ROUND The following two selections must be uploaded as audio or audio/video files within the online application:
  • 1 opera aria
  • 1 art song
*Singers are encouraged, but not required, to sing selections from Eugene Onegin if they are interested in being considered for leading roles.
INVITATION-ONLY VIRTUAL LIVE AUDITION ROUND  The following four selections:
  • 2 contrasting opera arias
  • 2 art songs
*Singers are encouraged, but not required, to sing selections from Eugene Onegin if they are interested in being considered for leading roles. *At least one of the four Live Audition Round selections must be in English *At least one of the four Live Audition Round selections must be composed after 1950 *Both requirements above may be met by singing an Opera Aria or Art Song that is both in English and composed after 1950 *Applicants must demonstrate in their audition a thorough understanding of the character, dramatic situation, and meaning of each aria or song text.   Vocal Institute fellows have multiple performance opportunities including a fully-staged production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, one or two semi or fully-staged new music productions, and the Marilyn Horne Song Competition, in addition to public masterclasses and vocal chamber performances. Fellows also participate in an evening of staged song, opera, and chamber music.

Online Application & Pre-Screening Round followed by an Invitation-only Live Virtual Interview

Applicants will be notified by email by mid-January if they have advanced to the Virtual Interview Round

Virtual Interview Process Applicants will be asked to discuss:
  • Applicant’s general approach to directing, including why they wish to direct opera in today's climate and outlining what they bring to the world of opera and storytelling.
  • Personal portfolio including production photos (as available) and set and costume design concepts.
  • General conversation about the following operatic titles:
    1. Eugene Onegin
    2. Le nozze di Figaro
    3. A third title of the applicant's choice (this can be a production applicant has already worked on, or a production applicant wishes to do in the future)
Voice & Vocal Piano
  • Friday, December 3, 2021
  • Saturday, December 4, 2021
  • Sunday, December 5, 2021
Directing Fellow
  • Late January 2022

The Music Academy requires all administration, faculty, fellows, and other constituents on campus to provide proof of COVID vaccination.

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