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AIMS Alumni Special Guests

Lauren Urquhart is a 24 year old American soprano currently living and working in Vienna, Austria. She has been a full-time soloist at the Volksoper Wien since the 2019/20 season, when she was hired as one of the ensemble’s youngest members in history. In the 2021/22 Volksoper season, she will make several role debuts, most notably, the role of Sophie in the Volksoper premiere of Der Rosenkavalier and Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel. She will also be seen again as Adele in Die Fledermaus, which she debuted last season.

Lauren’s operatic credits include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni,* Giannetta in L’elisir d’amore, Pamina and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, and Beth in Little Women.

The promising soprano moved to Europe in 2018, where she spent a year freelancing in Germany before starting her full-time engagement at the Volksoper. She made her German debut at the Staatstheater Nürnberg, playing the role of Shelley in their premiere of Anna Nicole. Since moving to Europe, Lauren has developed a specialty in singing new music, taking part in various premieres. She brought the role of Ann Darrow to life in Jeffrey Ching’s The True Story of King Kong at the Theater Magdeburg in 2019. Already in her first season at the Volksoper, she was trusted with a lead role in the European premiere of Tod Machover’s Schoenberg in Hollywood.* She also covered the challenging role of the Nachtigall in Braunfels’s Die Vögel at the Tiroler Festspiele Erl in 2019.

Lauren received her B.M. in Vocal Performance from the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University.

Dominick Chenes, lyrico-spinto tenor, has enjoyed great operatic success in some of the world’s greatest stages, and under the musical direction of the finest conductors of today. Dominick’s most recent credits include, Liege as Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly, under the baton of Speranza Scapucci (2019), in Valencia as Carlo in I Masnadieri conducted by music director Roberto Abbado (2019), La Reine de Saba with Odyssey Opera (2018), conducted by Gil Rose, Seattle Opera as Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly (2017)  conducted  by  Carlo  Montenaro, Opera Colorado as Rodolfo in La Bohème (2017), Hong Kong as Rodolfo in La Bohème (2017), and B.F. Pinkerton (2018).  Dominick joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the role of Faust (cover 2018),  B.F. Pinkerton (cover 2020),  and  Mario  Cavaradossi  (cover  2022). In his career, Dominick has had the privilege to work with Palm Beach Opera as Don José in Carmen (2016); has  been  thrilled  to  perform Alfredo in La Traviata  with  the  New  National  Theatre  in  Tokyo,  Japan,  and  with the Opera på Skäret Festival in Sweden (2015); Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera with Austin Opera (2014), Turridu  with  The  New  Orleans  Opera.  Dominick  debuted Grand Théâtre de Genève as Iopas in Les Troyens with Maestro Dutoit (2015), followed by his debut as Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca with the Minnesota Opera (2016). Dominick returned to Austin Opera as Pinkerton (2017), performed Don José with Utah Opera (2016), followed by Rodolfo in La Bohème with Welsh National Opera (2017), and Cavaradossi in Tosca with the Reading Symphony (2019). Dominick returned  to  Hong  Kong  to  a  fantastic  role  debut  as Polione in Bellini’s Norma (2021),  followed  by  His  introduction  to  The  San  Francisco  Opera  as  Mario  Cavaradossi  (cover  2021).  Dominick  enjoyed  great  success  in  the  film  version  of  Tosca  with  Seattle  Opera  as  Mario  Cavaradossi  (2021),  and  was  enthusiastically  received  back  as  Don  José  with  Palm  Beach  Opera  (2022).

A graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts, at AVA Dominick performed Rodolfo in La Bohème conducted by Christofer Macatsoris. Other roles at AVA include Alfredo in La Traviata, Gherman in Pique Dame, and Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera. In 2016, Dominick made his Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium debut as the Tenor Soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C. Dominick made his Alice Tully hall debut with the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation as well as a concert for the Gerda Lissner Foundation in Zankel Hall In 2013.

Dominick attended the Russian Opera Workshop under the direction of Ghenady Meirson, where sang the role of Paolo in Francesca di Rimini, summer of 2013. Dominick received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. At UNLV, he performed Don José in Carmen, Ferrando in Cosí Fan Tutte, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, and Rodolfo in La Bohème. While an apprentice with the Utah Symphony Opera Program in 2008 he performed in their productions of Madame Butterfly, Don Pasquale, Regina, and as the Witch in Hansel and Gretel.

In 2005 through 2007 Dominick attended the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. During this time he was selected to perform with Maestro Eduardo Müller, and the AIMS Festival Orchestra; after this exciting experience, Dominick went on the study privately with Maestro Müller for years after. In 2013 Dominick was awarded second prize from the Gerda Lissner Foundation, third prize from the Mario Lanza Competition and a Grant from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation. He was also a finalist in the Meistersinger Competition in Graz Austria in 2006 and 2007. He currently studies with Bill Schuman.

Luis Ledesma frequently portrays the heroes and villains of Puccini and Verdi in addition to performing the important bel canto roles of Bellini, Donizetti, and Rossini. His growing repertoire includes many roles in the French repertoire and has extended to the verismo composers as well. His career already includes appearances in several international opera houses around the world, including Teatro alla Scala (Luisa Fernanda), the Liceu in Barcelona (Alphonse in La favorite, Riccardo in I puritani and Marcello in La bohème), Klangbogen Festival in Vienna (Leoncavallo’s La bohème), Wexford Festival (Don Pasquale), Teatro Municipal de Santiago (Escamillo), Semperoper in Dresden (Marcello), several roles for Koeln Oper (including Don Carlo and Germont), Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires (Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia), Bellas Artes in Mexico City (Marcello, Germont, and Escamillo ), Macau Festival (Sharpless), Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos (Marcello), Graz Oper (Escamillo), L’opera de Montreal (Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West), Manitoba Opera (Escamillo), Opera Lyra Ottawa (Tonio), the Philadelphia Orchestra (Marcello in a concert version of La boheme and Beethoven Nine) and the Savonlinna Opera Festival (Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and Escamillo), Bucharest National Opera (Scarpia) and Hungarian State Opera (Alfio and Tonio). In the United States, Mr. Ledesma has sung with many companies, including Houston Grand Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Washington Opera, New York City Opera, Arizona Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Madison Opera, Nashville Opera, Portland Opera, Indianapolis and Connecticut Opera, Opera Pacific, Palm Beach Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Carolina, Memphis Opera, San Antonio Opera, New Jersey Opera, Minnesota Opera, Florentine Opera, and Hawaii Opera. He also sang two tours with Andrea Bocelli, performing in famous venues such as Madison Square Garden, Hollywood Bowl, Hard Rock Café in Hollywood, Florida, and the Auditorio Nacional Mexico City.

The 2021-2022 season began with Scarpia for Opera Colorado, a Founders Concert with Maryland Opera and continues with the title role in Gianni Schicchi for On Site Opera in New York.

Recent seasons include Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Opera Omaha and Pacific Symphony, Augustino in El pasado nunca se termina with Fort Worth Opera,Carmina Burana (Baritone Solo) with the Acadiana Symphony Lafayette, Macbeth with Syracuse Opera, Madama Butterfly With Pacific Symphony and El pasado nunca se termina with Fort Worth Opera. Sharpless for Omaha Opera, Beethoven Nine with Mississippi Symphony and Scarpia with Colorado Opera.

Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci for Hungarian State Opera in Budapest followed by Carmen and L’elisir d’amore for Filarmonica de Jalisco and Marcello in La boheme for Palm Beach Opera. Mr. Ledesma made his house debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago,San Diego Opera and Houston Grand Opera this season in the world premiere of El Pasado Nunca Se Termina singing the role of Augustino and directed by Leonard Foglia. In the concert arena Mr. Ledesma returned to Carnegie Hall as the baritone soloist for Dvorak’s Te Deum.

In the US, Florencia en el Amazonas with NYCO, Madama Butterfly for Palm Beach Opera, Il barbiere di Siviglia for Opera San Antonio , Scarpia in Tosca for Atlanta Opera and Opera Santa Barbara and La boheme for Bellas Artes in Mexico City and La Orquesta Filarmonica de Santo Domingo. Mr. Ledesma sang the title role in Macbeth for Palm Beach Opera followed by Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for the Filarmonica de Jalisco and Gala concerts with Tampa Opera and with Festival Cultural Zacatecas followed by Scarpia for Bucharest National Opera, Marcello for the Semperoper in Dresden and Escamillo for Finger Lakes Opera and a solo recital with Festival Classique des Hautes-Laurentides in Mont-Tremblant, Canada.

Other recent engagements include Escamillo and Il Conte di Luna in Il trovatore with Ramon Vargas for Bellas Artes in Mexico City and Scarpia for Anchorage Opera followed by a Verdi Gala concert for Festival Cultural Alfonso Ortiz Tirado in Alamos and the role of Gianni Schicchi for Sacramento Opera.

Mr. Ledesma made his Carnegie Hall debut in the Faure Requiem and has sung Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Mann Music Center with The Philadelphia Orchestra. He has performed a variety of orchestral repertoire including Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Louisville Orchestra and a series of Christmas concerts in Hannover with the NDR Radiophilharmonie and a Verdi gala concert presented in Die Alte Opera Frankfurt. His concert performances include La bohème (Marcello) at the Vail Festival and the Mann Music Center with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Spain with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Asturias and The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

American tenor Matthew Vickers has been praised for his “brilliant and golden voice” (Die Kleine Zeitung), his “burnished sound and confident acting” (National Post), and hailed as “a gutsy performer whose glowing tenor voice has interestingly dark, baritonal undertones (Opera Now).

In the 2018-2019 season Mr. Vickers performed the role of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opera Memphis, was in concert with Sarasota Opera, debuted with the Macerata Festival as Don José in Carmen, and sang Canio in Pagliacci with the Savannah Music Festival. His 2019-2020 season sees a return to Virginia Opera as Cavaradossi in Tosca, Rodolfo in La bohème with Dayton Opera, Principe Dimitri in Risurrezione with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Carmel Symphony, Sam in Susannah with Annapolis Opera, and Calaf in Turandot with the Evansville Philharmonic.

The 2017-18 season included his debut as Arnold in Guillaume Tell with Opera Southwest as well as returns to Opera Western Reserve as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Sarasota Opera as Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, Opera Roanoke as Rodolfo in La bohème, and Opera Delaware as Luigi in Il tabarro. In the 2016-2017 season, Mr. Vickers performed the role of Don José in Carmen with Opera Western Reserve, covered Canio in Pagliacci with Virginia Opera, sang Avito in Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre re with Sarasota Opera, Sam in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah with Opera Roanoke, Luigi in Il tabarro with the Opera Company of Middlebury, and the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Ashlawn Opera. In the 2015-2016 season, he made his Sarasota Opera debut as Arrigo in Verdi’s La battaglia di Legnano, stepping in for an ailing colleague; took part in the east coast premiere of Faccio’s Amleto with Opera Delaware as Laertes, and performed the title role in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz with Boston Midsummer Opera. The 2014-2015 season saw him as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème with Penn State Opera Theatre and Turiddu in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana with Minnesota Concert Opera.

Master Classes and Other Special Guests

July 5 - 7, 2022 - Elizabeth Hagedorn

Fearless Auditions - Workshops with EFT Tapping; Creating a German Resume for Agent Auditions; Study in Europe - Tuition free

In twenty-seven years as an opera singer in Europe, Elizabeth Hagedorn has gathered extensive performing experience in Germany, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic. A wide repertoire of over fifty leading roles developed, through the dramatic coloratura and lyric soprano literature, and revealing her particular affinity for the complex characters of the Italian verismo and German expressionist composers. Significant role portrayals include Tosca, Salome, Ariadne, Chrysothemis (Elektra), Elsa, Senta, Marie (Wozzeck), Leonore (Fidelio), Ellen Orford, Maddalena (Andrea Chenier), Leonora (Trovatore), Elisabetta (Don Carlo), Violetta, Konstanze, Donna Elvira, Mimi, Rusalka and Olympia/Antonia/Giulietta (Tales of Hoffmann). Recent performances include Mirabella in Zigeuner Baron in Austria, Alma March (Little Women) with the Madison Opera, and concert performances of Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, Respighi’s Il Tramonto and Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder.

A three-year appointment as Visiting Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Wisconsin – Madison followed a position on the faculty at AIMS in 2013. Ms. Hagedorn is in demand in Europe and the United States both as a performer and vocal pedagogue, presenting voice master classes and stage performance workshops (Wien.Oper.Intensiv.). Her workshop in Global Vocal Styles is currently part of the Vienna school system’s continuing education program for music teachers, and was presented in 2017 at the Salzburg ISME conference (International Society for Music Education). Since 2010, she has maintained a private voice studio in Vienna.

Elizabeth Hagedorn completed music degrees in her home state of Wisconsin (BME) and at the University of Colorado (MM) as a student of Berton Coffin and Barbara Doscher. As a Regional MET competition finalist and the recipient of the Denver Lyric Opera Guild award, she was able to attend AIMS in 1986, a significant step toward beginning her European career.

July 5 - 10, 2022 - Gary Matthewman, Pianist / Collaborative Pianist

Workshops for Collaborative Pianists

Gary Matthewman is one of the UK’s leading song pianists. A regular artist at Wigmore Hall in London, other recent and forthcoming appearances include Carnegie Hall in New York, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, and in Strasbourg, Prague, Lucerne, Basel, Lisbon, Toronto, São Paulo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney. His UK Festival performances include Oxford Lieder, Leeds Lieder, Aldeburgh, Buxton and Glyndebourne.

Recent and future recital partners include Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Thomas Allen, Sumi Jo, Nuccia Focile, Mark Padmore, Ailyn Perèz, Kate Lindsey, Markus Werba, Dimitri Platanias, Sylvia Schwartz, Kate Royal, Andrei Bondarenko, Louise Alder, Adam Plachetka, Benjamin Appl, Sarah-Jane Brandon and Roderick Williams.

Gary has made numerous live broadcasts and recordings for BBC Radio 3, and his recent recording of Schubert’s Winterreise with Matthew Rose received widespread critical acclaim, featuring as Gramophone Magazine’s Recording of the Month and BBC Radio 3’s Disc of the Week. He is Professor of Vocal Repertoire at the Royal College of Music, and song coach for the Jette Parker Young Artists at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

July 6 - 8, 2022 - Gabriele Lechner, Lyric Dramatic Soprano

Master Classes for Singers

Prof. Lechner completed musical and vocal studies at Viennese Musikhochschule and in Italy. She was awarded the diploma summa cum laude in vocal training, lied and oratorio, and opera. She also won prizes in several competitions: Mario del Monaco (Italy), Opera en Belcanto (Belgium), and Dr. Luis Segall Competition (Chile). She performed for many years with the Vienna State Opera and Graz Opera and then joined Zürich Opera (1991-2001) where she sang the major lyric and dramatic roles of Verdi, Puccini, Strauss, and Wagner and performed over 26 leading roles in the operas of Gluck, Mozart, Weber, Meyerbeer, Boito, Giordano, Offenbach, Schreker, Goldmark, and modern composers Henze and Reimann, among others.

She performed in almost every European country, Korea, Chile and participated in major international festivals such as Salzburger Festspiele, Wiener Festwochen, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Prague Spring Festival and Carinthischer Sommer Austria. Her international career began in 1986 as Amelia (Un Ballo in Maschera) at Vienna State Opera with Luciano Pavarotti and Claudio Abbado. Watch Prof. Lechner and Luciano Pavarotti sing the Ballo Duett

She has a vast concert repertoire having appeared with the leading conductors of the day (She has worked with over 120 conductors!), and appears often in solo concerts in European countries. Many radio and television broadcasts and CD/DVD productions, including “Un Ballo in Maschera” with Pavarotti and Abbado, Tosca with Neil Shicoff, Hänsel and Gretel with Maestro Welser-Möst, have resulted from these artistic collaborations. Currently she is University Professor of Voice at Viennese U of Music and Dramatic Arts. She has judged the Meistersinger Vocal Competition and is one of the favorite master class teachers at AIMS.


July 15 - 22, 2022 Alison Cole

Opera IS a Business

In 1999 Alison established The Virtual Works, a virtual project management business in the corporate, diversity, arts & small business sectors.  Alison brings 40 years experience in Arts & Business and delivers it with a particular blend of humour.  She is passionate about working within the arts sector on a quest to bring greater synergies between art and business. Alison is currently the Chief Executive Officer of The Opera Foundation for young Australians, where she managers national auditions to provide international opportunities for young artists. Alison’s unique strength is her ability to convey the complexities of the operational side of a business to artists whilst supporting their individual objectives without any artistic interference.

July 27, 2022 - Bo Skovhus, Baritone

Master Class for Singers

Born in Denmark, Boje Skovhus studied at the Aarhus Music College and the Royal Academy for Opera of Copenhagen and in New York. He rose to opera stardom after a last minute appearance at the Vienna Volksoper when he substituted as Don Giovanni. Since then he has enjoyed a rapidly developing career on the world’s greatest opera stages.

He has been virtually adopted by the Viennese, and regularly performs at the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival. He sings the major baritone roles, such as the Count in Le nozze di Figaro and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. He has spurred a revival of Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Vienna Volksoper, and Royal Opera Copenhagen, and the little known baritone version of Massenet’s Werther. He also has made a specialty of Britten’s Billy Budd and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, including arias or scenes from them on his first opera disc (Sony Classics). Other leading baritone parts in his repertoire are Berg’s Wozzeck, Dallapiccola’s Il Prigioniero, Peter I in Zar und Zimmerman, Tarquinius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and Raimond in Othmar Schoeck’s Venus.

Skovhus also frequently appears on the recital stage and has recorded many recital discs. These include selections of Lieder by Hugo Wolf and Erich Korngold, a selection of songs by Robert and Clara Schumann (The Heart of the Poet), and the two great Schubert song cycles Schwanengesang and Die schöne Müllerin. After his 1997 New York recital at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center he was acclaimed as one of the great Lieder singers of his generation. He is particularly known for the energy and characterization he brings to the stage. He has appeared on many of the world’s great opera stages, including the Metropolitan in New York (debuting 1998 in Die Fledermaus), the Hamburg State Opera, the Houston Grand Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opéra de Paris, Royal Opera Copenhagen, and the Bavarian State Opera.

He appears at major music festivals such as Die Salzburg Festspiel, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Edinburgh, the Vienna Festwochen, and the Feldkirch Schubertiade. On the orchestral concert stage, he has sung in Orff’s Carmina Burana, Britten’s War Requiem, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Brahms’ Ein deutsche Requiem, and Schumann’s Scenes from Faust. This is Skovhus’ sixth time to give a master class at AIMS.

July 30, 2022 - Nico de Villiers, collaborative pianist

Master Class for Collaborative Pianists and Singers

Nico de Villiers is a British-South African pianist, coach and researcher based in London. He holds degrees from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the University of Michigan, as well as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Nico was the recipient of the ABRSM International Undergraduate Scholarship, a University of Michigan Teaching Assistant Scholarship, and scholarships from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama scholarship fund.

He performed as soloist, accompanist and chamber musician in prestigious venues such as the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London’s Southbank Centre, the Barbican and St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London; Birmingham Symphony Hall; the Terrace Theatre at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC; the Kammermusiksaal in Bonn, Germany; and the Mozarteum Grosser Saal in Salzburg, Austria. Festival performances include the Salzburg Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival, Chopin Birthday Festival in Warsaw, Poland, and the International Johannesburg Mozart Festival in South Africa.

Nico is a coach on the vocal faculty of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as well as a visiting coach at the Royal College of Music. Additionally, he has been a vocal coach at various other institutions including the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, and Trinity Laban Conservatory in London, UK. Masterclasses and workshops include institutions such as Florida Atlantic University, Boca Reton, Florida; Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida; University of Portland, Portland, Oregon (USA); the Birmingham Conservatory and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (UK); Kungliga Musikhögskolan in Stockholm (Sweden) and various universities across his native South Africa.

He has been on the faculty of various summer programmes including the Oxenfoord Summer Programme in Scotland, the Abingdon Summer School of Solo Singers and the Aderley International Music School in England, the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria, the International Music Academy in Pilsen, Czech Republic and the Peter Jablonski Piano Academy in Karlskrona, Sweden.

As researcher Nico has a particular interest in unearthing and performing neglected and undiscovered composers. In 2008 Nico performed a complete series of the piano chamber music of Hungarian pianist-conductor-composer Ernst von Dohnányi at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He subsequently made the world premiere recording of Polish pianist-composer André Tchaikowsky’s Piano Sonata, and features in the documentary Rebel of the Keys which focuses on Tchaikowsky’s life and the revival of Tchaikowsky’s opera The Merchant of Venice at the Bregenz Festival. Nico performed some of Tchaikowsky’s piano works and songs in the UK, Poland and South Africa.

In 2011 Nico founded the Richard Hageman Society (RHS) to focus scholarship and research into the work and life of the Dutch-born American Oscar-winning composer and conductor Richard Hageman. As director of the RHS Nico opened the Richard Hageman Aqueduct, unveiled a memorial plaque at Hageman’s birthplace in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, curated exhibitions of the RHS archives, and organised premieres of Hageman’s works. Nico presented various lecture recitals and presentations at conferences and symposiums in the UK, the USA, the Netherlands, Georgia and South Africa.

In 2018 Nico was awarded a PhD from the GSMD for his practice-based research entitled The Becoming of a Song Composer: A critical re-evaluation of Richard Hageman and his songs which discusses the cosmopolitanism present in and development of Hageman’s artistic identity through his songs. He most recently prepared Richard Hageman: From Holland to Hollywood, the first critical biography on Richard Hageman for Peter Lang Publishing with co-authors Kathryn Kalinak and Asing Walthaus. Nico also published articles in Classical Singer Magazine, Pianist Magazine, and Opera Magazine. Nico as Associate Editor of VOICEPrints, the journal of the New York Singing Teachers’ Association’s (

August 1 - 2, 2022 - Nathalie Doucet, Collaborative Pianist

Private Coaching Sessions for Singers

Nathalie Doucet, Head of Music and Resident Artist Program Director at Detroit Opera is a sought-after collaborative pianist and vocal coach with an international career. As a répétiteur, coach, and collaborative pianist, Ms. Doucet has worked with a number of premier producing organizations, singers, and conductors including: The Dutch National Opera, the Nederlandse Reisopera, NTR-Zaterdagmatinee, Het Concertgebouworkest, Muziekgebouw aan het Ij, Opéra de Montréal, the Canadian Opera Company, and Het Concertgebouw; Christine Goerke, Lisette Oropesa,  Étienne Dupuis, Lianna Haroutounian, Maria Agresta, Nicola Alaimo, Michèle Losier, Julie Boulianne, and Cheryl Studer; and Bernard Haitink, Charles Dutoit, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Markus Stenz, James Gaffigan, Karel Mark Chichon, Stéphane Denève, Richard Egarr, and Jaap van Zweden.

She has been part of the faculties and staff of some of the top schools, opera houses, and singing programs in North America and Europe, including McGill University, University of Tennessee, The Canadian Opera Company, Orlando Opera, Center for Opera Studies in Italy (C.O.S.I.), American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, York University, and the University of Toronto. In the Netherlands, where she lived for twelve years,  she held positions such as head coach of the Opera Studio Nederland and principal coach at the Dutch National Opera Academy. She has also worked for Opera Spanga, De Nederlandse Reisopera, the NTR Saturday Matinee (Concertgebouw), Dutch National Opera Academy, the Neue Stimmen competition, the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, and the International Vocal Competition in s’Hertogenbosch. She was on the classical voice faculty of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam as Coach, collaborative pianist, professor of French diction, and Music Director of the Opera program for ten years.

Most recently, she was on the label of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the recording of Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher conducted by Stéphane Denève, on which she contributed as repetiteur and assistant conductor as well as sound director during the recording of the live performances.  Nathalie Doucet is frequently invited to give master classes in Canada, United States and Europe as a jury member for singing competitions and auditions.

August 1 - 4, 2022 - Linda Watson, Dramatic Soprano

Master Class and Private Coaching Sessions for Singers

Kammersängerin Linda Watson American dramatic soprano made her career based in Germany where she studied and began as a mezzo-soprano at the Theater Aachen. She has performed worldwide, including at the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera and the Bayreuth Festival. She focused on dramatic roles by Wagner and Strauss, as well as Turandot. She was awarded the title Kammersängerin in Germany in 2004 and in Austria in 2020. Watson began her stage career as a mezzo-soprano at the Theater Aachen in 1992, followed by an engagement at the Aalto Theatre in Essen in 1995, combined with a guest contract at the Leipzig Opera, where she performed Wagnerian roles such as Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde and Venus in Tannhäuser. She became a member of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in 1997. The same year, she first appeared as Venus at the Vienna State Opera, and a year later as Kundry in Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival, conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli. From 2000 to 2005, she portrayed Ortrud in Lohengrin at Bayreuth.

From 2006 to 2010, she sang all three Brünnhilde roles in Ring des Nibelungen at the Bayreuth Festival, and also performed these roles in the new production at the Vienna State Opera, earning a solo Grammy Nomination. She subsequently appeared as Brünnhilde at many of the world’s great opera houses, including at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, even in a nine-hour compilation of all the Ring in one day. She added more dramatic roles to her repertoire, including Isolde, Elektra, and both the Dyer’s Wife and the Nurse in Die Frau ohne Schatten. The credibility of her portrayals and her vocal bravura led to engagements worldwide, in Munich, Berlin, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona, at La Scala in Milan, Florence, Bologna, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She has worked with conductors including Claudio Abbado, Bertrand de Billy, Daniele Gatti, Valery Gergiev, Hartmut Haenchen, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, Antonio Pappano, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Christian Thielemann. In 2013 and 2014, the singer returned to the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein to perform as Marschallin, Elektra, Ariadne and Brünnhilde. At the Vienna State Opera, she was appointed Kammersängerin in January 2020. At La Scala in Milan, Linda Watson could be seen and heard in the 2020/21 season as Herodias in Salome.

In addition, Linda Watson is a professor of voice at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna, and performs master classes worldwide.

August 4, 2022 - Marzio Conti, Conductor

Master Class for Singers with the AIMS Festival Orchestra

Music Director of the Oviedo Philharmonic (OFIL) since 2011, Marzio Conti has earned recognition and the acclaim of audiences and critics for his achievements in guiding the growth of the orchestra to new artistic heights. He has earned numerous awards and has been named a juror for the arts prize of the prestigious Premios Asturias.He had a major critical success with recording of the complete symphonic works of Saint-Saens for Warner Classic. At the community level, Mr. Conti has earned praise for his special projects at local centers and for a joint project with the University of Oviedo to offer films with music, projects for families, musical projects related to sports and outdoor summer projects designed to spotlight historic parts of the city.

Since his arrival in Oviedo, the symphonic season of OFIL has established a standard of excellence for the musical world of Spain, presenting notable artists such as Midori, Christian Zimermann, Gregory Kunde, Elina Garanca, ElissoVissaladze, Sabine Mayer, Cecilia Bartoli, Natalia Gutman, Rudolf Buchbinder, Katia and Marielle Lebeque, Grigory Sokolov,Bryn Terfel.

Mr. Conti has appeared as a guest conductor in Italy with the Rome Opera, Maggio Musicale of Florence, Teatro Regio di Torino, Teatro Comunale of Bologna, Teatro Massimo of Palermo, Teatro La Fenice of Venice Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, Teatro Donizetti Bergamo, Teatro di Ravenna, Teatro di Bolzano , Teatro del Giglio di Lucca, Teatro Bellini Catania, Teatro Verdi Pisa, Teatro Comunale di Livorno, Orchestra Regionale Toscana, Orchestra Haydn, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto. In Spain, he has conducted Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid, Teatro de la Zarzuela, Orquesta Sinfonica de Bilbao, Orquesta de Tenerife, Orquestra de Extremadura, Orquestra de la Gran Canaria, Orquestra de las Baleares, Teatro Arriaga Bilbao, and Orquesta de Navarra. In Germany, he has conducted at the Dortmund Staatsoper, Saarbrücken Staatsoper, Dessau Stadtsoper, Monchegladbach Stadtoper, and Brandemburger Symphoniker. In France, he has conducted the Orchestra Regional de Cannes e de la Cote d’Azur, Orchestre da La Picardie, Opera de Marseille, and Orchestre d’Avignon.

Formerly one of his generation’s leading exponents of the flute following a debut at the Salzburg Festival with I Soloist Veneti at the age of 20, Marzio Conti performed with major orchestras and made numerous recordings through the middle 1990’s after which he devoted himself full-time to conducting.

From 1998 to 2002 he was principal conductor at the Istituzione Sinfonica Abruzzese in Italy,from 2001 until 2004, he was music director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Turin,from 2003 until 2008 was Music Director of the Teatro di Tradizione per l’Opera Italiana of Chieti and from 2004 to 2010 he also served as Artistic Director of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo.

Since 2014 he collaborates as guest conductor and professor with Jacob School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington: this year he inaugurated the Opera season with Donizetti Fille du Regiment, the Ballet Season with Nutcracker and in April 2107 he conducted Petruska. In January 2017 he has conducted Rigoletto at Opera de Oviedo. In February 2018 he conducted Don Quichotte in Amsterdam the prestigious Dutch National Ballet. In July 2017 he ends to be music director of Oviedo Filarmonia. The city as an acknowledgment of the extraordinary work he has done awarded with the Gold Medal of the Auditorium Prince Felipe.

August 8 - 12, 2022 - Siphiwe McKenzie, Soprano

Master Class and Private Coaching Sessions for Singers

Siphiwe McKenzie was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She received her bachelor degree in Music from the University of British Columbia and a masters in Music and Operatic Studies from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She began her European career at the invitation of the Nuremberg State Opera Theatre in Germany, where she went on to portray more than 21 roles over six consecutive seasons. During her time there she was nominated twice by the prestigious German magazine Opernwelt as “Young Singer of the  Year”.

Since then, she has extended her repertoire and added 20 additional roles (totalling of 40 roles to date) performing internationally to great acclaim around the world at the following theatres, opera houses and festivals: the Volksoper of Vienna (Austria), Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Teatro Reggio in Parma( Italy), National Opera of Finland, Staatstheater in Basel (Switzerland), San Diego Opera (USA), St.Gallen Opera Theatre (Switzerland), Hessische State Opera in Wiesbaden(Germany), Leipzig State Opera (Germany) ),Baden State Opera (Austria), Ronacher Theatre of Vienna (Austria), National Opera of Bucharest (Romania), Rheingau Opera Festival (Germany), Haydn Festival of Eisenstadt (Austria), Beijing Wagner Festival( China), Singapore Arts Festival, Hong Kong Art Festival (China), Opera Festival of St. Margerethen (Austria), Opera Festival of Belles-Îles en Mer (France), Chamber Music Festival of Vancouver (Canada), Mozart Chamber Music Festival of Mexico City (Mexico) and the Nuremberg International Music Festival (Germany).

Possessing a wide repertoire of chamber music and orchestral concert music, Siphiwe McKenzie has performed, recorded and been featured frequently with the National Radio Orchestra of Poland, the National Radio Orchestra of Budapest, the CBC Radio Orchestra of Canada and the Cologne WDR Orchestra of Germany. She has also recorded many live concert tours and concerts with the Vienna Volksoper Symphony Orchestra (Austria) in Japan and Korea.

Subsequently, she has also recorded a solo album with Italian guitarist Adriano Sebastiani.

Siphiwe McKenzie has participated as a guest soloist in various charity events such as the Telathon for Austrian national television for ‘Licht ins Dunkel’ with the famous Austrian television moderator Alfons Heider in Vienna. She was also a featured guest artist by the German television cooking star Professor Alfred Biolek where she appeared with Nana Mouskouri for the World Population Foundation in Cologne, Germany. She has also appeared as a guest artist for the Parkinsons Foundation in Vancouver, Canada, where she raised funds and capital for the disease. Siphiwe also enjoys humanitarian work and appeared as a guest soloist for the Portuguese division of the renowned Venezuelan organisation El Sistema called: Orchestra Geração, where she helped raise funds for the purchasing of instruments for developing young orchestral musicians from challenging social backgrounds.

A passionate teacher and educator, Siphiwe McKenzie is currently a voice teacher at the Faculty of Music at the Escola Superior de Música in Lisbon, Portugal. In addition, she runs her own private teaching studio, in which she formulates and inspires aspiring singers from all ages.

2022 Dates TBA - Clemens Anton Klug, Artists Agent - Klug Artists, Graz

Auditioning in Europe

Clemens was born and schooled in Graz and has been associated with AIMS all his life. Completed BA, MPh and PhD studies in Musicology, Romance Languages and Organ performance. He is a freelance author, journalist, program annotator, narrator, and musician.

Since 2004, Clemens works as an artists’ agent representing an international group of vocalists.

He frequently collaborates with the most prestigious promoters, orchestras, festivals and opera houses around the World.

Artists he has worked with include Christa Ludwig, Elina Garanča, Rolando Villázon, Thomas Hampson, and actors Christoph Waltz and Vanessa Redgrave. On his roster are several former AIMSers whom he represents in various European countries.

He teaches audition training at the Graz Music University, in London, Washington DC, Buenos Aires, and many other places.