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Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)
WAAPA International Art Song Festival

Dame Joan Sutherland Fund recipient

The American Australian Association through the Dame Joan Sutherland Fund was pleased to support the Western Australian Academy of Performing Art's (WAAPA) program by providing travel funds for the visiting American master teacher Deborah Birnbaum.

From 13-20 July 2014 t
he WAAPA hosted the first event of its kind in Australia, a dedicated art song festival that brings together world-class international performers and teachers with Australian/Asia-Pacific singers and pianists. Master teachers Deborah Birnbaum and Dr Graham Johnson led a week of master classes on the songs of Franz Schubert.
The vision of the WIASF was to promote art song as a musical, poetic and artistic art form. The festival aimed to develop the training and performance of art song to the highest standards of excellence through the mentorship and guidance of internationally renowned visiting artists, representing the peak of elite art song practice. WIASF aimed to fulfil its vision by providing intensive training to 24 young singers and pianists who demonstrate a special affinity and ability for art song performance. The Festival completed with a showcase at WAAPA and a Gala Concert at Government House Ballroom

Feedback from the program:
“I gained so much personally and musically from the short week and I know that it fully prepared me for the competition rounds in Sydney … Happy to let you know I have been selected as a finalist in both Opera and Arts support group Scholarship and the McDonald's Operatic Aria competition”
- Ashlyn Skye Tymms, mezzo soprano, Perth

“It was good to hear some wonderful maturing voices and also to see the younger singers learn so much over the week”
- Rosalind Martin, Lecturer in Voice, University of Adelaide

“Working with Deborah and Graham is something I will treasure for a lifetime … it was wonderful to meet other singers, make contacts and find out about other avenues to pursue for further study and work.”
- Jordie Howell, soprano, Melbourne

“I learnt more about Schubert in 30 minutes of Graham Johnson talking about the great composer than I have in about the previous 30 years. Passionate and witty, he guided us on a journey through the world of lieder, encouraging and sharing his passion for Schubert's songs with some of Australia's best young singers. As master classes go, this was world standard”
- Guy Noble, conductor and broadcaster

“The students and teachers from Adelaide with whom I attended were all utterly inspired and I hope to attend any future Festival with an even larger contingent! … WIASF had a spirit of warmth and positivity that contributed much to the experience. I cannot thank you enough for bringing these world class teachers to Australia and providing us with such an inspirational opportunity. I hope it is the first of many.”
- Penelope Cashman, répétiteur, Elder Conservatorium

“Graham Johnson conjured up a world of emotion in one impeccably shaped accompaniment after the other. The skill with which Johnson adapted, chameleon-like, to the subtlest inflections of the vocal line bordered on perfection.”
- The West Australian: WIASF Gala, Government House Ballroom, 20th July, 2014

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