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Soprano Mireille Asselin on The Song Continues... Experience

Last winter, specially selected vocalists had the opportunity to explore the art of song with Marilyn Horne and Kurt Moll in a Professional Training Workshop called The Song Continues … Below, participant Mireille Asselin, an award-winning emerging soprano, shares her experience. Visit our professional programs page to learn more or to apply for The Song Continues … in 2011–2012.

One of my good friends remarked the other day that my job as a singer involved so much more than simply singing, and it made me realize just how true that statement was. I, like most young professional singers, spend hours every day managing the business side of being a musician. That's why I was so grateful for Carnegie's Hall gift of freedom to focus on my art in The Song Continues …


Song Continues Workshop  

Each year, The Song Continues culminates in performances at Carnegie Hall. Photo by Pete Checchia.  

During my week in the workshop, I heard fabulous recitals that introduced me to new repertoire. I also learned from legends Kurt Moll and Marilyn Horne. They imparted pearls of wisdom to master class pupils like myself, and I worked on Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the brilliant pianist Malcolm Martineau, who taught me a vocal lesson I'll never forget. He said to think of consonants as being little dashes of cinnamon that flavored the musical line—something I now think of often on the stage. For the entire workshop experience,  I was surrounded by gifted and passionate peers, like my roommate for the week, mezzo-soprano Liza Forrester who sang some of the best Kurt Weill I’ve ever heard, and my pianist Adam Nielsen. His playing during my Ravel songs was nothing short of jaw-dropping! 

The week also provided invaluable mentorship opportunities with Marilyn Horne and the artistic staff of Carnegie Hall, which in my case led to an invitation to return this year as a guest recitalist! But most important, The Song Continues … turned out to be a place I could reconnect with song and with music-making. I was honored to have the chance to work with like-minded artists who shared a keen interest in continuous personal development and a drive to keep art song alive and thriving in our modern, busy world.

As a working artist, it's so easy to get swept up in communications with concert presenters and one’s manager, not to mention keeping press materials up to date, negotiating fees and contracts, applying for visas, and updating websites. A singer also usually faces a constant stream of applications for programs, grants, and competitions on the go. Plus, when on contract, vocalists often are required to flit around for costume and wig fittings, and sit for the odd interview—or even photo shoots between staging and musical rehearsals. It is easy at times to lose sight of what our job really is and why we choose to do it. 

Pianist Malcolm Martineau taught me to think of consonants as little dashes of cinnamon that flavored the musical line.

 We love music, and our duty is to sing it as well and with as much artistic integrity and application as possible, for whoever wants to listen. That is why a course like the Weill Music Institute’s The Song Continues ... is so important for today’s young singer. It is a place where one can go to focus on being an artist. 

Visit our professional programs section to learn more about workshops like this one and to apply for The Song Continues … in 2011–2012. This season's workshop leaders include Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, Graham Johnson, and Warren Jones. The application deadline is September 15, 2011.

Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, and Graham Johnson: The Song Continues... Exploring the Art of Song
Carnegie Hall's Professional Training Workshops

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