Vocal Institute

Music & Theater / Star-Powered Artistry

The Vocal Institute is the leading source to prepare for a 21st century career in voice and vocal piano. The Music Academy’s expert teaching artists collaborate and mentor participants to prepare them for on-stage opportunities, from a fully-staged opera production to public masterclasses.

21 singers enrolled per summer
6 vocal pianists enrolled per summer

Faculty & Teaching Artists

Training & Performance Opportunities

Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel

Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel

Christian Reif conductor | James Darrah director

The classic fairy tale comes to life in two fully-staged performances offering seven major roles / covers.

Ravel: L’enfant et les Sortilèges

Ravel: L’enfant et les Sortilèges

This semi-staged production with the Academy Festival Orchestra features roles for all voice types.

Philip Glass: Les Enfants Terribles

Philip Glass: Les Enfants Terribles

Staged chamber opera production. This acting intensive for the entire cast features roles for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, and baritone, in collaboration with three vocal pianists.

Marilyn Horne Song Competition

Marilyn Horne Song Competition

A singer and vocal pianist are chosen by an esteemed jury panel led by the legendary Marilyn Horne. Winners receive a cash award of $5,000 and a four-city tour including London Symphony Orchestra’s St. Luke’s venue.

Private Lessons, Public Masterclasses

Private Lessons, Public Masterclasses

Opportunities to study one-on-one with pedagogues including Marilyn Horne, Julia Bullock, John Churchwell, James Darrah, Gerald Martin Moore, and Bill Schuman.

Acting Workshop & Industry Day

Acting Workshop & Industry Day

James Darrah coaches singer in the dramatic preparation and presentation of audition repertoire and stagecraft while honing their artistry, immersing fellows in the process of “conscious acting” through group-oriented classes.

On Industry Day, singers and pianists will be heard by top artist management and opera company administrators in the field, receiving critical feedback essential to career preparation.

Audition & Repertoire Requirements / Audition Schedule

Application Form

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines are through 11:59 pm Pacific Time

2020 Voice Program / Oct 6, 2019

2020 Vocal Piano Program deadline has been extended to Oct 20, 2019

Audition Requirements

VOICE PROGRAM: Pre-Screening Recording Round followed by Invitation-Only Live Audition Round

VOCAL PIANO PROGRAM: NEW! Pre-Screening Recording Round followed by Invitation-Only Live Audition Round

Voice and Vocal Piano Program applicants must first submit a Pre-Screening Round recording as part of the online application, and within the application must indicate preferred audition date/city for the Live Round opportunity (see Audition Schedule for details). Applicants will be notified by email by the first week of November if they have been advanced to the Live Audition Round and will be emailed an audition appointment at that time. International applicants may upload videos in lieu of the Live Round, if advanced to the Live Round.

Voice Live auditions are 10 minutes each. Vocal Piano Live auditions are 15-20 minutes each.

Live Audition Applicants must use a Music Academy partner. Partners are not available for rehearsal time prior to the auditions.

Enrolled Vocal Piano fellows arrive June 10 (several days prior to the start of the Festival) in order to participate in pre-season training.

International Applicants

Voice and Vocal Piano applicants residing overseas (outside North America) at the time of the auditions may submit a video upload audition in lieu of a live audition, if advanced to the Live Audition Round.

FOR VOCAL PIANO ONLY: International applicants advanced to the Live Round may upload four videos that satisfy the repertoire requirements. Vocal partner must be arranged on your own to meet the fourth repertoire requirement.  No sight-reading is required of international video upload applicants.

Voice Program Recording Round Requirements

For the pre-screening round, the following two selections must be uploaded as audio or audio/video files within the online application:

  • 1 opera aria
  • 1 art song

Voice Program Live Round Requirements

The invitation-only live audition round requires the following four selections*

  • 2 contrasting opera arias
  • 2 art songs

Live Round Requirements

  • 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.
  • The Music Academy provides the piano partner for the Live Round audition. Applicants may not bring their own pianist.
  • The Academy produces a fully-staged opera, as well as opera scenes and vocal chamber productions. Singers not cast as leads in the opera will enjoy other significant performance opportunities.

Vocal Piano Recording Round Requirements

Please note that vocal quality is NOT being adjudicated when pianists play and sing the audition repertoire.

  1. Choose ONE of the following arias to play and sing:
  • Mozart, recitative and aria “..Come scoglio” (from Cosi fan tutte)
  • Mozart, recitative and aria “In quali eccessi…Mi tradì” (from Don Giovanni)
  • Mozart, recitative and aria “Tutto è disposto…Aprite un po quegli occhi” (from Le nozze di Figaro)
  1. Choose ONE of the following ensembles to play and sing:
  • Puccini, La Bohème, Act 1, Opening scene until Benoit’s entrance
  • Verdi, quartet “Un dì, se ben rammentomi… Bella figlia dell’amore” (from Rigoletto)

Vocal Piano Live Round Requirements

Four Selections will be performed at the Live Auditions

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 “In quali eccessi…Mi tradì” (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:

  • Humperdinck, “The Witch’s Aria,” pages 166-172, Reh # 166-176 (from Hansel and Gretel)
  • Stravinsky, “No word from Tom…I go to Him” (from The Rake’s Progress)
  • Puccini, “Vissi d’arte” (from Tosca)

3.       Choose ONE of the following ensembles to play and sing:

  • Puccini, La Bohème, Act 1, Opening scene until Benoit’s entrance
  • Verdi, quartet “Un dì, se ben rammentomi… Bella figlia dell’amore” (from Rigoletto)

4.       Choose ONE of the following songs to play.  A singer will be provided by Music Academy of the West:

  • Strauss, “Allerseelen” in E flat Major
  • Barber, “St. Ita’s Vision” in high key
  • Fauré, “Clair de lune” in B flat Minor

SIGHT-READING WILL ALSO BE REQUIRED

Live Round Audition Schedule

VOICE & VOCAL PIANO PROGRAMS

  • Chicago, IL – Venue: PianoForte Studios
    • Chicago, IL: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 *primary date option
    • Chicago, IL: Thursday, November 14, 2019 *secondary date option if Nov. 13 schedule fills
  • New York City, NY – Venue: Opera America’s National Opera Center
    • Saturday, November 16, 2019
    • Sunday, November 17, 2019
    • Monday, November 18, 2019
  • Santa Barbara, CA – Venue: Music Academy of the West
    • Saturday, November 23, 2019