Art song is the merging of poetry and song spanning across five centuries. It is especially challenging due to the many languages involved and vocal technique and musicianship required. Musical representations of poems, art songs feature a solo singer accompanied by piano. The Vocal Artistry Art Song Festival is designed to be not only enriching and entertaining, but also educational. This festival is unique in that it promotes art song as opposed to opera or musical theatre, and is exclusively for students in New Mexico.
Vocal Artistry Art Song Festival
Founded by singer and voice teacher Jacqueline Zander-Wall in 2008 as a way to further the study of art song repertoire. It comprises master classes, student performances, presentations and professional concerts. Its purpose is to encourage singers of all backgrounds to continue their participation, understanding, appreciation, and interest in classical vocal music. It also provides an opportunity for the community to learn about and embrace art song. The Festival is supported by the Meredith Foundation and affiliated with the Albuquerque Music Teachers Association.
Over 1,000 New Mexico voice and piano students . . .
from across the state have participated in the annual Vocal Artistry Art Song Festival weekends in Albuquerque. Many thousands more have come out to hear the students perform.
For some participants, taking part in Vocal Artistry has changed the direction of their life, allowing them to not just dream of furthering their music education at a world-renowned university, but giving them a path to make their dream a reality.
By bringing in faculty from across the country, New Mexico students have received instruction and inspiration at Vocal Artistry from teachers including Soprano Kendra Colton from Oberlin University, Baritone Bruno LaPlante, Pianist Sylvie Beaudette of the Eastman School of Music, and many more.
Isabella Bruzzese always loved to sing as a child. She began taking private vocal lessons in Albuquerque at age 11 and took part in Vocal Artistry for a few years as well as being selected for the Santa Fe Opera Young Singers Program. At Vocal Artistry, she met Amy Jarman, a faculty member from Vanderbilt University. “I was very flattered when she suggested I apply to the music school at Vanderbilt,” Bruzzese said. “I was very lucky to receive scholarships and financial aid so I could attend.” Now a junior at Vanderbilt, Bruzzese is combining her love of singing with her writing talents and creating opera libretti. Her first one-act opera, with music by a Vanderbilt student composer, has already been produced by Intermission Arts.
Not all music students, no matter how talented, will end up becoming professional musicians, but they benefit from their experience at Vocal Artistry by receiving scholarship awards, instruction from visiting faculty, and connections to universities where they can pursue their undergrad or graduate degrees in music performance and related fields.
Amanda Rindlisbach, a student at Eastern New Mexico University, went on to audition and be accepted at USC after working with Brent McMunn who was a visiting faculty member in 2017. Rindlisbach is in her first year of her Master of Music in Vocal Performance degree and now works with the USC Opera Program. ENMU graduate Angela Rudd plans to begin her Master of Music Therapy program at Colorado State University this fall.
Students build confidence and find ways to share their talents due to the assistance they receive at Vocal Artistry. Kayla Paulk, a vocal coach at ENMU, brings in a group of students to the Festival each year. She can’t say enough about how Vocal Artistry, and its founder Jacqueline Zander-Wall, have positively impacted her students.
“We would be foolish to not have our students involved due to the financial and educational benefits” - Kayla Paulk
Paulk said. She points to the great job Zander-Wall does making the event affordable for New Mexico students, identifying donors, and seeking input on how to improve each year.
Unlike other events, Vocal competition winners receive scholarship awards that are large enough to make a difference.
“One of my students at ENMU said she was able to come back to school the next semester because of the scholarship from Vocal Artistry.” - Kayla Paulk
Vocal Artistry is more intimate than other vocal events, giving students opportunities to interact with the visiting faculty members during one-on-one sessions as well as time to chat during meals and between sessions. Scholarships are also presented in person, leading to long-lasting relationships with benefactors and presenting organizations.
The American tenor, Kurt Streit, studied at the University of New Mexico with Marilyn Tyler. He was a member of apprentice programmes in San Francisco and Santa Fe, also at the Texas Opera Theater. He began his career with appearances with the Milwaukee Skylight Comic Opera and in Dallas. Kurt Streit’s European career began with the Hamburg Staatsoper singing in operas by W.A. Mozart, Donizeni and Rossini. He made guest appearances at Schwetzingen (1987), Aix- en-Provence (1989), Salzburg (1989) and at Glyndebourne (as Tamino in the 1990 production of Die Zauberflöte by Peter Sellars). He has also sung at the opera houses of Vienna (Staatsoper), Munich. Brussels, Leipzig, Düsseldorf and San Francisco (1990). He had concert engagements with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamburg Staatsorchester and the English Chamber Orchestra; Promenade Concerts, London, in a 1990 concert performance of Die Zauberflöte. Kurt Streit has been considered one of the world’s best W.A. Mozart interpreters throughout his career.
Mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski, who sings “from inside the music with unaffected purity and sincerity” (UK Telegraph), is an active soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe. In her most recent competition success in 2017, she was named the winner of the Houston Saengerbund Competition and placed third in the Madison Handel Aria Competition. In March, Clara became the first ever American prize winner when she placed second at Thomas Quasthoff’s International Das Lied Competition in Heidelberg, Germany, and in September she was awarded the Richard Tauber Prize for the best interpretation of Schubert Lieder at the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation Song Competition in London. Clara received her Master of Arts Degree in Voice from the University of Iowa in 2010, and she currently studies voice with Emma Small of Minneapolis.
American lyric baritone Hank Hammett is an award-winning performer, director, teacher and coach who has sung and trained singing actors in the organic fields of music, voice, theater arts, acting technique, opera and strategic performance skills for over two and a half decades. As an acting coach for singers, Mr. Hammett has worked on Broadway and Off-Broadway, in television and film (including Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln), and at the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, The Glimmerglass Festival, Boston Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, The Dallas Opera, Portland Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Connecticut Opera, Bilbao Opera, L’Opéra de Montréal, Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona) and De Nederlandse Opera (Amsterdam). Hammett is the recipient of numerous awards and grants for singing.
Dale Dietert is a highly successful voice teacher and coach who has trained singing actors in their craft for over twenty-five years. He has served on the vocal faculties of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Texas State University as well as the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies (Aldeburgh, England), the International Institute of Vocal Arts (Tel Aviv, Israel), the Bel Canto Institute (Santa Barbara), the International Vocal Arts Institute (Tampa, Florida) and the Sommerakademie Mozarteum (Salzburg, Austria). For twelve years in New York City Dietert had an accomplished private voice studio. In addition, he served as assistant conductor for Connecticut Grand Opera and Elysian Opera, was artistic director for the concert series Supper & Song and produced community outreach concerts for The American Theatre Wing. In 2005, he joined the voice faculty of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.
Pianist Tyler Wottrich has distinguished himself as a chamber musician, vocal pianist, solo performer, and teacher. Wottrich is an Assistant Professor at North Dakota State University’s Challey School of Music, where he created a graduate collaborative piano program and serves as artistic director of the NDSU Chamber Music Festival. Wottrich is the recipient of the Emerson String Quartet’s Ackerman Prize for chamber music and served on the collaborative piano faculty of the Banff Centre during summers 2015 – 2016. Wottrich is committed to the performance of new music and has worked with such composers as John Luther Adams, John Corigliano, Georg Friedrich Haas, Jocelyn Hagen, Richard Hundley, David Lang, Libby Larsen, Missy Mazzoli, Dominick Argento, and Bright Sheng. Wottrich accompanied mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski in winning prizes at the 2017 Das Lied International Song Competition as well as the 2017 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition.
Franz Vote, conductor, a native of Los Angeles, studied at California State University Northridge and served on the faculties of the Aspen Music Festival and the Eastman School of Music. His first post as opera conductor was at the Musiktheater im Revier in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. He also conducted in Aachen, at the Gaertnerplatz Theater in Munich and at Theater des Westens in Berlin. These experiences in German opera houses led to an engagement as Assistant Conductor to Daniel Barenboim and James Levine at the Bayreuth Festival. James Levine then invited him to join the Metropolitan Opera conducting staff for many performances including the 1996 New Year’s Eve Gala. Placido Domingo invited him to lead Tokyo’s Kanagawa Orchestra for the Operalia Vocal Competition. Maestro Vote’s international prominence, especially in German music, led to his appointment as musical director of Wagner’s Ring der Nibelungen in Seattle in 2001, which performances were lauded by the New York Times and many other important media outlets. He has guest conducted at Opera Memphis, Orlando Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Opera Naples. Franz Vote now lives in Santa Fe, where he is Music Director and Conductor of the New Mexico Performing Arts Society.