17 September 2020

Newsletter 58: Samling Academy goes virtual

Samling Academy will look rather different this year, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that thirty young singers in the North East will still receive six intensive days of training in a wide range of singing and performance skills.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our Samling Academy sessions in October will move to an online format. Our brilliant leadership team have been hard at work over the summer devising activities and workshops that can take place virtually in preparation for solo and group masterclasses.

One of the biggest challenges of online musicmaking is an unavoidable delay that makes it impossible for a singer and pianist to perform together remotely in real time. To overcome this our Samling Artist pianists have generously recorded the accompaniments for each participant’s solo repertoire – a total of 120 pieces of music. The singers will then perform live to these pre-recorded accompaniments in the group masterclass sessions.

The recordings are also proving useful in helping singers to prepare for their masterclasses and they will form a valuable resource for the future, giving us a library of recordings that we can use to support young singers who don’t have access to a piano at home.

Each Academy Singer will receive a one-to-one session with the acclaimed soprano Joan Rodgers CBE, who joins the Academy leadership team for the first time. She will work alongside music director Caroline Dowdle, vocal coaches Patricia MacMahon and Samling Artist Miranda Wright and Samling Artist pianists James Baillieu, Jonathan Ware, Jo Ramadan and Ian Tindale.

We are also welcoming language coach and pianist Emma Abbate who will run workshops on singing in Italian and will drop in on the masterclasses to support individual singers with their Italian repertoire. Pippa Anderson will be leading a workshop on the vitally important topic of vocal health, while Shakespearean actor James Garnon and movement coach Mandy Demetriou will transfer their energetic and imaginative sessions on approaching text and stagecraft to an online format.

During lockdown, video has been the only way that artists have been able to communicate with their audience, and whatever happens to live music in the future, online performances are certain to remain a big part of our lives.

Following a session on singing straight to camera and the technicalities of setting up their video, they’ll be able to put these new skills into practice in a recorded performance. We’ll be making a special highlights video of this virtual Academy so that we can share their achievements with our Friends and supporters.

You’ll be able to see our virtual Academy in action on our website and social media channels later in the autumn.


Header photo: Samling Academy 2019, photo credit Mark Pinder

‘This virtual Academy will equip our Academy Singers with the skills they need to present themselves confidently and professionally on camera.’

Artistic and Executive Director, Karon Wright