15 October 2015

Samling Academy 2015 Participant Blog: Yazdan Qafouri

By Yazdan Qafouri, Samling Academy 2015 participant.

In the first of a series of guest blog posts from participants in this year’s Samling Academy, we asked tenor Yazdan Qafouri, 16, to tell us how he heard about Samling Academy and his thoughts after the first Academy weekend in Durham.

Yazdan is a lower sixth form student at Yarm School, and this is the first time he has attended Samling Academy.

“My first knowledge of Samling Academy was through my music teacher at school and I was instantly intrigued – I had never been a part of a classical singing masterclass and so was eager to audition. As a mainly musical theatre style singer, I wasn’t expecting anything from my audition, but when I found out I had secured a place I was overjoyed!

The first weekend, spent in the shadow of Durham Cathedral at Durham University Music Department was the most challenging, but equally the most rewarding weekend of singing I have ever experienced. I was in total awe of the incredibly talented people around me, participants, teachers and pianists alike.

There was not one moment in which I wasn’t learning something new, exploring new areas of my voice or getting to grips with and understanding the foreign text I was singing in. All of the teachers had something different to give and were all immensely passionate about their art. I’d like to give a special thanks to all the pianists there: I personally could not imagine having to sight-read close to a hundred different pieces in the space of three days.

The intensity of the training there was unlike anything I had experienced, but the meticulous nature in which the teachers operated was great, as they assisted you with a lot of the finer details which made a huge difference – not only vocally, but performance-wise as well.

However, the stagecraft sessions with Martin Lloyd-Evans were the highlights of my day. Through acting games and team building activities, he would introduce ideas that were immediately transferable to the world of opera and helped me immensely with my performance.

The experiences I have had at Samling Academy so far have really inspired me to pursue a genre I would not have been instantly drawn to – and I cannot wait for the next weekend!”

Samling Academy 2015 continues at Newcastle University’s International Centre for Music Studies from Friday 23 – Sunday 25 October, and culminates in a public concert at Sage Gateshead‘s Northern Rock Foundation Hall on Sunday 25 October at 7.30pm. More information about Samling Academy can be found here.

(Photo of Yazdan Qafouri by Mark Pinder,