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NATS Winter Workshop Report

by Allen Henderson, NATS Executive Director
posted on 7:45 AM, March 25, 2016

The NATS Winter Workshop in conjunction with the National Opera Association in Indianapolis was a rousing success due to our excellent clinicians and the added benefit of sessions programmed by NOA.

Margo Garrett, Donna Loewy and Elvia Puccinelli led the first ever NATS Collaborative Piano Summit and addressed several topics in their three sessions:

  • “Building a Collaborative Piano Program”
  • “Developing a Curriculum for a Collaborative Piano Program” and
  • “The Down and Dirty Guide to Playing Orchestral Reductions and Teaching Others to Play Them.”

The sessions were also illuminating for voice teachers, with many stating how much they appreciated the in-depth information and discussion.

Other NATS presenters included Julia Faulkner, director of vocal studies for The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, Lyric Opera of Chicago. In a conversation with Allen Henderson, Faulkner shared her ideas on Teaching the Elite Singer, and also presented a master class in collaboration with Margo Garrett where they coached singer/pianist teams in operatic repertoire. Attendees also enjoyed a presentation by Rena Sharon entitled Multi-Media in Art Song Performance: Breaking Traditions to Preserve a Global Legacy.

A special treat was a performance of a newly created piece for two singers, trombone and piano, directed by Gayle Shay and performed by her students and colleagues from Vanderbilt University. Pianist David Duncan also taught a master class on Stylistic Performance of the Great American Songbook and worked with an excellent group of singers.

A special opportunity involved a visit to the Great American Songbook Foundation and Archives (founded by Michael Feinstein) in neighboring Carmel. We were treated to a grand tour of the facilities at the Palladium Arts Center and the incredible American Songbook Archive, where they are preserving a vast collection of some of the seminal works of the Songbook. Many thanks to the staff for hosting us.