Song Scholarship and Performance


Interdisciplinary Song Scholarship and Performance

“I had an extraordinary time at VISI. The faculty and students created an entirely unique environment for enjoyable, deep, sustained and sustaining conversations about ways of understanding song. My expectations were exceeded along every boundary. From the level of engagement and energy, to the integration of musicology and performance, to the warm and welcoming spirit of the whole program, VISI is a new model for the exploration of the arts.”- Jonathan Boschetto, Ph.D. candidate in musicology, Princeton University

For graduate students in musicology, music history, and music theory interested in working with performers

For singers and pianists interested in the musicological approach to art song

Individuals not affiliated with a graduate program and scholars from related disciplines are encouraged to enroll as auditors

Over the years, scholars and performers of art song have cultivated their own individual storehouses of knowledge, experience and insight, but hitherto these two communities have remained relatively aloof from one another.  Performers sometimes find it difficult to embrace the assertions of scholars who communicate in specialized academic language, while scholars sometimes assume that performers make interpretive decisions without adequate regard for historical context or analytical understanding.

The Interdisciplinary Song Scholarship and Performance Program at VISI aims to dismantle this broad stereotype.  By fostering a productive interdisciplinary exchange between scholars and performers of art song, we can engender informed and creative performances, stimulate strong musicological research that also addresses the needs of performers, and contribute to the vitality of the practice of art song as a whole.

In this program, musicologists, music historians, and music theorists of art song will have the opportunity to work intimately with singers and pianists, and vice versa. We will share our ideas through lectures, master classes, seminar workshops, coachings, and individualized mentoring sessions, all the while making valuable professional connections.  Student scholars and performers will also put their ideas into practice by collaborating with each other in the development of a concert performance.  

The thematic focus of VISI 2011 will be on the songs of Franz Schubert.  In  particular, we will be exploring the meanings and functions of Schubert’s songs within the political, cultural, and philosophical context of the Biedermeier period. The focus is not exclusive, however; we will be considering other repertoire and topics as well, depending on faculty and student interests.  While we invite the participation of those who are especially excited by this year’s focus, we also welcome scholars who concentrate on a different area of the art song universe, as well as scholars and performers with an interest in the genre who want to expand their horizons.  

Singers and Pianists wishing to enroll must submit audition and support material detailed below.

“I have seldom been so moved and inspired in my life.  All of the seminars, masterclasses, lectures and performances provided a dynamic way to engage with some of the most beautiful artsongs ever written.  What nourishment for the spirit and the intellect! An experience I will not forget, an education I will always remember - profound - in the truest and deepest sense.” -  Kenneth Stilwell, Ph.D. candidate in musicology, Catholic University of America

Some highlights of the program:

  • In addition to daily guidance from program director and musicologist/pianist Benjamin Binder, scholars will have the opportunity to work closely with the VISI team of distinguished musicologists and music theorists, including Deborah Stein, Kristina Muxfeldt, Richard Kurth, and Harald Krebs.  Sessions geared especially for musicologists (led by Dr. Binder) and for music theorists (led by Dr. Stein) will also be offered.

  • Performers will have individual coachings with distinguished VISI performance faculty, guided by Dr. Cameron Stowe with guests including Profs. Margo Garrett, Ken Griffiths, Benjamin Butterfield, and others.

  • Attend lectures and master classes on art-song related topics by VISI scholars and performance faculty.

  • Participate in the Scholarship and Performance Seminars, where we combine musicological and analytical study of selected repertoire with live performance in an interactive workshop setting.

  • Receive one-on-one mentoring on your research and your academic career from VISI musicologists and theorists.

  • Receive coachings from VISI performance faculty as well as VISI musicologists and theorists.

  • Participate in a collaborative performance project.  Scholars and performers will exchange historical, critical, analytical and practical ideas as they team up to create an interpretive vision for a set of art songs to be performed in concert.

  • Perform in and contribute to a public Schubertiade designed by the VISI community.

  • Full access to all concurrent VISI lectures, masterclasses, concerts, and other activities.

Performers wishing to be enrolled in the Scholarship program should include with their application

  • 1. A résumé of your training and performance experience.

  • 2. A signed PDF Adobe Acrobat Reader letter of recommendation from your most recent teacher

  • 3. A digital photo (jpg format)

  • 4. A recording or  video of a Schubert Lied and a contrasting song in any language.  Arias are not accepted. Pianists should also include a solo piano work of their own choice. Recordings should be sent as mp3s, YouTube links, or other electronic format.

  • 5. A comprehensive list of song repertoire you have performed

  • 6. A brief statement describing your interest in song scholarship


Once your registration fee has been paid, please pay full program fee below.


Performer: Number of Weeks


Scholar: Number of Weeks

Visits outside of these dates can be arranged with daily fees of $60. Accommodations are available on UBC campus (not included in fees). For specific inquiries please contact Professor Binder at the Duquesne website.