Theatre of Art Song


Theatre of Art Song

“All of the faculty was so inspiring, honest, warm and friendly and most of all their passion for art song showed immensely.” – VISI 2009 student.

VISI offers an intensive program for singers and pianists in the interpretation and performance of Art Song, combining traditional approaches to recital preparation with diverse explorations of new practices in performance innovation. VISIThe course includes private coaching, small group classes and public Masterclasses and Lectures classes, studies in dramatic diction and poetic recitation, extensive exploration in staging and improvisational theatre, workshops and lectures in music history, poetry, philosophy, translation, performance psychology, cultural studies, and more.

Our artist faculty includes distinguished experts in traditional art song performance and the new generation of art song innovators whose work enjoys acclaim across North America. The VISI environment blends artistic intensity with a relaxed and supportive approach to study.  

Our scholarly lecturers are selected for their accessible and exciting presentations designed for artists’ interests. Discussion is encouraged at all sessions.

VISI takes place at the UBC School of Music, presenting academic experts known for their dynamic and high-energy style. Enter the heart of poetry and bring it alive through creative explorations to engage authentic connection in performance and in collaborative partnerships. Explore the expressive challenges of Art Song, and join the collective research of  compelling artistic presentations.

“VISI is far and away the most comprehensive summer program I have attended; every moment of it was meticulously planned so that Participants  could get the most out of the  faculty coaches and lecturers” – VISI 2009 student

The Theatre of Art Song course includes an array of courses and workshops carefully designed to promote an integrated yet eclectic experiential learning and performance environment. In addition to Art Song topics, presentations from experts in Music Therapy, Music Neuroscience and other fields offer perspectives on diverse career paths for artists, adding new dimensions to the contemplation of Art’s in the social fabric.


Opera Directors Gayle Shay and David Walsh will coach theatrical explorations in Art Song presentation throughout VISI, supplemented by classes in Dramatic Diction, Poetry Recitation, Movement, and other media explorations. Dr. Shay will supervise projects in creative writing and improvisation, and Professor Walsh will work on staged interpretations.


is a special topics series of courses for pianists merged into the Theatre of Song program. Pianists will participate in all aspects of the Theatre Program, and will have supplementary classes and coaching focusing on their areas of craft. Please click here for more a more detailed description of the course content.


WEEK ONE: A deep exploration of the challenges of collaborative partnership - shared research and interpretation, productive rehearsal techniques, interactive diplomacy, innovative performance presentation styles . Creative collaboration requires an array of considerations and skills. Our distinguished team of singers and pianists will share their experience in frank discussion of roadblocks along the way to the rich satisfaction of great artistic partnerships.
WEEK TWO: An array of special topics themes will be available. Choose to focus on one field, or arrange to explore diverse elements. You are invited to audit sessions of Song Scholarship and Performance, to participate in Arts of Conscience, to focus on Dramatic Recitation, theatre techniques, and career development and self-presentation. There is also a small group course in Performance Psychology - space is limited, so please indicate your interest by writing directly to the Registrar on the info-site.
WEEK THREE: A course in French Mélodie Immersion will take place from June 16-25. You will also have access to coachings with our French experts as a continuing participant of the Theatre of Song program. However, if you wish to focus entirely on French repertoire for Week Three, you may elect to shift your focus to that program IF you come to VISI as a duo team.


VISI will attempt to ensure that students perform for ALL visiting faculty, through scheduled coaching, group classes, and Masterclasses and Lectures classes. Many faculty members are accessible for additional private sessions by arrangement. In most cases these are included in the program fees, but extra coaching beyond the teaching schedule may be possible at the discretion of the individual faculty member.
Performances on and off campus are arranged for all students. Please note that many performances will take place in the final 5 days of VISI, so if your summer plans necessitate an early departure please let us know prior to the start of the program.


If the full program calendar exceeds your availability but you would like to participate for a shorter session it is possible to arrange customized programs in a limited number of cases. Vocal/piano duos can be accommodated for up to one week of lessons by direct arrangement with visiting faculty, and pianists can be accommodated for collaborative partnerships with vocal faculty and private coaching with piano faculty as our schedule permits. Fees to VISI will be determined by the extent of access and participation in the program.

All students are always welcome to audit all lectures, workshops and classes except private coaching Drop-in rates for artists currently attending university programs are $10 for a full day of courses.



VISI is an intense and densely-scheduled program. However, there will be time-outs for you to explore our beaches, mountains, botanical gardens, and shopping. Some group trips may be organized for the final weekend TBD. The UBC campus has an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, running tracks, and hiking trails, and access to beaches. Our schedule also includes movement classes and optional yoga.

A large roster of great coaches, directors, writers, and experts in related topics will fill your weeks with new ideas and inspiration. VISI is a place to try new things in an atmosphere of creative curiosity and encouragement.

Please contact us with any specific program inquiries at

Application Criteria and Deadline:

First: Submit your online application and pay the $50 application fee. After receipt of your online application, you will be contacted regarding further submission of support materials.
Next: Compile the following support materials

The deadline for Registration for this program is February 15th, 2011. You are welcome to inquire about limited late acceptance and waiting list options.

Required Support Materials:

1. A résumé of your training and performance experience.
2. A signed PDF letter of recommendation from your most recent teacher
3. A digital photo (jpg format)
4. A recording or video of two contrasting songs 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 list of 8 songs you would like to study and perform at VISI. Your song selection should feature repertoire that will be explored by our faculty (2-3 German songs, including one by Schubert, 3 French mélodies, and 2-3 English songs. A Russian song may also be included in your selection. Please note that songs that will be performed at VISI will need to be memorized) Vocal/Piano duos are encouraged but not required. Applications will be accepted until programs maximums are filled. We strongly advise early application.


Once your application has been approved, please pay tuition fees below.

Mail Payment

For registrants who wish to pay their fees by mail, a cheque or money order in Canadian funds can be sent to:
Vancouver International Song Institute
P.O. Box 71015
Vancouver, BC V6N 4J9

Online Payment

Please pay now to guarantee your seat.

Tuition: $1200 + tax

In the event of a cancellation, a full refund will be granted for cancellations up to 2 weeks prior to the Institute. Should the need to cancel arise less than 2 weeks prior to the event, a 50% refund will be granted. For immediate inquiries please click here to contact us.

Since demand is high, we ask that students requesting scholarships and other payment adjustments should attach a note to their application form with a statement indicating their financial circumstances. There are a limited number of work-study partial grants as well.

For students with alternate payment options please go to the INCREMENTAL PAYMENT page.

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