Imogen Cooper Music Trust

September 12, 2018

In August I was one of four young artists – along with Maria Hegele (mezzo-soprano), Anna Szałucka (piano), and Lotte Betts-Dean (mezzo-soprano) –invited by the Imogen Cooper Music Trust for a week of coaching and performing in the French countryside. Imogen Cooper was joined by the great baritone Wolfgang Holzmair and language coach Eva Holzmair to focus on Lieder and solo piano (and solo guitar) repertoire.

We would work from morning to night (inc. a break for lunch) with concurrent teaching going on in the barn, living room, and by the pool. The atmosphere was marked by a shared admiration of each other’s skill and a desire to immerse ourselves in the world of Schubert, Schumann, Debussy, and the like. The intensity of work during the day was balanced out by long, drawn-out suppers under the stars (the weather is Southern France is remarkably consistent) which would invariably end with music making around the table.

I found the week-long focus on art song to be incredibly enlightening. Working closely with text adds a rich dimension of meaning and clarity to musical expression. As an instrumentalist, I rarely think about music in such concrete terms. It was a joy to listen to the singers extract meaning from their songs, phrasing and articulating in response to the nuances of text. As well as enriching my playing as an accompanist, it gave me a greater range of ideas for my solo playing.

The week concluded with a public masterclass on 31 August and final public concert on 1 Sept.

A huge thank you to the Imogen Cooper Music Trust and the team behind the scenes that made this possible. And thank you to Imogen Cooper, Wolfgang and Eva Holzmeir, Lotte, Anna, and Maria!

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