In 2010, Internationally renowned Russian baritone, Vladimir Chernov, and world-class expert on Bel Canto vocal technique, Olga Toporkova, designed their ideal summer study program to help singers move forward in their careers.
The bel canto method of daily vocal instruction, which has nearly all but disappeared from western vocal institutions, is alive and well in Payerbach. From private technical voice lessons, individual repertoire interpretation lessons, individual musical coachings with an art song specialist to group acting classes and group movement and posturology lessons, we train the whole artist. Every instructor is a world-renowned expert in their field, dedicated to unearthing the unique gifts of each performer.
"My mentor, Marilyn Horne, told me a few years ago that I needed to work everyday with a teacher to solidify my technique. I believed her, but I never understood how I would be able to do that, given the cost of such instruction and the typical style of teaching in America. And then I met Vladimir Chernov and Olga Toporkova and I knew I had found something unique. Last Summer, through IVAAP I found out what it is to really study voice with my whole body. My whole self. I worked almost everyday with Olga and Vladimir. Not only did this strengthen my ability, but it also took the pressure off of the performance side of a voice lesson. I was no longer needing to prove something. Olga could hear the slightest bit of tongue tension or muscle manipulation or imitation and lovingly, didn't let me get away with anything. Sounding pretty is not the goal. Being vocally free is.
With these teachers, I needed to explore and remind myself what I already knew, what my body naturally knew. If I wasn't amazing, it was okay. The next day we'd try again because we could. I can not stress enough how invaluable this structure of learning is-- and how rare.
The determination, desire, compassion and dedication of this faculty is as it should be, but not as you usually find. They live through teaching, what we hope to convey as artists. A passionate honesty that elevates everyday experience.
If you are thinking about doing a program, you want to know the voice, and you are open, but you aren't sure if this is for you, do it. Just do it. You will learn more about yourself, and how you can affect the world as a performer more than you ever have before. I finally understand technique. I have spent many years crafting and honing this voice of mine, but never have I worked in such a safe, accepting and magnifying environment with teachers that listen, and after listening, really know what to do to strengthen your strengths. Seriously, just do it."- Rachel Payne (Summers '13, '15)