This past weekend in Chicago was the two-day Young Artist Series at the Classical Singer Convention. On the first day presenters William Florescu, Robert Swenson, and Mark Stoddard inspired singers with a full day of information-packed classes on everything from the value of grad school to how to get into grad school to negotiating your first contract to getting into Young Artist Programs and more.
Participant Sarah Conwell commented,
The Classical Singer Convention Young Artist Series was an unexpected wealth of information, wisdom, and insight. The sessions could have easily last 90 minutes instead of the alotted hour. The speakers not only expertly illuminated their topics relevently and creatively but also answered each question with thought and care. As an emerging professional, I would have liked to participate in a competition for non-students. I plan to make this convention a yearly habit and believe it should be required for every undergraduate music student.
Here are a few gems from the last class of the day by Florentine Opera’s General Director William Florescu on getting in and staying in the business.
- Failure is what we’re programmed as singers to expect. We should judge the success of our audition on how we performed, not if we got the job.
- Most people are better artists if they have a life.
- We are on the front end of opera companies completely changing the way they do business. People want cheap tickets. Rich people are less generous to the arts. Managers still want same fee for artists. Something has to give.
- Answers will come from the next generation of performers. This generation lives with an untenable career choice every day. Makes them the perfect people to come up with the solution to opera companies’ current problem.
- It’s the singer’s job to keep himself in the mind of the general director. That’s how you get hired and that’s the challenge of the business.