2017-2018 Wirth Vocal Prize Finalists

Carolyn Beaudoin

Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

I chose this school because I felt that I wanted an immersive performance program that operated as closely to a professional young artist program as possible. Schulich and Opera McGill fulfilled this requirement and the Voice Faculty offered access to some of the highest calibre teachers and coaches in the country.

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2. Where do you call home?

I was born in Newmarket and grew up in both Aurora and the tiny town of Sunderland (it can be found about 45 minutes west of Peterborough, Ontario). I’ve also lived in Ottawa during the completion of my Bachelors and Masters degrees and I’m now approaching my two-year anniversary of moving to Montréal.

The only consistent place of gathering for my family and friends has been our family cottage in Haliburton, Ontario. This is where I feel most at home-- close to the people I love most, close to the water, and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I feel at home where the pavement ends.

3. What is one unexpected talent or pastime that you have?

I consider myself a bit of a green thumb, though my plants might disagree. I’m also an avid weekend explorer of small historical towns. My recent favorites include Essex (located along Lake Champlain in New York) and Saint-Donat-de-Montcalm.

4. What went into choosing the repertoire for the finals of the 2017 Wirth Vocal Prize? Which piece(s) are you most excited to perform, and why?

I began by creating a shortlist with my top choices and then consulted with my coaches and teacher in selecting my program. We decided on a mix of operatic and song repertoire that challenges me to stretch both my voice and storytelling skills.

I’m most excited to perform all of it! I love singing in Pollack Hall and my program includes some of my favorite music. If I had to choose, I would pick the excerpts from Libby Larsen’s Try Me, Good King. The texts are the final letters and gallows speeches of the wives of King Henry VIII. I love digging into historical research and really admire the way that Larsen weaves elements of lute songs and bell-tolling throughout the cycle to reflect the inner crises and exterior reality of each queen.

5. What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize?

I already feel like a winner in being named a finalist. It’s such an honor to be recognized by my professors and the semi-final panelists in this way. The trajectory of change that I’ve experienced over the past three terms has been everything I could have hoped for and more. It would be a testament to the vision of Aline Kutan, Michael McMahon, Stephen Hargreaves, Olivier Godin, and Patrick Hansen in hearing hidden possibilities in my voice and bringing them to light through our work together. Regardless of the competition outcome, I feel like I’m becoming the artist I always hoped and dreamed I could be.

6. Who are you studying with and who will be your collaborative pianist?

I’m currently studying with Aline Kutan and coaching with Stephen Hargreaves and Michael McMahon. Julien LeBlanc will be joining me at the piano on December 2nd.


Gina Hanzlik

Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

2017-2018 Wirh Vocal Prize finalist Gina HanzlikA mentor of mine in Michigan suggested McGill to me when she heard I had decided to begin applying for graduate school. I was impressed by McGill's reputation and drawn to the international nature of Montreal. As an American, studying in another country with exposure to another language was important for me. I came to Montreal for my audition and sample lesson and the staff won me over. After meeting Stephen Hargreaves and having a trial lesson with Dominique Labelle, I knew McGill was the right fit. 

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2. Where do you call home?

Right now I call Montreal home! I also have deep connections to Detroit, Michigan where I taught 4th grade for three years and Minneapolis, Minnesota where I was born and raised.

3. What is one unexpected talent or pastime you have?


I’m a cowgirl! I love horses. I grew up trial riding with my mom and brother. My childhood horse Fauna still lives at my family’s home in Wisconsin and I ride her every time I visit.

4. What went into choosing the repertoire for the finals of the 2017 Wirth Vocal Prize? Which piece(s) are you most excited to perform, and why?

I wanted to choose repertoire that I really loved, that also showed my strengths as a performer. The selections I’ve chosen have been pillars of my training here at McGill. I’ve enjoyed perfecting them over the past few months and I hope the hard work shows! 

5. What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize?


It’s an honor to simply have been nominated for the Wirth Vocal Prize. This school is full of talented people and I’m constantly amazed at the level of commitment my colleagues bring to our work every day. As I finish my time at McGill and begin to carve my way into the field, this nomination is a vote of confidence from the Schulich community that I’m on the right path. To be named the winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize would be icing on the cake! 

6. Who are you studying with and who will be your collaborative pianist?

I study with Dominique Labelle and will be performing with fellow Schulich School of Music student Brandon Tran.


Anna-Sophie Neher (winner)

Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

McGill is such a great school! There is so much to learn here. The teachers are some of the best in North America and the opera program puts on shows that are of really high quality. I wanted to be part of that.

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2. Where do you call home?

I am originally from Gatineau (Quebec) but Montreal has definitely stolen my heart.

3. What is one unexpected talent or pastime you have?


I love playing hockey! In the winter, there is nothing I like more than to play a game with some friends at the rink after a long day at school.

4. What went into choosing the repertoire for the finals of the 2017 Wirth Vocal Prize? Which piece(s) are you most excited to perform, and why?

It took me a while to choose my program for the Wirth Vocal Prize. I really wanted to show who I am in the repertoire but also explore many different styles. I am definitely most excited to perform the Poulenc set that I am singing. Deux poèmes de Louis Aragon was written during World War II and it has always been very special for me to perform them.

5. What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize?


Just to be part of the finals is already such a huge honor, I cannot imagine how you feel after winning!

6. Who are you studying with and who will be your collaborative pianist?

I am studying with Dominique Labelle. Esther Gonthier will be my collaborative pianist.


Jean-Philippe Mc Clish

 

Why did you choose to study at the Schulich School of Music?

2017-2018 Wirh Vocal Prize finalist Jean-Philippe McClishFirst of all, I wanted to create a team around me that can help me improve and guide me on my artistic path, a team that I can trust even, as we say in French, with closed eyes! Before coming to McGill, I had my vocal coach and artistic father, Martin Dubé, and I was working in private with Michael McMahon who invited me to study at McGill. At that time, I was in Québec city and I took the bus every two weeks to work with Michael. When I asked Martin how I should continue singing, he told me that I needed to study with Dominique Labelle if I go to McGill. I didn’t apply to any school to do my Masters because I didn’t have enough money, but thankfully I got lucky and someone dear to me helped me financially. I followed what Martin told me and I do not regret it since I have come to meet so many people who could help me grow artistically. I am so happy to have such a good team around me with Martin Dubé, Dominique Labelle, Patrick Hansen and Michael McMahon, and many others

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2.  Where do you call home?

I call Québec city home, because that is where I am from and that is where my family and friends live. I miss walking in the old part of the city and I love seeing the castle with the river and the mountains all around. I miss sometimes the friendly people and ambiance of the city and I love the fact that it only takes 10 minutes to drive from the city to be in the country. When I go back home and arrive at the bridge, and I see the river and all the beautiful things in Quebec, I really feel like I am at home!

3.  What is one unexpected talent or pastime that you have?

I really love to cook. When I was 13 years old my father obligated me to go work, so I got a job washing dishes in a restaurant which gave me sense of responsibility. At sixteen years old I was promoted to become a cook and at twenty one I was a sous-chef. Now I use those skills as a hobby and I enjoy making dinners at my place for my friends and to see their satisfaction!

4.  What went into choosing the repertoire for the finals of the 2017 Wirth Vocal Prize? Which piece(s) are you most excited to perform, and why?

I wanted to built my program around art songs, what are my first love for music and what in some way brought me to singing! I am really excited to perform Die beiden Grenadiere by Schumann. I really like the progression of the characters in the lied. I am also really excited to perform La croix douloureuse by Caplet. This is a beautiful and unknown piece that I hope the public will appreciate and discover at the same time!

5.  What would it mean to you to be named the winner of the Wirth Vocal Prize?

To win the Wirth Competition would be an amazing encouragement. It illustrates that all the hard work I have done has paid off and that I need to continue to work and grow. On the other hand, to not win the competition means that I have still come very far, and that I need to continue working and growing that much harder. I am a guy who when a door closes I open another. When I got refused for some things in the past, I just told myself ‘Well, which project can I do now?’ I started back at square one and tried again, since I believe that these setbacks have taught me perseverance, and I believe that the hard times have made me stronger! I firmly believe that is all about a point of view!!

6.  Who are you studying with and who will be your collaborative pianist?

I am currently studying with Dominique Labelle and my pianist is Pierre-André Doucet.