Song Scholarship and Performance

5th Annual
Interdisciplinary Song Scholarship and Performance Program

Goethe in Performance, Performance in Goethe


Scholar residency: 31 May – 9 June 2014
For graduate students (master's, Ph.D.) and young professionals in musicology and music theory
Performer residency: 29 May – 12 June 2014
For graduate-level (master's, D.M.A.) and young professional singers and pianists
Advanced undergraduates may also apply

A groundbreaking program for scholars and performers built around intensive study of specific repertoire that offers opportunities for individual mentorship by outstanding faculty from across North America and beyond, as well as opportunities for concert performances.


Please click here to read a February 2013 article highlighting this engaging program
in the American Musicological Society newsletter.


Faculty will include:



SUSAN YOUENS (University of Notre Dame)
JENNIFER RONYAK (University of Texas-Arlington)
BENJAMIN BINDER (Duquesne University), Program Director

Music Theory

DEBORAH STEIN (New England Conservatory)
RICHARD KURTH (University of British Columbia)
HARALD KREBS (University of Victoria)


JANE K. BROWN (University of Washington)


CAMERON STOWE (Juilliard School, New England Conservatory), Performance Director





The Vancouver International Song Institute (VISI) invites graduate-level students and all those interested in art song to participate in its 2014 Song Scholarship and Performance (SSP) Program.  SSP is a collaborative seminar comprised of musicologists, theorists, singers, and pianists working together in an environment that dissolves the boundaries between scholarship and performance.  The program was developed in 2010 by musicologist and pianist Benjamin Binder, and former faculty include superb scholars such as Richard Kramer, Kristina Muxfeldt, Michael Musgrave, Vera Micznik and Sherry Lee.  Returning for 2014 are musicologist Susan Youens and music theorists Harald Krebs, Deborah Stein and RIchard Kurth, and Germanist Sharon Krebs. We are  pleased to welcome musicologist Jennifer Ronyak and esteemed Goethe scholar Jane K. Brown.  Collaborative pianist and coach Cameron Stowe leads the performance side of the program. Mezzo-soprano Ann Murray will give a masterclass during the performer's residency.  

In this program, musicologists, music historians, and music theorists of art song will have the opportunity to work intimately with singers and pianists, and vice versa. We will share our ideas through lectures, master classes, seminar workshops, coachings, and personalized mentoring sessions, all the while making valuable professional connections.  Student scholars and performers will also put their ideas into practice by collaborating with each other in a lecture recital and a final concert performance.

The thematic focus of SSP 2014 is Goethe in Performance, Performance in Goethe.  Led by our expert faculty, we will explore this theme from many angles, including the aesthetics and practice of song performance in Goethe's personal milieu, performance and the construction of identity in Wilhelm Meister, and the performance of gender and Oriental attitudes in the West-östlicher Divan.  In our scholarly seminars and in concert performance and masterclasses, we will examine settings of Goethe's poetry from throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

For more information about SSP 2014, please contact Program Director Benjamin Binder at



“I had an extraordinary time at VISI.  The faculty and students created an entirely unique environment for enjoyable, deep, and sustaining conversations about ways of understanding song.  My expectations were exceeded along every boundary.  From the level of engagement and energy, to the integration of musicology and performance, to the warm and welcoming spirit of the whole program, VISI is a new model for the exploration of the arts.” – Jonathan Boschetto, Ph.D. candidate in musicology, Princeton University



Some highlights of the program:

•  Attend lectures and masterclasses on art-song related topics by SSP scholars and performance faculty

•  Participate in the Scholarship and Performance Seminars, where we combine musicological and analytical study of selected repertoire with live performance in an interactive workshop setting

•  Receive one-on-one mentoring on your research and your academic career from the SSP scholarly faculty

•  Have coachings with VISI performance faculty as well as SSP musicologists and theorists

•  Design and present a lecture recital: student scholars and performers will team up to create an interpretive vision for a set of art songs to be performed in concert

•  Singers and pianists will also have the opportunity to perform in a formal evening recital of Goethe settings extensively coached by VISI and SSP faculty

•  Enjoy full access to all concurrent VISI activities, including concerts, lectures, masterclasses, and other sessions

To see a detailed daily schedule of classes, lectures, seminars, and concerts from SSP 2013, please CLICK HERE.



More testimonials from former SSP faculty and students:



“It isn’t often we find ourselves in the company of so many others who share our passion for ‘art song.’ SSP is a dream program for any doctoral student working on a thesis in this area. Beyond the intellectual and artistic riches VISI offers, this is a wonderful opportunity for scholars and performers to forge connections that will serve them well for many years to come.” – Kristina Muxfeldt, Associate Professor of Musicology, Indiana University


“I think it is not an exaggeration to say that we all learned greatly from one another, that each song brought to the surface important questions of interpretation and meaning.  In brief, this was a rare and stimulating experience for all of us. SSP is a unique program, an invaluable asset to those of us who care deeply about song, and a unique resource for young singers and pianists.” – Richard Kramer, Distinguished Professor, CUNY Graduate Center

“SSP is truly a rare gem. The close, daily interaction between the highest caliber scholars and talented, imaginative coaches was one of the single greatest musical experiences I’ve ever had. Everyone involved provided warm encouragement and friendly interpretive exchanges that brought us closer together each day with fresh creative ideas, renewed enthusiasm, and love for song and making music. The network of connections and the sincere bond that the SSP members were able to establish in such a short time is proof of the festival’s power to influence personal and professional lives in significant and enduring ways.” – Loretta Terrigno, Ph.D. candidate in musicology and music theory, CUNY Graduate Center

“I have never been to a program like SSP where scholarship and performance are equally valued and encouraged. SSP is a safe space in which to explore both perspectives and the relative weight given to each when interpreting a particular piece. Rather than simply teaching me what I ‘should’ think and express when performing art song, SSP gave me the tools, expert mentorship, and opportunities to make my own choices – in other words, to be a real artist.” – Lila Palmer, M.M. in vocal performance, New England Conservatory

“Working so closely with such a renowned faculty for two weeks was almost surreal. We were privy to a side of the faculty that students almost never get to see: in our seminars the professors shared with us their new and current work, allowing us to observe a part of their process as scholars and to engage in a discussion about this work as equals. Throughout these two weeks, I was exposed to such a unique setting and such a dedicated faculty that I know this experience will be invaluable to my academic career. I cannot think of another summer program that offers something like this.” – Chantal Lemire, M.A. candidate in music theory, University of British Columbia


Fee, Housing, and Application information:

$450 scholars; $850 performers + $50 application fee.  Partial tuition scholarships may be available.  

Student auditors may attend at the regular drop-in or weekly VISI rates.  Please click for detailed auditor pricing. Faculty auditors may participate for a nominal overall fee.  Interested faculty should contact program director Benjamin Binder ( for more information.

On-campus housing is available at reduced rates.  For general housing information, please click here.



Deadline: March 16th. 2014 

Please click here to access registration process.

Required application materials for SSP:

  •  Scholars must submit a detailed and extensive CV.
  • Performers must submit the following:
    • A résumé of training and performance experience.
    • A recording or video of art song selections, including at least 2 contrasting German Lieder, 15 minutes duration.  It is preferable to limit all selections to German Lieder. Arias are not accepted. Pianists should also include a solo piano work of their choice. Recordings should be sent as mp3 files, YouTube linkes, or in another electronic format.
    • A signed PDF letter of recommentation from your most recent teacher.

Compile and submit application materials to






Contact Us

Vancouver International Song Institute
P.O. Box 71015
Vancouver, BC V6N 4J9

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