The Prague Institute of Music has the objective of helping artists in their efforts to achieve the highest mastery in their field. It is focused both on vocal and instrumental musicians on the threshold of their artistic career.
The effort to create such a highly specialized platform brought together artists of the highest importance who share the same opinions (Vladimír Chmelo, Martin Škampa, Peter Toperczer, Marie Mátlová, Robert Pechanec).
The Prague Institute of Music is open to all talented artists, whether they are fresh graduates from artistic schools on the threshold of their artistic career or professional singers striving to refine their interpretation style. The above-mentioned activities will also include extensive international cooperation, above all in the form of participation of music institutions and artists from countries of the European Union in courses (masterclasses) and competitions.
Baritone Vladimír Chmelo, an internationally renowned artist, has continuously dedicated himself to teaching activities during his theatre career and a number of his pupils are leading singers in Czech and foreign theatres. Within the activities of the Prague Institute of Music he continuously leads about ten singers in the form of intensive workshops held about once a month in the premises of the National Theatre. (www.chmelo.com)
Besides that, Masterclasses with the participation of Italian singer and teacher Astrea Amaduzzi are regularly held in the summer. (www.belcantoitaliano.it)
mission of the Institute
The objective of the Prague Institute of Music (hereinafter referred to as “Institute”) is to contribute to further education of performing artists, above all of opera singers.
Czech universities provide a good base to starting singers for their artistic development, singing technique and understanding of style interpretation. However, it is only a base which will enable them to perform on regional stages in supporting roles but the journey to first-class and universally inspiring performances in main roles, or possibly on world-renowned stages, is long and difficult. After completing their studies young singers are usually left to their fate and have to take care of further artistic development on their own. However, a successful career of an opera singer depends on intense work on artistic development, staging of new roles, deepening and modification of the singing technique and the development of style interpretation. Cases when a “finished” singer has to change his singing technique because of the development of his voice are no exception.
At present there is no organization in the Czech Republic which would permanently be focused on further education of performing artists after they complete their university studies. Abroad it is common for this activity to be performed by opera studios affiliated to the biggest opera houses. In the case of the Metropolitan Opera in New York it is the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. However, we do not need to go far for inspiration. Similar studios exist at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, at the Semperoper in Dresden and in Berlin all three local opera houses (i.e. Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper im Schiller Theater, Komische Oper) have such a studio. The oldest of such opera studios is the International Opera Studio in Cologne, which was founded in 1961.
Considering the size of the Czech Republic, it clearly does not make sense for every opera house to establish its opera studio. From the economic point of view the existence of an opera studio at every opera house is inconceivable. Most of the singers who are permanently active in the Czech Republic, including those who have a permanent engagement at a theatre, also appear at other theatres, which makes the exclusive relationship of an opera studio to a particular opera house controversial.
More ambitious young singers naturally seek further education also now as without further artistic development they would not be able to succeed in the highly competitive field of opera singing. However, their efforts face a number of practical problems.
The first problem is finding a sufficiently qualified teacher who would get on well with the young singer both in terms of singing and personality. The relationship of a singer and his teacher is normally a relationship for the entire life. Naturally, the extent and intensity of their mutual relationship changes during the singer’s career. In any case, it is a very personal relationship which cannot be based on administrative assignment. Both the singer and his teacher must mutually “click” so that their cooperation can make sense and lead to real progress in the artistic maturing of a young artist.
Another problem is finding suitable facilities for teaching as from a practical point of view it is not possible to work on the development of vocal technique, style interpretation and the character of particular roles anywhere.
Last but not least also the financial side is problematic as a young singer generally has only very limited financial resources. From the point of view of the teacher who as a rule has a successful singing career behind him it is unworthy of such a teacher to receive no reward or only a symbolic reward for his work.
The objective of the institute is to solve the above-mentioned problems and facilitate further education, artistic specialization and development of young performing artists as much as possible.
Primarily the institute would like to create an open and non-discriminatory platform which would facilitate the establishment of relationships between a young singer and his future teacher. With this objective in mind the Institute would organize “summer schools” (i.e. short-term intense study programs for more participants independent of the season of the year) during which the first contact between
a young artist and his potential teacher could take place. Besides that, the Institute would also enable the mediation of contact between a potential interested artist and a teacher outside one-time events of the “summer school” type, in the form of individual singing and one-off consultations. The institute would be open for participants regardless of nationality, however, it is expected that the participants who are not professionally active in the Czech Republic could participate in the education exclusively at market conditions.
Further, the Institute would like to create an organizationally-administrative base and provide suitable conditions for teaching. It is extremely inefficient for both young singers and their teachers to deal with practical issues rather than artistic work. One of the main tasks of the Institute is to find suitable spaces for teaching in cooperation with other public organizations or private persons.
Last but not least the Institute would dedicate itself to funding the teaching of young singers who do not have sufficient funds for teaching. The funding would take place in the form of full or partial scholarships awarded to individual young artists on the basis of an open and non-discriminatory selection procedure. The Institute would also provide funds for the organization of “summer schools” and concerts at which the results of the mutual work of young singers and their teachers would be presented. We expect that the Institute would actively cooperate with other cultural institutions and music festivals during the organization of “summer schools” as well as concerts.
The funding of the Institute would be provided from different resources. The Institute will obtain a part of the financial resources from public resources on the basis of grants and subsidies. Another part of the funds should come from private persons and companies in the form of financial support or promotional cooperation. A not at all insignificant part of the resources would be generated by the activities of the Institute itself consisting in teaching singers at market conditions, proceeds from “summer schools”, concerts and other performances organized by the Institute. The Institute would like to organize some tasks in cooperation with other cultural institutions and with their material or financial contribution.
The Institute is conceived as a non-profit organization. All the proceeds from teaching will be used exclusively for providing teaching. The revenue from the secondary activities, such as, for example, organizing “summer schools” and concerts will be used for further activities of the Institute.
In case of successful operation of the Institute in the Czech Republic the activities of the Institute may be extended to Slovakia. The extension of the activities of the Institute to education and development of other performing artists, above all instrumentalists, is also being considered.
detailed information will be provided by Alžběta Kerberová
Director of Prague Music Institute