Doing masterclasses can be a terrifying thing for any student. It can be difficult to try and remember the work that has been put into pieces whilst standing in front of your master teachers who you admire very much.

This week in small, isolated Perth, 30 singers and pianists were witness to a series of masterclasses by two of the most respected classical performers in recent history: Dame Felicity Lott and Dr. Graham Johnson OBE. Johnson and Lott travelled all the way over from London to lead 15 masterclasses as a part of the WAAPA International Art Song Academy. Dr. Johnson, accompanist extraordinaire, led classes on the music of Brahms and Schubert whilst Dame Felicity ran classes on French mélodie. In addition to the masterclasses, the people of Perth were treated to a recital at Government House Ballroom on Wednesday night, an experience that I’m sure those in attendance will never forget. We have compiled some reactions, as well as helpful nuggets of wisdom that all us students have experienced during the week.

What it’s like hearing Graham Johnson speak about Schubert and Brahms:


What it’s like speaking and singing French for Dame Felicity Lott:


Hearing Dame Felicity Lott and Graham Johnson in Recital:


Then realising you have to sing for these people:

Finishing the week after 30+ hours of lessons from these two:



Dame Felicity on learning song repertoire:


Dr. Johnson on ensemble between artists in song:


Graham on the use of colour in the voice and piano:


Felicity Lott on languages:


Tips on planning a recital from Dr. Johnson:


This barely scrapes the surface of the huge body of information that we received this week. If you want to experience it for yourself you might just have to come to a future Art Song Academy!  For a student it costs $400 to be involved in this prestigious academy. That included a free ticket to see Dame Felicity Lott and Graham Johnson, the opportunity to work twice with Graham and once with Felicity and to attend all 15 masterclasses, with the chance of performing with Graham Johnson at Government House Ballroom on the final Sunday! This works out to be $20 per masterclass… Not to mention, that if you paid the observer student price, these masterclasses worked out even cheaper at $13 per session. This is a very affordable way to learn about this great art form from some of the greats!!

There is one last chance to see all of our hard work over the last week. Today at Government House Ballroom, the students of the WAAPA International Art Song Academy will be holding a recital full of Schubert, Brahms and French Melodie. Tickets available at the door, concert begins at 4pm. We will leave you with a “Student Serenade” arranged by our very own Katherine Goyder. When asked to write something for the Graham and Felicity’s post-recital reception, Kate decided arranging was a much better idea than an original composition. Enjoy this performance, at the end of the Saturday night WIASA Participant Showcase last.

Written by Katherine Goyder and Louis Hurley