At the heart of the International Choir Academy Lübeck is the training of young singers.
This takes place, first of all, in the master classes with renowned vocal coaches during the Academy phases. The Academists may participate in these free of charge, following a selection process – a model for budding singers that is unique in its form.
Here is a brief profile of the docents at the International Choir Academy Lübeck:
The Dutch soprano Margreet Honig studied with Annie Hermes and Corrie Bijster at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Then she went to the United States with Evelyne Lear for further studies and dedicated herself to the french repertoire in Paris under the guidance of Pierre Bernac. She gave many recitals with pianist Rudolf Jansen and has recorded with him and the Radio Chamber Orchestra (directed by Kenneth Montgomery).
The last 30 years, she dedicated herself to pedagogical aspects of singing. She worked many years at the Rotterdam conservatory and at the Sweelink Conservatory in Amsterdam. She is regularly invited for masterclasses and interpretation courses in Europe and United States; a.o. she tought at the Conservatorys of Zürich, Basel, Hamburg and Versailles, at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, the Académie du Festival Aix en Provence, the Royal Academy in London and the Curtis Institute in Philidelphia. She also works regularly at the operastudios of the Bavarian State Opera and the Latvian State Opera.
Many students from all around the world have found the way to famous stages with the help of Margreet Honig. She gained a worldwide reputation by being a vocal coach to many singers who are now following a great carreer.
Dutch baritone Marcel Boone has performed on international stages in concert and opera. He has made appearances at the Dutch National Opera, Staatsoper Berlin, Opéra National de Lyon, Stanislavsky Theatre Moscow, Volksoper Wien, Teatro Regio di Parma, Opéra national de Montpellier and Opera Zuid, and in concert venues in Köln, Bonn, Brussels and Madrid. He received much praise for his interpretations of Mozart and gained critical acclaim for his roles as Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva and Guglielmo. The recording of Così fan tutte with René Jacobs (harmonia mundi) received numerous honours including the Edison Classic Award, Diapason d’Or and Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik. His professional debut as a lyric baritone was with the Nationale Reisopera in the Netherlands. For seven seasons this touring company would be his home base, where he successfully performed numerous roles including Lescaut (Manon Lescaut), Schaunard (La bohème), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Ned Keene (Peter Grimes) and Don Fernando (Fidelio). “These were the best training years for me as an opera singer: many performances and constant travelling gave me a solid basis for my career.” Marcel Boone was a regular guest with the Dutch National Opera, performing in outstanding, international productions with notable stage directors including Dario Fo’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Pierre Audi’s La bohème. He sung in a production of Prokofiev’s L’ amour des trois oranges and was part of an esteemed cast for Händel’s Giulio Cesare under the direction of Marc Minkowski. For the opening of the Holland Festival he sung the world premiere of Theo Loevendie’s Johnny and Jones, a moving portrait of two entertainers during the Second World War. Marcel’s repertoire gradually changed from lyric repertoire to the Kavalier Fach, and included increasingly more Puccini and Verdi roles such as Germont (La traviata) and Ford (Falstaff). To date he has performed more than 50 opera roles. His concert engagements included performances of J.S. Bach’s Passions, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Brahms’ Requiem, and Faure’s Requiem in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He has collaborated with various conductors including Marc Minkowski, René Jacobs, Yves Abel, Nikša Bareza, Paolo Carignani, Thomas Hengelbrock, Jaap van Zweden and Marc Albrecht. His collaboration with René Jacobs opened the doors to many international opera stages, concert halls and festivals including Festival de Musique Montreux, Innsbruck Festival, Schwetzingen Festival, International Music Festival Milan and Dresdner Musikfestspiele. Marcel studied at the Utrechts Conservatorium, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and at the International Opera Studio in Amsterdam with Margreet Honig, who was his principal teacher and coach. He won several international scholarships and studied with Professor Horst Guenter and Thomas Hampson. Currently Marcel is Professor of Singing at the Hochschule für Musik Basel and as of 2016 he has been appointed Professor of Singing at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. In addition to his conservatory teaching, Marcel has a private studio for professional singers.
Mezzo-soprano Lucia Duchoňová hails from Trnava in western Slovakia. Her musical upbringing began early on thanks to her parents’ influence. After studying at Bratislava State Conservatory and the Janáček Academy in Brno, she acquired her first stage experience at Brno Opera Studio. During this time, she also derived artistic stimulation from master classes hosted by Irwin Gage, Grace Bumbry, Marjana Lipovsek and Christoph Prégardien, while since 2007 she has worked regularly with the celebrated vocal expert Margreet Honig.
Nowadays, Lucia Duchoňová is a concert and oratorio singer much in demand far beyond Slovakia. For example, in 2002 she performed not only in Leonard Bernstein’s Mass at the Golden Jubilee of the Passau European Music Festival but also in a concert tribute to her celebrated fellow countrywoman Lucia Popp in Bratislava, for which she was selected as soloist. This was followed by Mozart’s cantata Davidde penitente at the Herrenchiemsee Festival as well as appearances at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Handel Festival in Göttingen, the Rheingau Music Festival, the White Nights in St Petersburg, the Prague Spring and La Folle Journée in Tokyo.
Art songs also play a significant part in Lucia Duchoňová’s life. With her unusual programmes attracting attention, she will shortly be continuing her musical journey of discovery accompanied by for instance the Benewitz Quartet.
As far as concert recitals are concerned, Lucia Duchoňová has so far performed with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Collegium 1704, the Czech Chamber Orchestra, the Kanazawa Ensemble, and the Elbipolis Baroque Orchestra.
Whereas her repertoire initially focused on major works by Bach, Handel and Mozart, Lucia Duchoňová has of late increasingly turned her attention to pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries. Meanwhile on the opera stage, she has also tackled new roles in the shape of Lisetta in Haydn’s Il mondo della luna and the Third Lady in Mozart’s Magic Flute. Despite being so busy, Lucia Duchoňová organises the international a cappella festival ZOOM+ in her hometown of Trnava, extending her range to encompass swing, jazz and spirituals with Kruhy, the vocal ensemble she founded.
Lucia Duchoňová’s discography includes Handel’s Judas Maccabäus (DHM) and Alexander’s Feast (Hänssler Classic) as well as her first solo CD featuring compositions by Joaquin Turina, which was nominated in 2011 for a Grammy.
In addition, the different working phases provide an expansive learning field with a broad spectrum of repertoire; from highly complex a cappella compositions all the way to large symphonic works with orchestra. Some a cappella groups the International Choir Academy Lübeck has worked with in the past years:
This Academy model has now proven so successful that the International Choir Academy Lübeck has been providing its educational offerings explicitly to Brazilian singers since 2015 through the “Academia canto em Trancoso” in cooperation with the Mozarteum Brasileiro.
Every year, 4-6 scholarship recipients of this academy are then invited to Europe. Often this is the chance for young talented singers to introduce themselves to European conservatories, and to begin studies in Europe.