We invite the general public to join us for a series of Masterclasses from the worlds leading talent in classical Art Song performance.

Students will perform various songs and our “Masters” will then guide them through new approaches and perspectives on the music and their delivery – all in front of an audience.

All Masterclasses and working sessions will be held at..

Roy Barnett Recital Hall

UBC School of Music

6361 Memorial Road

(Near the Museum of Anthropology)

For directions and maps, please click here.

These and other events are open to the General Public.

Auditing Fees Apply unless otherwise noted.

For further information and registration

please visit our Auditing Page.


Sheet Music and Translations for all VISI students can be viewed online by clicking on this link.  Follow along as Graham and Isabel discuss the music and text.



graham-johnson-008Graham Johnson:  Graham Johnson’s relationship with the Wigmore Hall goes back over forty years, and he is a recent recipient of the rarely awarded Wigmore Hall medal.  He has been been a member of the jury for the Wigmore Hall Song Competition since its inception. He has had a long and fruitful link with Hyperion Records for whom he devised and accompanied a set of complete Schubert Lieder on 37 discs, a milestone in the history of recording. There is also a similarly complete Schumann series, and an ongoing Brahms series. The Hyperion French Song series features the complete songs of such composers as Chausson, Chabrier, Fauré and Poulenc. All these discs are issued with Graham Johnson’s own programme notes which set new standards for CD annotations. He has also recorded for Sony, BMG, Harmonia Mundi, Forlane, EMI and DGG. Awards include the Gramophone solo vocal award in 1989 (with Dame Janet Baker), 1996 (Die schone Müllerin with Ian Bostridge), 1997 (for the inauguration of the Schumann series with Christine Schäfer) and 2001 (with Magdalena Kozena). He was The Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year in 1998; in June 2000 he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. He is author of The Songmakers’ Almanac; Twenty years of recitals in London (1996), The French Song Companion for OUP (2000), The Vocal Music of Benjamin Britten (Guildhall 2003) and Gabriel Fauré—the Songs and their Poets (2009). In 2014, Graham Johnson’s Franz Schubert; The Complete Songs, a three-volume encyclopaedia published by Yale University Press with 600 illustrations drawn from the author’s own collection, was hailed by Leon Botstein in the The Times Literary Supplement as “a reference work for the ages…an exemplary achievement rooted in artistry and deep familiarity”. For more on Graham, please click here.


Isabel_150x150Isabel Bayrakdarian:  A winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1997—the same year she graduated from the University of Toronto cum laude with that impressively nonmusical degree—Ms. Bayrakdarian thereafter found her career taking rapid wing. In 1999 she scored a notable success in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s world premiere production of William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge; the following year, she walked away from Plácido Domingo’s prestigious Operalia competition with first prize. She launched 2002 with her San Francisco Opera debut, as Valencienne in The Merry Widow, and closed it with her Metropolitan Opera debut, in the New York premiere of Bolcom’s opera; a season later, she won plaudits (and hearts) as Teresa in the belated Met premiere of Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini. Mozart became a specialty: Zerlina in Don Giovanni (New York, Houston, Salzburg), Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro (Los Angeles, London), and Pamina in The Magic Flute (New York, Toronto). “How any man could not relent before the beautiful Isabel Bayrakdarian’s ardent Pamina was a mystery,” marveled the New York Times after her first Met Flute. But almost from the start, she’s refused to be hemmed in to a particular period or style. Her roles at her home-base theater, Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company, range from Gluck’s Euridice to Debussy’s Mélisande to Poulenc’s Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites; and away from home she’s shone as Monteverdi’s Poppea in Barcelona, Handel’s Romilda (Serse) in Dresden, and Janáček’s Vixen in New York, Florence, and the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan.  For more information on Isabel, please click here.


Tyler-Duncan-webTyler Duncan:  Canadian baritone Tyler Duncan recently made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Huntsman in Dvorák’s Rusalka. At the Spoleto Festival he debuted as Mr. Friendly in the 18th-century ballad opera Flora, returning the next season as the Speaker in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Other appearances have included the role of Raymondo in Handel’s Almira with the Boston Early Music Festival, Dandini in Rossini’s La cenerentola with Pacific Opera Victoria; and Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Princeton Festival. Issued on the CPO label is his Boston Early Music Festival recording of the title role in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis.

Frequently paired with pianist Erika Switzer, Tyler Duncan has given acclaimed recitals in New York, Boston, and Paris, and throughout Canada, Germany, Sweden, France, and South Africa. Mr. Duncan has received prizes from the Naumburg, London’s Wigmore Hall, and Munich’s ARD competitions, and won the 2010 Joy in Singing competition, 2008 New York Oratorio Society Competition, 2007 Prix International Pro Musicis Award, and Bernard Diamant Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. He holds music degrees from the University of British Columbia, Germany’s Hochschule für Musik (Augsburg), and Hochschule für Musik und Theater (Munich).   For more information on Tyler, please click here.


Erika_150x150Erika Switzer:  Ms. Switzer has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall (Weill Hall), Boston’s Longy Hall, and Paris’ Salle Cortot.  Other European performances include the New Discoveries series in Baden-Baden Festspiele, and the Winners & Masters concert series in Munich.  In her native Canada, she has performed at the Chamber Music Festivals of Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver.

Ms. Switzer has been recorded by the CBC, Dutch Radio (Radio 4), SWR and the Bayerische Rundfunk in Germany, WQXR New York and WGBH Boston.  A committed teacher, Erika is a founding faculty member of the Vancouver International Song Institute and currently teaches at Bard College in upstate New York.  Erika is co-creator of the podcast and soon-to-be Ezine “Sparks and Wiry Cries”, with soprano Martha Guth.

Erika Switzer won First Prize for best pianist at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition and the Best Pianist award at the Robert Schumann International Vocal Competition. Following seven years in Germany, Ms. Switzer is currently based in New York City where she is a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at the Juilliard School of Music.  For more information on Erika, please click here.