Canadian-Norwegian mezzo-soprano Kiiri Michelsen is active in performance, teaching (voice/lyric diction), coaching (lyric diction) and research (lyric diction).
Voice teaching (Dept of Postsecondary Studies – VCM/Camosun Diploma in Music Performance; Ann & George Nation Conservatory School of Classical Music)
The ultimate goal of Kiiri’s teaching approach is the discovery of each singer’s unique sound. In search of this, the journey she leads her students on focuses on the development of healthy technique through the elimination of physical tension patterns and emotional/mental blocks. Developing each singer’s body awareness is an important part of her teaching, and her own experiences studying and practicing Alexander Technique (in the context of both voice and piano), yoga, and various types of dance influence the ways Kiiri works with students to increase their discovery, awareness, and enjoyment of the physicality of singing and resonance. Also, her knowledge and experience as diction coach/instructor in various languages (see below) enable her to integrate high-level lyric diction work into her lesson teaching. Although much of her teaching focuses on the classical repertoire, Kiiri also has experience in other styles including jazz, musical theatre, folk, and popular music.
Kiiri’s wide-ranging musical interests and performance experience in different genres contribute to a flexible teaching style which has lent her success with students aged 6 to 80+ . Her students have successfully auditioned for university/college vocal programs, vocal training courses, auditioned choirs, and opera and musical theatre productions.
Diction Instructor (Lyric Diction courses in English, German, French, Italian)
Diction coaching (one-on-one, by arrangement)
Kiiri teaches Diction as part of the VCM/Camosun Diploma in Music Performance program and teaches four full-term postsecondary lyric diction courses in English, French, German, and Italian. She also teaches units on lyric diction in Spanish (Continental and Latin American) and Latin (Italianate, Germanic, French). One of Kiiri’s particular interests is her specialisation in the nascent field of lyric diction research/coaching in the Scandinavian languages (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish). She is passionate about increasing students’ and audiences’ awareness of and exposure to the enchanting but lesser-known Scandinavian song repertoire through her teaching and performing.
Kiiri’s passion for languages, exacting attention to detail, and many languages coached have led her to gain the reputation of “diction guru” with colleagues and students alike. Kiiri’s unique blend of skills as a singer, voice teacher, diction instructor/researcher and coach have enabled her to develop a highly specialized and effective method of diction coaching which yields high-level results. She is regularly in demand to coach soloists, choirs, conductors, and anyone looking to improve their ability to sing language clearly, correctly, expressively, and with maximum vocal ease.
She has coached repertoire in English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Spanish (Continental and Latin American dialects), the Galician dialect, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, and Latin (Italianate, Germanic, and French).
Kiiri began teaching in the 90’s, and has taught in both Victoria and Montreal, both privately and on faculty at various music schools, including the Sidney Community Music School, Brentwood College School, Con Brio Music School, and the VCM.
Kiiri comes from a rich musical background, having trained initially as a pianist before choosing to focus exclusively on her vocal career. Kiiri holds a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance (secondary focus: Musicology) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music with Distinction (Piano/Voice, with a special interest in collaborative piano and chamber music). Her vocal training has taken her to various locations nationally and internationally for workshops and professional development courses, including among others Opera NUOVA, the Vancouver International Song Institute (Theatre of Art Song), CAMMAC Intensive Vocal Workshops (Montreal), the North Sea Vocal Academy (Denmark), VCM’s Opera Studio, and the VCM Oratorio Program. She has had the honour of studying with several of Canada’s leading singers and pedagogues in Victoria and Montreal, including Jan Simons, Cathérine Sévigny, Benjamin Butterfield, and Nancy Argenta.
Kiiri is a versatile performer, praised for her ” lovely warm voice and excellent technique”. From Bach to Brahms, Vivaldi to Weill, Kiiri is equally at home in repertoire from the Baroque to the contemporary. Her interest in performing contemporary classical music has led to collaborations with composers on new vocal works written for her voice, as well as other premieres. She has premiered works by, among others, Liova Bueno, David Loeb, and Anna Höstman. Kiiri also has a fondness for performing in non-classical styles, and can be heard as featured soloist in concerts of repertoires such as the American Songbook catalogue, classic Broadway, and French chansons. Kiiri has sung under the direction of, among others, Timothy Vernon, Steven Devine, Marc Destrubé, János Sándor, and Tania Miller, and has collaborated with musicians such as Frank Chu, Melanie Cancade, Douglas Hensley, and Patricia Kostek. She has performed in concert with various ensembles and concert series, including the Victoria Baroque Players, the Victoria Choral Society, the Victoria Symphony, the Pacific Baroque Festival, and the MADDWEve Hornby Island Recital Series. A life-long lover of languages, Kiiri has performed repertoire in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Czech, Russian, and Latin.
For more information, visit www.kiirimichelsen.ca