Friday, October 2, 2009

Making the Cut: University of Western Ontario

The Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario was represented by Vocal Coordinator and the President of the Ontario Chapter of NATS, tenor Torin Chiles. Torin is an eloquent speaker and outlined the following features of the Western program:
  1. There are over 200 singers at Western; 40 of which are graduate students. This number will increase in 2010-11 when they roll out their new Doctorate program (DMA). This makes them the largest Faculty of Music in Ontario (and in the country I believe).

  2. The undergraduate experience aims to nurture and challenge their singers in a safe environment. Students are encouraged to discover and evolve as musicians and human beings.

  3. Their faculty features many well known Canadian performing artists including mezzo Anita Kraus (currently at the COC in Butterfly), baritone Ted Baerg, mezzo Sophie Roland (who, with her husband Todd Wieczorek bring DMA degrees from Indiana University) and recently hired soprano Laura Whalen.

  4. They provide numerous master classes with visiting artists including Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka.

  5. Last summer they launched a summer program aimed at the emerging artist called Canadian Operatic Arts Academy (COAA) (check out their brochure - auditions for 2010 are in November!)

  6. Their opera program has the benefit of a new facility with 3 productions for 2009-10. The operas are based on open auditions for undergrads and graduate students so everyone has a chance to learn a major role.

  7. Their education stream is very strong with a Faculty of Education at UWO making a convenient transition after 4th year. Part of the strength of this program are the 5 choirs that provide training in choral singing and conducting.

  8. UWO doesn't provide big scholarships as they chose to distribute their money evenly among students based on academic achievement as they feel this is a large indicator for success. You can be guaranteed $2000 if you enter with a 90% or higher and $1500 with an 85%!
In short, UWO is a big school and with that comes big opportunity, a plethora of experiences and of course, a lovely campus!

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