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Singers Wanted!
June 21 – July 12, 2020

Expanded to Three Weeks in 2020,
Capped By Two Showcase Productions of Purcell's Dido & Aeneas at the Blackfriars Playhouse! 


The Baroque Vocal Workshop is an initiative from the Heifetz International Music Institute expressly for aspiring and emerging professional singers who wish to deepen their understanding of Baroque music and style, through the prism of the Heifetz Institute’s renowned instrumental teaching and unique Heifetz Performance and Communication Training method, which marries world-class vocal and instrumental instruction with experiential classes in Movement, Drama, Public Speaking, and other methods designed to developed the physical, gestural and verbal communication skills and leadership capacity both on and off stage.

Heifetz Baroque adds an exciting new dimension to the Institute's teaching philosophy that artists express their individuality not only through technically and intellectually robust music-making, but also through emotional and even physical engagement. The inaugural program will be directed by David Stern, Music Director of the acclaimed Paris-based studio and company Opera Fuoco, Chief Conductor of the Palm Beach Opera, and director of the Shanghai Baroque Festival.  Principal vocal instruction will be from soprano Dominique Labelle, renowned for her interpretations and teaching of the works of Handel, Mozart, and Bach.

8-10 singers will be enrolled in the three-week Heifetz Baroque program, supported by a cadre of faculty instrumental artists and students enrolled in the Heifetz Institute’s summer program, who will participate in the rehearsals, culminating in two productions of Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas in partnership with Staunton's rennowned American Shakespeare Center.  The performances will take place in the iconic 17th-century-replica Blackfriars Playhouse, a faithful and unique  re-creation of Shakespeare’s Elizabeth-era indoor theatre in London.  Selected singers will also rehearse and perform in intense chamber-sized ensembles with fellow Heifetz Institute instrumentalists, and be eligible to perform in the Institute's trademark Stars of Tomorrow, Midweek Matinee, and Heifetz Sunday Matinee performances.

The Baroque Vocal Workshop will take place on the campus of Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia, known for its historic, culturally vibrant downtown and stunning natural beauty. Sandwiched in the Shenandoah Valley between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains, Staunton regularly appears on lists of the nation’s best main streets and small cities in such publications as SmithsonianTravel & LeisureUSA Today, and Architectural Digest.

Outline of the Course

Heifetz Baroque will focus on 18th- century repertoire, encompassing both the foundations of baroque style and gesture as well as its evolution to the Classical style of Mozart, Haydn, and early Beethoven.

Coaching Sessions with David Stern

Each week, Heifetz Baroque students will have two hour-long coaching sessions with Mr. Stern on pre-assigned repertoire that will be performed in the final concert.  These coaching sessions will initially be accompanied by harpsichord, and then a full complement of strings (performing at A = 440 but in period-informed style), coached and led by Heifetz Institute faculty with renowned expertise in Baroque and early-Classical performance and style. Students will also be provided with ample practice and ensemble rehearsal time for their repertory.

Private Lessons with Dominique Labelle

During the three-week course, each participant will receive two hour-long private lessons per week with the renowned vocal pedagogue Dominique Labelle, Professor of Voice at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. Material to be studied in these lessons (whether repertoire or technical study) will be decided in consultation with the instructors.

Studio Performance Class

Each participant will also have the opportunity to perform their repertory before their studio colleagues in sessions led by Mr. Stern and Ms. Labelle.

Instrumental Rehearsals, Coachings, and Performance

Select violin, viola, and cello students enrolled in the regular Heifetz Institute program and assigned to chamber-music ensembles will also participate in the Baroque workshop, (again performing at A = 440 but in period-informed style), gaining valuable experience and insight into the genre as part of their course of chamber-music instruction.  Faculty and student instrumentalists will perform onstage with the singers in the program at the Blackfriars Playhouse as part of the Baroque Vocal Workshop’s public showcase performance on Tuesday, July 7 and Sunday, July 12, 2020.  Singers will also be eligible to perform select scenes and arias at the Institute's other public concerts during the course of the three-week program. 


Heifetz Baroque students will interact with students in the regular Heifetz program and tap in to the powerful teaching resources at the Heifetz Institute via a special symposia that will explore the connections between vocal and instrumental music. No special preparation will be required for these classes.

Heifetz Performance & Communication Training

Heifetz Baroque will also include a mandatory component of the Institute’s Performance and Communication Training method; indeed it is the “special sauce” that sets the Heifetz Institute apart from all other summer learning experiences for musicians, and informs every aspect of our program.  It strives to empower young performers to perfect their artistry by developing their physical, mental, and emotional range and connecting these with the music they play.  Communication Training also provides the opportunity to forge powerful interactions with other Heifetz students.

Heifetz Baroque students will receive training in Drama, Speaking in Public, and Movement, in sessions led by New York-based director, actor, teacher and Heifetz Institute Communication Training Director Daniel Pettrow and the dynamic dancer, choreographer and teacher Anabella Lenzu, founder and Artistic Director of Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama,

Key Dates

Students will arrive on Sunday, June 21, 2020, and participate in Opening Assessments with Mr. Stern, Ms. Labelle, and other Heifetz personnel.  Instruction will begin on Monday, June 22, 2020. The final performances will be in the Blackfriars Playhouse on Tuesday, July 7 and Sunday, July 12.


Click here for a complete list of Heifetz Baroque faculty.

Audition Process and Guidelines

Auditions will be either be live (see below) and/or via video recordings submitted through the Heifetz Institute’s application portal on Audition videos must clearly display the hands and face of the applicant at all times during the performance, and be taken from one single-camera perspective.

No video or audio edits of the performance are permitted, and edited performances will not be accepted. Each audition submission must be uploaded separately and clearly labeled with the name of the applicant performer and of the piece.

Videos may be posted on YouTube, or directly to this platform. Please make sure that all links are working and do not require password to access.

If you wish to upload a video from a live concert that was professionally recorded and does not meet the above conditions, or if you have any other questions, please contact us at

Audition Requirements:

  1. A recitative and aria from a Handel opera or oratorio, sung in in Italian.
  2. An aria (recitative optional) from a work by Henry Purcell, sung in English. (The 2020 Heifetz Baroque Workshop will culminate with two productions of Dido and Aeneas at the Shakespearian-replica Blackfriars Playbouse.)
  3. An aria from a Bach cantata or oratorio, sung in German.

Keyboard accompaniment:  Prospective students should audition with a collaborative pianist or harpsichordist.

All works should be performed from memory. 

Housing and Accommodations

Heifetz Baroque students will reside in a secure air-conditioned dormitory on the Mary Baldwin University campus, on floors divided by gender. They will dine and have the opportunity to socialize in the same central dining location as the six-week Heifetz Institute students.

Tuition and Fees

The Comprehensive Fee for Heifetz Baroque is $2,680. This fee includes tuition, housing, meals, student activities, and airport shuttle service between the Institute campus and either Dulles International, Charlottesville, or Shenandoah Valley airports. All the dorm rooms for Heifetz Baroque students at Mary Baldwin University are roomy, comfortable, and air-conditioned.

Financial Aid

Students displaying outstanding talent and or demonstrated need will be eligible for limited scholarship support to attend the Heifetz Baroque program. Students and their parents wishing to be considered for scholarship assistance will be required to fill out the Financial Aid portion of their application thoroughly and carefully. The Heifetz Baroque application fee cannot be waived and is not subject to financial assistance.

Application Deadline and Deposit

Deadline for application to the Heifetz Baroque program is March 15, 2020. The Heifetz Baroque application fees are:

  • $60 Between Jan. 1 – March 15, 2020.
  • Applications received after March 15 will still be considered, but the late application fee will be $75.

Students will be notified of their acceptance no later than April 1, 2020. To confirm their enrollment in the Heifetz Baroque program, accepted students and their families will be required to make a deposit of no less than 20% of their Comprehensive Fee within seven days of notification. The full balance due for attending Heifetz Baroque must be paid no later than April 15, 2020.