Keynote Presenters 2018

Wendy Nielsen

Wendy Nielsen (Canada)

Following a long and distinguished career as an opera and concert singer, Wendy  Nielsen is now a Lecturer in Voice and Opera at the University of Toronto. In addition to her duties there, she is the lead vocal consultant for the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Program. Her own career was launched as a member of this training program. Wendy made her Metropolitan Opera Debut as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte in 1996. Subsequently, she sang numerous roles there including Countess in Nozze di Figaro, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Micaela in Carmen.Later in her career she undertook the roles of Tosca, Ariadne, Vitellia in Clemenza di Tito and Samuel Barber’s Vanessa among others. She has performed world wide with opera companies and orchestras working with such conductors as James Levine, Kurt Masur, James Conlon, Mario Bernardi, Charles Dutoit, Richard Bradshaw, and Ivan Fischer. She has been the Artistic Director of the St Andrews Summer Opera Workshop for nearly twenty years and has fostered the program into becoming one of the top of its kind in the country.

Wendy Nielsen 2

Watch Wendy talk about why she loves to teach, and what it’s like to listen back to her own singing technique. Watch Wendy participate in the Canadian Opera Company’s TEDTalk, How to build an opera singer. Based in Toronto, Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio is Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. Wendy is joined by Liz Upchurch (vocal coach), Jennifer Swan (kinetics coach), and singers Danika Lorèn and Iain MacNeil.

Follow Wendy on her Lake Diva blog.

Stephen Clift

Stephen Clift (UK)

Stephen Clift is Professor of Health Education in the Faculty of Health and Social Care, Canterbury Christ Church University, and Research Director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health. He has worked in the field of health promotion and public health for over twenty-five years, and has made contributions to research, practice and training on HIV/AIDS prevention, sex education, international travel and health and the health promoting school. Stephen’s current interests relate to arts and heath and particularly the potential value of group singing for health and wellbeing. He is one of the founding editors of Arts & Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice and Honorary President of the Singing Hospitals International Network.


Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health

Watch videos produced by the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health that capture its work researching the potential value of music, and other participative arts activities, in the promotion of wellbeing and health of individuals and communities. Listen to podcasts from visiting presenters at the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health.


Aida SwensonAida Swenson (Indonesia)

Aida Swenson is one of Indonesia’s strongest forces of choral music development. As founder and conductor of the world-renowned Indonesian Children and Youth Choirs Cordana, her choirs have gathered international recognitions and awards and have performed in major cities in the United States (2007 ACDA Convention Miami), Germany 2012 Musica Sacra, Marktoberdorf), Poland, Japan, Switzerland (2016 European Youth Choir Festival, Basel), Philippines, Singapore, Denmark (2008 IFCM Symposium Copenhagen), France (2010 Polyfollia), Canada (2011 Festival 500), China (2015 IFCM Choral Expo, Macau; 2015 Taipei International Choral Festival), and other Asian countries. A graduate of the Westminster Choir College, Aida conducts workshops nationally and internationally and is a frequent adjudicator for international choral events. She is Chairperson of the Foundation for the Development of Choral Music in Indonesia and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Institute of Church Music. Aida has spent many years traveling throughout Indonesia creating and leading choirs in provinces, giving masters classes, and training choral conductors. She is a pillar of change, of progress, and of energy in her mission to achieve irrefutable quality in choral music throughout Indonesia and around the world.


Watch videos of Indonesian Cordana Youth Choir at Festival 500 (2011) in St. John’s, NL Canada. We are really looking forward to welcoming Aida (and, hopefully, her singers) back to our province for the International Symposium on Singing and Song II.

Rampai Aceh      Toki Tifa      Jesus Nit


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