Marion van den Akker studied at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam with Erna Spoorenberg. She continued her studies with Henk Smit and Aafje Heynis, Ellen van Haaren in the Netherlands and with Josephine Veasey in the U.K. A grant allowed her to participate in master classes given by Nicolai Gedda, Italo Tajo and Brigitte Fassbaender.
As a soloist, Marion van den Akker has worked with conductors like Kees Bakels, Aldo Ceccato, Mark Foster, Jean Fournet, Hartmut Haenchen, Eri Klas, Yakov Kreizberg, Alexander Liebreich, Henry Lewis, Reinbert de Leeuw, Kenneth Montgomery, George Pehlivanian, gennadi Rozdestvensky, Marc Soustrot, Hans Vonk and Edo de Waart.
Van den Akker has a particularly affinity with orchestral songs. Her performance of Mahler songs (Lied von der Erde, Lieder e/f Gesellen, Kindertotenlieder) performed mostly in Germany and the Netherlands were received with great enthusiasm. Her concert repertoire also includes the Verdi’s Requiem, the Stabat Mater by Dvořák and by Rossini, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis and Ninth Symphony, Alt Rhapsody Brahms and the passions of J.S. Bach.
On the opera stage, Marion van den Akker has interpreted the title role in Dido and Aeneas. Carmen and Il barbiere di Siviglia (Paisiello) she sang Emilia in Otello, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, L’Enfant in l’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Fyodor in Boris Godunov, Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Laura in La Gioconda, Nefertite in Akhenaton, Laura in Iolanthe and Principessa in Suor Angelica. Roles in contemporary opera include Monnica Marthe (Willem Dragstra) and the mezzo part in Kopernikus (Claude Vivier). Van den Akker has appeared with De Nederlandse Opera, the Giessen Opera, Nationale Reisopera, Opera Festival Stia (Italy) and the Flemish Opera (Belgium).
Marion van den Akker is active as a chamber musician. She performed as a soloist with the Allegri String Quartet, the Raphaël String Quartet, Ebony Band, Valerius Ensemble, the Ravel Quartet, Parkanyi Kwartet and Ruysdael Quartet. Her chamber music repertoire includes works by Respighi, Brahms, Schubert, Chausson, Schönberg, Musorgsky,Bridge and Gubaidulina.
Additionally Marion van den Akker has given solo recitals with the following pianists: Rian de Waal (her late husband) , Martijn van den Hoek, Jeroen Sarphati and Hannes Minnaar in a.o. Paris, London, Bath, Bloomington, Amsterdam, Rotterdam Toronto, New Delhi, Manila, Curaçao, Lugano, Firenze, Casablanca, Athens and Corfu.
Van den Akker’s voice inspired many composers to write for her.
These include Sebastian Huydts (Emerson Songs), Willem Jeths
(I Go), Caroline Ansink (Jeanne d’Arc) and Robin de Raaff (Dickenson Songs).
Peter Jan Wagemans ‘Das Neunte Lied’ was premiered during the Gergiev Festival in a performance focusing on Robert Schumann.
Recently after a production of Peter Grimes where Marion van den Akker performed the role of Aunti (summer 2021) the director of this opera Paul Carr, who happend to be a repected composer aswell, was inspired by Marion’s voice and composed a song for her (Music, when soft voices die).
In addition to her performing art Marion is also a very dedicated singing teacher and runs her own classical singing studio at the Stichting van de Omroep, Heuvellaan 33 te Hilversum.
Sweelinck Conservatory Amsterdam
Teacher of music and performing art
Nicolai Gedda Nice
Italo Tajo Firenze
Brigitte Fassbaender England and Paris
Henny Yana Diemer
Josephine Veasey English national Opera
Firenze Summer opera course
- Masterclass romantic songs and vocal technic Casa Blanca 1998
- Masterclass conservatory Zwolle Schumann 2003
- Masterclass conservatory Zwolle contemporary music a.o. Claude Vivier and Gubaidulina 2004
- Masterclass romantic songs Koninklijk conservatorium Den Haag 2005
- Masterclass songs by Liszt Prins Claus Conservatory
- Peter de Grote festival as vocalteacher and performing artist from 2006 to 2015
- Producer of chamberopera’s: The old maid and the Thief (Menotti), l’Heure Espagnole (Ravel), la Serva Padrone (Pergolesi)and The Tsar (contemporary opera) by Monique Krüss
- Prins Claus Conservatory vocal teacher 2007 to 2015 Groningen
- International Vocal Competition Den Bosch 2011,2012,2013,2014
- Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds ( scholarships for young musicians ) until 2016
- Rhijnauwen Chamber Music Festival 1994 tot 2000
- After summer Festival Zwolle 2000 tot 2007
- Royaal Vocaal Den Haag own sereis from 2005 to 2011
- Peter de Grote Festival founder vocal department
- Foundation Klassiekintveen.nl programmer still active
|Pim Moorer||Autumn’s Even|
|Sebastian Huydts||Emerson Songs|
|Willem Jeths||I Go|
|Caroline Ansink||Jeanne d’Arc|
|Robin de Raaff||Dickenson songs|
|Jaques Reuland||Rossetti liederen|
|Peter Jan Wagemans||Das Neunte Lied|
SOPRANO ANDREA CONANGLA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH MARION VAN DEN AKKER
Soprano Andrea Conangla from Portugal in an interview with her teacher the mezzo-soprano and vocal coach Marion van den Akker from the Netherlands
AC: The Fach vocal system is used mainly in Opera Houses to help organizing the opera seasons BUT is also used as a guide to students during the training. Is the Fach vocal system a good tool of categorization?
MA: Well, I think it can be very helpful. I agree with the Fach system in a certain way. It was invented in Germany, actually, and being used by them. It’s a very special system. It can help you to, perhaps, not overuse your instrument and finding a good way to coach your voice and not going into extremes in certain roles that you can damage yourself, especially when you are still very young. So I think it is not a bad system, it is useful.
AC: Is it a valid way of categorization? MA: Yes, I think it is. It’s very valid because you can build up a good repertoire without overusing your voice. Only if you stay more or less in the same category of course. AC: How is it used? Or how should it be used?
MA: I don’t know nowadays how it is used, because in my time, they used it in Germany in quite a proper way. They produced one or two seasons in advanced and they looked for voices to fill in the roles. But in “the old days” it was the other way around. The producers and intendants of the opera houses were more interested in the singer, they searched operas to fit the singer’s voice. If they really stick to the Fach system you could sing good roles, as I did as a lyrical mezzo, like Cherubino, Dorabella, Carmen, it was not too heavy, and it was good to build repertoire. But sometimes, some houses asked me for Cherubino as a light mezzopart but they also ask me to sing Venus a dramatic soprano, that was impossible for me at that time ! It’s totally different. Venus can be sang as a Zwischen-fach1 role. Venus can be sang by a dramatic soprano, but it can also be sang by a high full lyrical mezzo. It’s in the middle of two Fächer, like Fidelio a bit.
AC: What are the dangers or opportunities involved?
MA: I think there’s not a real danger when you stay within your Fach, on the other hand it can be a bit boring when you want to develop your voice. Some German singers stay for years in the same theater and singing the same parts over and over again (at least in my days) But You can also develop your voice in different ways. Let’s say you are a soubrette and you like to develop more in a lyrical coloratura soprano. Because that’s very near to each other, then you don’t get the chance to do that in some houses. There are other houses, perhaps bigger houses where you get the chance to do so, but you need to be really careful with yourself and 1 Voice that fits between two categories. take everything in consideration; can I do that? Is my voice strong enough, is my body strong enough, do I have the stamina on the long run? Can I sing all this different parts? So it depends a lot on yourself, and your knowledge of the music, on your own voice, on the right support of your teacher. Otherwise those houses will exploit you.
Click here: Interview Marion van den Akker to read the complete interview
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