BLOW THE WIND SOUTHERLY – song recital
(Homage to our beloved Kathleen Ferrier who died 70 years ago next year)
Songs & aria’s by Gluck, Händel, Bach, Schumann, Mahler and Britten
with Jeroen Sarphatie piano
12 maart 2023 Drentmeester in de Rian de Waal zaal
18 maart 2023 Kapel concert Hilversum
bookings: Witmer Music Services
LES NUITS D’ÉTÉ HECTOR BERLIOZ, 14 mei 2023 met het Haydn Jeugd Orkest
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
For further information, see: Listen
Marion van den Akker has a wonderful reputation as an artistic director and advisor for festivals, stages and competitions where she also served as a jury member, among these the Prince Bernhard Cultural Foundation, the Peter the Great Festival, the Nazomer Music Festival and the renowned International Vocal Competition ‘s-Hertogenbosch. In 1994, together with Rian de Waal, she founded the Rhijnauwen Chamber Music Festival in Bunnik, later in 2005, the series Royaal Vocaal in The Hague. Press and public acclaim is ongoing for the Klassiekintveen Foundation, the farmhouse annex concert hall where in its famed acoustics, van den Akker programs concerts.
For actual example of artistic direction see www.klassiekintveen.nl
Some singing information
After a wonderful, 40 year career of singing all possible disciplines including opera, lied and oratorio as well as the great adventure of contemporary music, having found my own voice and discovered all the possibilities it presents, I feel the need to coach classical singers more and more.
I work in a manner I have developed myself, ultimately extremely rewarding: clearly traditional in the use of the vocal cords, position of the vocal box, treatment of vowels, respiration, vibration and resonance, legato, phrasing and flexibility of the voice, an open throat, passaggio, tongue position, support and breath control.
Mezzo-soprano Marion van den Akker is a multifaceted artist. She gave master classes on the songs of Schumann, Liszt, Strauss Brahms and lectures on the oeuvre of the Canadian composer Claude Vivier and the Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina.
Marion van den Akker founded the series ‘Royaal Vocaal’ in 2005 in the Nieuwe Kerk (The Hague).
She is a singing teacher and performer.
Marion van den Akker is programmer of the Chamber music series ‘Klassiekintveen’ at the concert farm d’Rentmeester
Marion van den Akker was head of the vocal department and vocal teacher at the Prins Claus conservatorium until September 2015. Recently Marion van den Akker has a private vocal school together with her accompanists Dr. Willem Kersing, Ben Martin Weijand en Jeroen Sarphati.
Testimonials vocal coaching 2022
Ingeborg Bröcheler (alt mezzo)
To me, working with Marion is a tremendous joy. She’s detailed in her technique and constant in her approach, which makes it easy to continue building on the progress already made. She always aims for a free and healthy voice, that -on top of that- is truly inspired by the music and by ones soul. She taught me how to control my instrument in such a manner, that the sound of my voice can now reflect the sound of the music I hear in my head – and that is (blissful) freedom.
Palle Fuhr Jøgenson(bas bariton)
Na een zeer moeilijke periode tijdens corona en de demotivatie van alle geannuleerde concerten heeft Marion mijn stem weer goed op de rails gebracht en me weer weten te motiveren om te studeren en mijn techniek op te schroeven na 39 jaar carrière in het Groot Omroep Koor. Ik ben haar daar zeer dankbaar voor en we hebben veel gelachen en leuke lessen gehad samen, dankjewel Marion.
Tiemo Wang (bas bariton)
For a couple of years now I have been working with Marion van den Akker. She really helped me a lot: making my voice a lot stronger, with a more consistent sound and adding more height to it as well. I have therefore been able to expand my repertoire considerably, with pieces such as Mahler’s ‘Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’ and Moussorgski’s ‘Songs and Dances of Death’.
Marion van den Akker is a highly experienced vocal teacher. She has got very good ears and great technical knowledge of voices and classical singing. Also, her sharp observational and analytical skills lead her to relentlessly look for solutions, improving on seemingly minor details that make a world of difference in the end. Personally, this style of working speaks to me a lot; it resembles my own way of working, both as a singer and violinist.
As a teacher, Marion is very involved and supportive, with an unfailing optimistic energy. At the same time, you can trust her to always be honest and straightforward, which I like very much for in the end it will serve you most in achieving your goals.
Sven Weyens (bas bariton)
Maybe the most important I would like to say about Marion as a coach for singers is; all the things she taught me, whether they are musical or technical advices, they practically make singing work on stage, even under high pressure. It is seldom that I feel nervous about repertoire I worked with Marion van den Akker.
Gert-Jan Alders ( basso profundo)
As a colleague of Marion, I have some vocal coaching from her, which I experience in a way that is just as enthusiastic as it is thorough. Clearly and directly to the cause of imperfections, with immediate effect. If something is technically good, there is also room for appreciation for each other’s musical views. I have a very good feeling about this.
Uros Petrac (tenor)
Marion is one of the first vocal coaches I have experienced who immerses herself in your voice, ensures continuity in my voice development and works without any pressure.
She makes my voice sound in a natural way and is always looking for a natural flow of breath. She likes to ask for my opinion and feeling during the coaching, which gives me the impression of total cooperation. Since working with Marion I have built up a lot of confidence and experience a constant growth as a singer. I have great appreciation for Marion, she is sweet, attentive and I hope for a long-term cooperation.
Marcel Schouten (tenor)
Marion has a meticulous ear for technique and technical issues. Her broad experience both as a singer and in teaching enables her to focus on the right aspect to work on at the right time. Doing so she is not bound to a certain theory and there is no signature sound in her pupils; she improves a specific singer as he or she is to reach his or her potential. Marion is supportive and critical at the same time. Being an alt-mezzo herself she does not shrug away from passaggio issues which can of course be very useful for us tenors. She has enabled me to perform Tamino in my late twenties, now my forties have begun we can work on other repertoire. Working with Marion in singing technique and expression is and has always been a joy for me and I hope we can continue working and improving from now on.
Roelien van Wageningen (alt-mezzo)
Working with Marion is a great search for what suits you. It is a coach that really focuses on your voice. It’s about the profession and the enormous pleasure in singing. In addition, you also have fun in class and she is very committed to you. It’s really nice to have Marion as a coach.
Esther Maas (alt-mezzo)
I have been taking lessons with Marion for some time now. After a very long absence from classical music, I thought it was time to get the technique right. Not easy after singing different music all this time. But Marion got me back on track in no time.
Her strength is not only her immense experience and musicianship but also her endless patience and never stopping until you get it.
A source of inspiration and knowledge!
Marina Besselink (soprano)
Marion always teaches me to build on the development of my voice with focus, love and patience. In my turbulent life she always knows how to give me what I need in the coaching sessions. She has a keen ear and eye for what needs to be worked on. Besides that she works with me on the vocal technical aspect of my voice with precision, knowledge and skill in a thorough structure, I learn so much more from her about singing. Attention is always paid to the musical and personal part of making music. Her professionalism, musicianship, discipline and rich experience as a singer and educator is a great inspiration to me.
She taught me with respect and compassion how to stay close to myself as an artist without losing myself. When I come out of a coaching session with Marion, I always feel that more is possible.
Laura Bohn (soprano)
I remember the first question she asked me was “Do you love your voice?” and this was really remarkable to me – no teacher had ever asked me such a question, and honestly, self love and gentle care of my voice was not what I had been taught by classical teachers in the past. Not only is Marion tuned into this self-respect for the voice and the individual in singing, she is also a fierce technician with a finely tuned ear and dedication to precision and excellence. I feel more connected to my speaking voice than ever in my classical repertoire after working with her for this past year. laurabohn.com
Esther Kuiper (mezzo-soprano)
These days, when focus and patience seem to be scarce, also in the field of vocal studies, Marion takes a difference by digging deep, helping me to find my path to freedom of vocal and artistic expression.
She teaches me how to do the necessary vocal and artistic work and be patient, trusting that real quality will always stand out! She knows exactly how to help build a voice and give you the information and tools how to train your instrument in such a defined and detailed way, that I never experienced with any other teacher before. She never looses the big picture and adapts her teaching to the particular person she is working with. I feel truly blessed to have met Marion and to be able to work with her. estherkuiper.nl
‘Singing is my destiny, my lot; it is my great passion, an obsession, you might say. If I haven’t sung for a week, my personality loses it’s sparkle. To sing is a necessity, it is my life. I was born with it. It is a self-centered profession.
Though I have followed various courses and master classes, ‘the essential thing’ was to find my own sense of truth. Finding what is characteristically me! Being able to find and imagine the sound you wish to hear. The influences of others I integrate into my own truth. Besides my concerts with orchestras and my operatic roles, I am devoted to chamber music. When singing “lieder”, accompanied either by piano or and ensemble, I feel most true to myself and the composer. Here the beauty of the music is often determined by the art of “leaving out” or omission. I often feel this very strongly when I am singing Mahler: when I achieve the precise emotion, then I need add nothing beyond this – it is a ‘given’, it just happens.
I always wanted to be on stage, loved to be occupied with things musical. According to my mother, even at the age of two I was singing along with the radio. I became a member of musical society but to my regret, I was only given boys’ roles. Perhaps that was because I had a rather low voice or because I was so independant. A tree-climber, that’s me, though I dreamt of playing the role of the princess”.