The Vision: The goal of the IRCPA is to be a hub that assists Canada’s musicians to achieve sustainable, fulfilling careers that meet or exceed their goals.
The Mission: The IRCPA’s mission is to connect individual musicians with one another, with artistic coaches, other professionals, and current leaders in the industry for knowledge exchange, coaching, and employment opportunities. By 2020, to establish and operate a physical Centre which, in time, will be self-sustaining, where artists can rehearse, audition, develop business practices, gain confidence and find support in their careers.
For the jazz trio or string quartet that feels stuck in its development and is keen to reach new audiences, the singer who has completed his or her training but isn’t clear on the next steps to take, the pianist looking to move beyond winning competitions – for all of these situations and more, the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists aims to help turn their potential into accomplishment and employment.
The IRCPA is emerging as a dedicated service organization for Canada’s musical artists, including instrumentalists, vocalists, conductors, collaborative pianists and composers in the fields of opera, classical, jazz, world and new music.
Under the direction of founder Ann Summers Dossena and a knowledgeable board of directors, since 1983 the IRCPA has been actively presenting Workshops and Encounters with Canadian and international employers, coaches and established experts to help artists gain confidence, find their place in the world’s markets, and become successful performers in their chosen fields.
These proven programs are now being updated and expanded. The board of directors is devoted to helping freelance emerging performers hone their skills and gain more knowledge of the industry in which they wish to develop their careers. The IRCPA is also pursuing a centre, where musicians can come together as a community, at various stages of their careers, to exchange ideas and challenges, and know they are not alone in their journey.
Summers Dossena observes, “It is the nature of the business that there is usually a gap between an artist’s graduation and first job. This happens not only because a newly graduated artist may not be prepared for the real world of auditions, performing and management, but also because orchestras, opera companies and concert presenters book two or even three years in advance. Keeping focused by exploring repertoire, learning languages, and gaining a basic knowledge of who’s who in the industry – how and why decisions are made – is vital during this period.
“The transition from student to professional can be daunting. Making one’s own decisions means solid information is needed. Encounters With Employers prepares the artist for auditions or performances, explores appropriate repertoire, answers questions or offers advice in a supportive, collegial environment.”
Artists participating in focus groups or roundtable discussions often suggest the hot topics they want to explore in workshops besides contracts or negotiation, representation, and professional wardrobe consultation. The IRCPA programs address these issues and more.
Such services can be available year-round, as requested, along with brainstorming, mentoring of soloists or groups, long-range and strategic planning, and “platform sharing” for promotional presentations by artists.
Spring and fall events feature Workshops on current hot topics, a Who’s Who in the Industry panel, and discussion on the state of the arts, as well as Encounters with international employers and coaches.
Collaborations with universities, music schools or study programs will allow the sharing of guest experts, for the benefit of both students and professionals.
Summers Dossena, who was honoured by the international arts industry in 2012 and again in 2014, retired from arts management in October 2013 after a distinguished, 55-year career in New York, Rome and Toronto. She has since devoted herself to the development of the IRCPA.
Workshops and Encounters have been supported by the Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils, Canada Council for the Arts, private donors and sponsors.
Over 35 years, the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists has enabled over 700 Canadian musicians – and others – to bridge the gap between school and career, and counselled them at various stages of their development for new employment opportunities.
In 1977, Ann Summers Dossena returned to her native city to transfer her artist management company from New York and Rome to Toronto. Having started in New York and still having an office in Rome, she discovered a critical gap: No matter how much training and how many honours that performers had received, they emerged from schools without knowing what they needed to get their first professional job and begin their actual career. The business of performing had generally evaded them. If an artist made his/her first audition (job interview) too early, it could be another two years or more before a company would consider hearing them again. Also, the resources they needed as young professionals were no longer available to them.
This need has always been particularly critical for singers, whose careers by their very nature are shorter than those of other performers. Are they choosing the right repertoire for their voice? Do they need help with language? Are they dressing appropriately for an audition and conveying the right mien for the role they are seeking? Do they know where their repertoire has a market and audience? (Italy is good for German repertoire, Germany good for Italian.)
Obtaining this information and experience most often required expensive travel to New York or Europe. Out of this need was born the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists, in 1983. It received charitable status in 1985.
Summers Dossena set out to bring the experts to Canada, mainly to Toronto. Using her New York and Rome connections, she brought in such experts as Metropolitan Opera coach Joan Dornemann and language authority Nico Castel, sopranos Regina Resnick and Renata Scotto, La Scala vocal coach Vincenzo Scalera and such directors as Colin Graham, Irving Guttman and Leon Major for what she called Encounters with Employers. The late internationally celebrated Canadian soprano Clarice Carson also advised on wardrobe.
The Encounters have been extended to include instrumentalists. On October 27, members of the New York-based Dorion Wind Quintet, in collaboration with Mooredale Concerts, will work with players or chamber ensembles, sharing the secrets of their successful 60-year career. (Summers Dossena had worked with the original members when the quintet first formed in 1958-59.) A panel will select a small number of players and ensembles to take part.
Workshops on such topics as Who’s Who in the Industry (management, employers, media, publicity, etc.), personal finance, creating and booking concerts, and advice for newcomers; round tables on timely topics, and one-on-one sessions are also part of the IRCPA’s contributions to Canada’s musicians. Panellists have included renowned figures from across Canada, the U.S. and even outside North America. This website, shares information relevant to musicians.
IRCPA STARTED WITH A EUROPEAN EVENT:
In 1982, Ann organized a festival devoted to Canadian music, architecture and culture, in L’Aquila, Italy. It featured the orchestra from London, Ontario, and choir from Ottawa, together with soloists Frances Ginzer, Patricia Kern, Mark Dubois and Christopher Cameron in Handel’s Messiah. Ruby Mercer of Opera Canada, Aviva Layton of Maclean`s, Kevin McMahon of the St. Catharines Standard, and music critics William Littler (Toronto Star), Eric McLean (Montreal Gazette) and Richard Newman (London Free Press) wrote about the strong impression the Canadians made. The festival also included a panel discussion with two of the critics, plus Opera Canada’s Ruby Mercer and singer/teacher Patricia Kern, on the training of singers in Canada.
Artists Left to Right: Patricia Kern, Frances Ginzer, Christopher Cameron, Mark Dubois, London Symphony Orchestra (ON), conductor: Brian Law, Ottawa Choral Society
The critics considered the event a turning point for Canadian culture in Europe! Short excerpts:
Richard Newman, London Free Press/Canadian Press/Associated Press: “Can you imagine the country of Caruso, Gigli and Pavarotti asking Canadians the secret of their singing?… After two presentations, attended by 4,000, and acclaimed in the Italian press, the Italian journalists asked for a news conference to find out what Canadian school of singing had been created to train such voices”
Eric McLean, Montreal Gazette: “Soloists, chorus, orchestra, conductor…everyone came in for praise in the Italian press. Critics had come from Rome and Milan, and Enrico Cavallotti of il tempo described it as ‘a Messiah that was exalted in its intimacy.’… Walter Tortoreto in Paese Sera was no less enthusiastic.’ …the first International Music Festival dedicated to Canada, a country that is emerging musically. It would be difficult to imagine a more successful opening. Close to 200 people – instrumentalists, vocalists, a symphony orchestra, a choir, dancers, and architects – were flown to Rome as guests of the Italian government….were the organizers really that interested in the musicians of Canada?… What guided the choice of artists and ensembles?… Although I did not find all the answers, I lost my scepticism, and I came away from the festival proud of the showing my compatriots had made.”
William Littler: “The Festival is over now, three weeks of concerts, panel discussions and exhibitions, devoted entirely to music and architecture in Canada. The sheer improbability of it all has only begun to sink in. The Festival represented the largest, most successful attempt ever launched to broaden Canada’s image culturally in the land of Michelangelo and Verdi…. As David Anido, Canada’s cultural attaché in the Rome embassy candidly admitted: ‘A huge amount of goodwill has been created through this festival. It has received coverage in the Italian newspapers far beyond its local audience. Actually, we didn’t do it. The embassy was only peripherally involved in L’Aquila. A Canadian impresario made it happen. Ann Summers has done something that has given credit to all of us as Canadians.’”
Kevin McMahon, St. Catharines Standard, describing an incident in L’Aquila: “The lady at the stamp counter was civil but bureaucratic until she saw the envelopes were addressed to Canada. Then she warmly gushed ‘Canadian?… with the orchestra? No? No matter – just to be a Canadian here right now is enough. It is to be an honored guest.’ ‘It’s a great honour for Canada,’ Brian Law (conductor of The Ottawa Choral Society) said. ‘The whole concept of devoting a three-week festival to Canadian art and culture is a real compliment to Canada.’ …There is a mix of people happening here and the Italians are giving their guests a genuine and warm welcome.”
Aviva Layton, Maclean’s: “As the cries of ‘Bis Bis’ rose from the boisterous Italian audience, singer Christopher Cameron was preparing for the worst. ‘I thought they were booing us. I was waiting for the tomatoes.’ The fears of the basso from Toronto proved to be unfounded. The chant is the Italian version of ‘encore’. The audience was simply going wild with enthusiasm over the performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Ottawa Choral Society, Orchestra London and four Canadian soloists. The musicians were grateful for the European exposure. ‘People back home take stock of you after this.’ enthused soprano Frances Ginzer. In return, the major newspapers in Rome were doling out rave reviews to the Canadian musicians. Canada, it seems, can deliver not only fish and chips, but truffles as well.”
Back in Canada, the success of this event, and the lack of resources for Canadian artists inspired Ann to form, with colleagues from the U.S. and Europe, the IRCPA the following year.
Among the earliest IRCPA supporters were two major figures in Canadian arts: contralto Maureen Forrester and respected arts journalist Arnold Edinborough.
In a 1983 letter supporting an arts council grant request, Forrester commended the IRCPA for its “excellent” seminar program, which she said “should prove of inestimable value to Canadian artists who are commencing their careers,” helping them learn the skills to perform well and build self-confidence.”
Similarly, Edinborough wrote, “The concept of the Centre is excellent. The transition from being a top student to being a successful professional is difficult enough. Getting up the professional ladder and making the right decisions about repertoire and the planning of a career is much more so.”
Some of Canada’s finest singers credit the IRCPA for guidance that proved invaluable in their careers. One of the best known is soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, who called her encounter with Joan Dornemann “a revelation!” adding, “Her expertise and energy inspired me very much and I can still recall the suggestions she made.” Regarding today’s young singers, she notes, “I am aware that many young singers now struggle to transition from their training years to working as a professional – this gap period as you called it. Frankly, the business seems much harder to crack nowadays. Finding an agent seems near impossible for many singers. It’s tough.”
Thirty years later, in 2013, Ann transferred the representation of artists and retired her management of 55 years to work fulltime as a volunteer for the IRCPA. She also presented Canada Day in Rome’s Accademia Filarmonica. Romana. It featured Canadian classical, jazz and world music, including Italian and European premieres of Canadian classical and world music, a discussion of the works of Glenn Gould by William Littler, a concert live streamed with the Borealis Quartet (Vancouver), violinist Guillaume Tardif (Edmonton), soprano Jana Miller (Montreal), pianist Jordan de Souza (Toronto), clarinetist Kornel Wolak (Toronto) and the Dominic Mancuso Group (Toronto). The artists were also showcased in Toronto, after their return.
In addition, the IRCPA’s programs have helped newcomer world musicians such as Nigerian singer-songwriter Sonia Oduwa Aimy and kamanche (Persian spiked fiddle) player Shahriyar Jamshidi, jazz artists, composers and many others. (Jamshidi was accepted in the Banff Artists’ Residency program in 2017.
35 Years later, Pieczonka will be giving back in the form of an Encounter for the next generation of singers on October 26. Eleven singers (10 plus one alternate) will be chosen by the IRCPA’s vocal advisory panel to work with her, and subsequently perform in a live broadcast from Zoomer Hall in the third edition of Singing Stars – The Next Generation at The New Classical FM, Monday, November 5. One of them will be selected by Ms. Pieczonka to receive the IRCPA’s Career Blueprint, three days of working at New York’s National Opera Center for new promotional materials, audio/video recordings, photos, feedback auditions and valuable mentoring.
Each singer will participate in the Encounter on a scholarship donated by private individuals in the name of a past or present Canadian opera star or another important person in our arts scene.
The previous two Singing Stars encounters were given by soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and baritone Brett Polegato. Soprano Natalya Gennadi, who was one of two singers chosen by Radvanovsky for the Career Blueprint in 2016, was catapulted into the title role of Tapestry Opera’s world premiere of the opera Oksana G in large part because of her work with the Metropolitan Opera star. Less than two years later, in 2018, she was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award! As she wrote to Ann Summers Dossena.
Good morning dear Ann, what a few days it’s been! I’m sure you’ve heard that I got nominated for the Dora Mavor Moore awards along with Jane Archibald, Simone Osborne and Sondra Radvanovsky herself! It feels surreal; it’s been not even two years since I sang for Sondra. I just wanted to thank you yet once again for everything that you do and for your support.
Natalya Gennadi and Marjorie Maltais, recipients of Career Blueprint Award. Ten Singing Stars: The Next Generation concert, at Alliance Francaise Toronto, 2016.
Other artists and their comments on how they were helped by the IRCPA include the following:
Soprano and teacher Mary Morrison: “Many years ago, I attended Joan Dornemann’s sessions as an observer. Her fabulous ears and acute musicianship have inspired some of our budding professional singers, and have certainly influenced my own teaching. I always encourage students to participate in any of her courses. How fortunate for singers to have this experience.”
Mezzo-soprano Jean Stilwell, famed for her title role in Carmen: “I learned a phenomenal amount from Joan (Dornemann). In fact, I think it is fair to say that Joan was the best coach with whom I ever worked.”
Tenor Colin Ainsworth: “The IRCPA has set up a fantastic venue for singers giving them opportunity to work with the best in the operatic profession…I had the chance to work with director Colin Graham, and it was a highlight in my development…. It is not often that singers have the opportunity to work with such great people and it’s thanks to this organization that we do.”
Wendy Solomon, Lush Quartet: “With the lack of business-oriented courses in most music schools, it’s a huge challenge for any musician to run a small ensemble. Thank goodness for Ann Summers Dossena and IRCPA to help along the way. After listening to Edna Landau’s seminar at the ‘Career Moves’ workshop in 2011, and a great session with Ann, I’m feeling much more confident that I can market my group. What a great resource!”
Other former participants over the years have included sopranos Isabel Bayrakdarian and Kathy Domoney (now a leading artist manager), mezzo Kimberley Barber, and pianist Rachel Andrist, who received an IRCPA scholarship to work with Joan Dornemann in the 1990s, In more recent years, IRCPA Encounters have welcomed Emily D’Angelo, Beth Hagerman, Beste Kalender, Clarence Frazer and Asitha Tennekoon, amongst others.
VIDEOS OF PAST PROJECTS ILLUSTRATE THE IRCPA’s VALUE, IMPACT & SUCCESS
PREMIER’S AWARD NOMINATION
Businessman Lawrence J. (Larry) Webb nominated the IRCPA for the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, writing (in part):
It is well documented that an active arts program in any community benefits all those in the community, not just those who follow the program.
And many of those in the arts sub-community have many hurdles to overcome including financial, physical, and personal. They must learn their craft and then move into the world of performance, all of which places great strains in the lives of many.
The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) was set up to address these very hurdles and to assist as many performing artists as possible in overcoming the hurdles, acquiring new knowledge from seasoned performers, and receiving coaching in the many and varied aspects of performance.
The Centre also puts performers in touch with one another for real life peer advice as well as with possible employers.
Without these services, each performer is pretty much on their own, adrift in a sea of uncertainty which many creative people are not so well equipped to manage.
And so back to my opening paragraph. IRCPA, by supporting the artists as it does, performs an essential service for the community as a whole as well as for the artists themselves.
ANN SUMMERS DOSSENA – RELATED CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS & HONOURS:
Ann Summers Dossena shares valuable career advice in her book Getting It All Together, published by Scarecrow Press in the U.S in 1985. The book is still available on Amazon.com, and in such places as York University and the Toronto Reference Library.
In 2011, she received the first Manager of the Year Award for Excellence as a Manager or Agent in the Performing Arts by NAPAMA – the North American Association of Performing Arts Managers and Agents.
In 2014, she became the first Canadian to receive the International Citation of Merit from the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA).
The Savvy Musician Workshop, 2016. Peter Scott, Arts admin; Margaret Lioi, CEO CMA; Faith Amour (jazz singer/song writer) and Robert Baird, (Crossing Borders author)
“..as a young artist who is constantly faced with the negatives of this industry to see someone who embodies all that is positive about this career path… I thank the IRCPA for this life changing experience.”
Naomi Eberhard, soprano, Ottawa
“Feeling grateful and inspired! It was incredibly inspiring to work with Sondra and to watch her work with other participants. Thank you to the Mary Morrison scholarship for sponsoring my participation. What a wonderful day of music making!”
Caitlin Wood, soprano, Toronto
“… In this busy audition season, when we have so many expenses, the timing was ideal. I had to travel for auditions and I would not have been able to afford the extra voice lesson. The Encounter gave me tools to feel more confident and have strong auditions. Thank you also for the career blueprint in New York City. Headshots, recordings, and consultations are very expensive but very important and it puts me at ease to know that these will be covered for the audition season.”
Marjorie Maltais, Mezzo-Soprano
“Congratulations on yet another fantastic IRCPA event. You continue to inspire with the depth of presenter and participant that you are able to track. And I thank you for the honor of introducing Margaret Lioi. She is magnificent.
I am so sorry that I have to run out before the program ended… I feel privileged to be able to work with you and to be in your circles. I also want to express my appreciation for your recognition of the First Nations in your opening remarks.”
Ron Davis, Jazz-Pianist, SymphRonica
“Attending the Savvy Musician workshop organized by the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists was an eye opening experience to the level of professional expertise and strategy needed as a young artist. I found myself taken aback at how much I have yet to encounter professionally in our diverse performance industry.
As a self employed artist, I have been trained to a high level of skill, artistic expression and professionalism. Unfortunately, myself and many of my colleagues find ourselves ill equipped to navigate the business territory of the performance industry. There is a lack of business education becoming more and more evident in an increasingly freelance and project-based market. Successfully building a career without a formal employer laying out a trajectory has become daunting to today’s musicians.
The focus and intention of the IRCPA could not be better aligned with the needs of graduating young professionals in North America. Within their November workshop alone, guest speakers highlighted creative business strategy, multiple/passive revenue streams, financial planning and engaging audiences. There were new topics introduced such as travel permits, timelines for tours and guidelines for easy border crossings.
The opportunity to meet respected professionals face to face made new learning curves much more approachable, particularly as we were encouraged to ask questions through the discussions. Not only were IRCPA representatives present, but also leaders from Chamber Music America, Baird Artists Managements, current performance groups and respected arts entrepreneurship author David Cutler.
IRCPA’s work is definitely helping my confidence as a professional Canadian artist. In this coming year, several new partnerships and opportunities are directly traceable to their generous work within the performance community.
I will certainly continue participating in their initiatives and hope to support their growing role as a resource to performers. In my opinion they hold a unique role of immense value to Canadian musicians. I am very much looking forward to the next event!”
Amelia Sheils, French Horn Player
“I was honoured to be a part of the event, and glad to be able to be able to help on that day.
The Savvy Musician workshop was fantastic. The author and workshop leader David Cutler was very knowledgeable, having been in our position – an independent musician in a new era of music and a changing industry. He walked us through a very important concept, the idea that you don’t have to expect to only do one thing to make your livelihood – multiple streams of income – passive and active – can and should be used to create a real life. The artist doesn’t need to be ‘struggling’ if he uses all his talents!
The fact that we were able to get such concrete and helpful information right here in our own city at an affordable price is one of the things I appreciate most about the IRCPA. Access to individuals like Robert Baird, leaders in Chamber Music America, and other major arts organizations would be just impossible without the IRCPA. I had so many pressing questions answered just that day, and then in the relationships that I formed with those leaders and with other like-minded artists I met that day. Artists are privileged to have such a wonderful resource in the IRCPA! I only hope it will grow and be able to provide more programming – bring it on!”
Faith Amour, Jazz Singer-Songwriter – Volunteer
— Karina Bray , Soprano
I would like to thank the IRCPA so very much for an amazing Encounter with Sondra Radvanovsky. It meant a lot to me to listen and to learn from a professional, while re-enforcing the importance of technique and interpretation. As you know, when studying music it is not a set time from September to April or even to June. It is year round, every day and every minute. The IRCPA offers so much to us young professionals and gives the opportunity for us to continue to learn and grow our passion. I can not thank you enough for these opportunities and am very much looking forward to the next event!
— Marjorie Malais, Mezzo Soprano
I am currently in New York for a few auditions… I opened both my auditions with ‘Non più mesta’ and used Sondra’s suggestions and I must say that I felt strong and confident. Thanks to you and Sondra!
— Danielle MacMillan, Mezzo Soprano
Thank you again so very much for this incredible opportunity; I am so very grateful to have had the honor of working with Sondra; who is a 21st century Golden Age Great! I learned so much, not only from my time with her but also from observing everyone else she worked with. I don’t think this would’ve been possible without the generous sponsorship; I myself wouldn’t have been able to afford it had it not been for the scholarship in Maureen Forrester’s name. It is organizations such as IRCPA that continue to make these dreams come true by continuing to learn and grow from those who had been in our young artist shoes at one time. I can’t thank you enough and I’m very much looking forward to the Singing Stars of Tomorrow concert.
— Jessica Scarlato, Soprano
I would like to once again thank the IRCPA for organizing such an incredible opportunity for us aspiring singers; Having the opportunity to work with Sondra Radvanovsky, a world class opera star, is something that I could have only imagined in my dreams and is an experience I will never forget. I left the Encounter this afternoon feeling inspired, motivated and eager to get to work in the practice room. Above all, the amount of information and knowledge I gained from today’s Encounter is quite frankly immeasurable; The technical advice I got from Sondra while working with her was literally priceless.
Sondra said that it is her duty to give back to the art form and pass along the torch to the next generation of opera singers. I, too, hope that I could one day do the same.
— Caitlin Wood, Soprano
Feeling grateful and inspired! I am so thankful for the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) for creating today’s Encounter with Sondra Radvanovsky. This world class singer was unbelievably gracious as she shared her knowledge. It was incredibly inspiring to work with her and watch her work with all of the other talented participants. Thank you to the Mary Morrison scholarship for sponsoring my participation. What a wonderful day of music making!
— Naomi Eberhard, Soprano
I am back in Ottawa from my time in Toronto and wanted to write and thank the IRCPA immensely for the opportunity to work with Sondra on Wednesday. It was a once in a life time occurrence and I am beyond grateful.
What this experience brought to me specifically was the chance to work with a beautiful artist, who knows her instrument inside and out, has the world’s largest stages on her résumé and yet maintains a gracious humility. It is refreshing as a young artist who is constantly faced with the negatives of this industry to see someone who embodies all that is positive about this career path. She also maintains the foundations of what has made this art form indelible for centuries. It was so encouraging to see her uphold the teachings of the great singers and teachers of the past, and to remind us of them through specific one-on-one, hands on practice. So often this industry can be filled with confusion and far too many opinions and Sondra demonstrated that sticking to the enduring backbone of “old school” vocal technique is a clear path to success. What a champion of the stage and for the young artist you have brought to us; I feel extremely blessed to have been given this opportunity and I thank the IRCPA from the bottom of my heart for this life changing experience.
Thank you for being such a strong advocate for young singers, we would be lost without people like you!
— Professor at Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, USA
“I teach a Masters Degree…Your website provides valuable insight into the needs of performers on a variety of levels of educational and professional development. I imagine that the variety of workshops offered by the IRCPA have greatly enhanced the careers of many artists wise enough to take advantage of your many services…we will continue to make use of your remarkable resources…Thank you for all that your organization does for all of us.”
Received MAY 20, 2016.
— Well known opera coach and collaborative pianist
Hired to perform for workshop in 2015 is not available in November, recently wrote:
“Wow – that sounds like a wonderful program that you have planned and I would have loved to be part of it. However, I’m already contracted for an opera festival in Peru from September 15 until October 28 or 29. Please keep up everything you’re doing. The singers in Canada need what you are doing and I appreciate all the efforts that you, through IRCPA, are making. Many best wishes to you – and I hope we can reconnect in a time when my schedule is free.”
Received June 11, 2016
— Colin Ainsworth
“The IRCPA has set up a fantastic venue for singers giving them opportunity to work with the best in the operatic profession, providing excellent teaching and guidance. I had the chance to work with director Colin Graham, and it was a highlight in my development, I learned so much from him in my session. It is not often that singers have the opportunity to work with such great people and it’s thanks to this organization that we do.”
— Julie Rahn
“Here are my impressions:
- helpful, necessary, practical
- relaxed atmosphere
- honest discussion
- music jargon defined e.g. directories, presenters, showcases
Thank-you, Ann, for the 5-part wardrobe outline for the classical (Baroque) singer. Not being a clothes horse, I felt overwhelmed at the time. But have recovered enough now to start tackling this issue.
Robert Baird’s … focus – “the business of music” – was the jolt I needed to catapult me out of the “student” mindset I’ve had the last couple of years.
Since the workshop, I’ve been able to find information, etc to help kick start the process (slowly but surely) of business planning.
The price for the day and the lunch were very reasonable and should not deter anyone from attending.
Lunch by Paintbox Bistro was good. My first time at the “revised” Regent Park development.
Thanks for all your hard work, effort and vision, Ann.
Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”
— Sonia Oduwa Aimy
As a newcomer to Canada working in the re-branding of my music for North America, I must confess the International Resource Center for Performing Arts is one of the most resourceful workshops I have ever participated since my stay in the country.
I found all the content discussed very relevant and helpful for the development of my career in North America.
The experts in the industry gave very insightful information while the cozy atmosphere made it possible to mingle and discuss with people in the area of my work.
All my questions regarding to securing booking agent in Canada, marketing and the importance of re-branding were all answered.
Most importantly, IRCPA connected me easily to professionals who are now playing key roles in the whole process for my re-branding and for sourcing a booking agent.
Another important aspect of this seminar I appreciated so much is the amount of inspiration it brings by seeing the passion invested by Ann Summers both for putting the events together and also for keeping in touch with artists including me to make sure I am following up my goals and also continuously making contributions.
I would really love to see this continue and willing to contribute what ever area I may fit.
If I may suggest, I would love to see a topic in the future that caters for new immigrant artists in my situation on how to navigate this whole process of integration and the arts facilities in the city.
I truly hope this my humble feedback add up to many other voices.
Wishing you all the best in your future events.
— Yasmina Proveyer, Manager, MDA Prod.
In early April this year I was fortunate to attend the workshop series organized by the International Resource Centre for Performing Arts (IRCPA) in Toronto.
My artist practice, is in Arts Management…. the last three years I administered the career of the Cuban-born pianist based in Ottawa: Miguel de Armas, as a solo artist, as well as his music group: the MDA Latin Jazz Quartet, and other musicians in the National Capital Region.
I very much enjoy my work, but I feel that I lack support breaking into the Canadian and North American Music Industry.
During the RCPA workshops, I had the opportunity to hear what is essential for a professional performing artist to have a successful career. The discussion,in a round table setting included three different points of views: from an agent, an established artist and a manager. The session was very inclusive where –as part of the audience- I was able to share my story and listen to other’s experiences.
… a keynote speaker delivered an inspiring presentation about how to insert yourself – as an artist – in today’s music ecosystem. I was able to identify myself with most of the points he made and the motivations I am driven by. …the day was very informative about the strategies that lead to enhanced access and markets.
This educational weekend was very helpful and so far the most fulfilling career development activity. I met and developed relationships with several professionals in the industry. These sessions helped me to understand better how things work in this sector and to emphasize the importance of having a mentor. For this reason I am nurturing a relationship with the leader of this organization, Ann Summers Dossena, who is guiding me to achieve my artistic goals and to better build the path to developing my full potential in the music management industry.
— Wendy Solomon, Lush Quartet
“We’ve had fantastic audience reaction and I really feel that LUSH should succeed, but I’m searching for guidance.
I admire greatly what you’ve done for the music industry and was hoping I could meet with you. Thanks for your time.
With the lack of business-oriented courses in most Music Schools, it’s a huge challenge for any musician to run a small ensemble. Thank goodness for Ann Summers Dossena and IRCPA to help along the way. After listening to Edna Landau’s seminar at the ‘Career Moves’ workshop in 2011, and a great session with Ann, I’m feeling much more confident that I can market my group. What a great resource!”
— Andrea Tyniec
” I wanted to ask you if you would be interested in meeting me to talk about some possible steps to take in my career. At this point in my musical path, I am working diligently towards creating my first solo recording and juggling the managing of my career on my own, the funding of every step of my project, and the preparing for my performances. I’ve been a soloist for more than 10 years and have a great passion for performing, for creating connection with audiences and for new Canadian works. Right now, what I need the most is the guidance of a mentor, and in my heart I thought of you, especially because of the optimism and enthusiasm you transmitted to us all.“
— Adrianne Pieczonka
“Greetings from Vienna. As a young singer aspiring to become an opera singer, I had the good fortune to benefit from the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists. I participated in a masterclass (Encounter) given by Joan Dornemann which was a revelation! Her expertise and energy inspired me very much and I can still recall the suggestions she made.”
— Jean MacPhail
“I was fortunate enough to attend a Master Class (Encounter) with Joan. I was so impressed with her depth of knowledge of the Italian repertoire, language, history of language and culture. The experience was entertaining as well as informative. Her experience and dedication to the Operatic Literature is more than impressive.”
— Jean Stilwell
“I learned a phenomenal amount from Joan. In fact I think it is fair to say that Joan was thebest coach with whom I ever worked.”
— Mary Morrison
“Many years ago, I attended Joan Dornemann’s sessions as an observer. Her fabulous ears and acute musicianship have inspired some of our budding professional singers, and have certainly influenced my own teaching. I always encourage students to participate in any of her courses. How fortunate for singers to have this experience.”
— Lee Jameson, bass baritone
“The Centre’s session were a turning point for me in many ways… they put me on the right path in several aspects for which I’m most grateful. I completed my B.Mus and performed in Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto. I have this year been part of the International tour of “Phantom” in Singapore and Hong Kong. This steady work has certainly helped me pay my education-related debts. Thank you for your attention, for your hard work and for bringing Joan Dornemann to Vancouver.”
— Hugh Russell, Baritone
“I would like to thank you for your recommendation that I audition for Bramwell Tovey. Due to that audition, I now have my first contract.”
— Jeanne Baxtresser, Flutist
“I find myself frustrated with the unfortunate lack of time to devote to the business aspects of a musical career, as well as long-range career planning. Unfortunately, these subjects of such vital importance are not covered in the university curriculum nor are they to my knowledge available anywhere else. The program is a fascinating study that would successfully fill out the education of our young professionals and make it complete on all levels.”
— Gail Harrison, York Arts Coordinator
“My most sincere thanks for accepting Adam Brazier into your “Encounter with Employers” with Leon Major. This was a wonderful opportunity for Adam to receive some professional coaching and to experience a small part of the real “professional arts” world. Also, Adam mentioned to me that he very much appreciated the sessions on how to write a biography and the panel discussion. I hope these “Encounters” will continue and that future arts students from Unionville High School may be included.
— Anita Noel, Waterloo
“How time-effective it was for me as “Chairman of the Board” to simply pass on Ms. Summers’ book to my VP/spouse in answer to his innocent questions, “So what did you talk about today? I’ve also found it an excellent resource (good notes or no) for reminding me of what I was sure I would not forget.”
— Catherine Fitch, Toronto
“The world of management and career development, with its various terms, agreements, understandings and arrangements, does not have to be confusing or overwhelming as is sometimes the case. The Management Workshop gave tremendous insight and so much practical advice to support and encourage young performers. It affirmed, for me, much of what I have recently encountered in many situations with which I have had to be involved regarding hold agreements, personal contacts and contracts. It will all seem infinitely easier with which to deal as a result of your clear and direct explanations. Thank you for providing such insight and opportunity right here in Toronto.“
— Janet Dea
“I would like you to know how much I enjoyed the Joan Dornemann encounter and the management seminar you gave with Richard Adams. Not only did I learn valuable information, but it was a good opportunity for me to be heard by people in Toronto… Another important aspect of your encounters which I had not anticipated was my being able to expand my network of singer/friends. Meeting and getting to know other singers who are at the beginning of their careers has been another good source of information and perhaps just as important, friendship. This week I am auditioning for conductors and artistic directors and will return to Edmonton to prepare for my trip to Graz. Thanks again for helping to make my Toronto trip a successful one.”
— Helen Murray, Accompanist
“For young artists on the verge of becoming professionals, and for teachers, coaches and senior students, many insights are offered, and the contact with people at the top of the profession is inspiring.”
— Susan Hoeppner, Flutist
“I would like to tell you how much I enjoyed the Jeanne Baxtresser Encounter. I respect her teaching and her thorough approach to music. I feltI learned a lot and was totally inspired. Thank you very much for this opportunity. I hope there are many more in the future.”
What is the IRCPA?
The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists is a dedicated service organization for Musical Artists. It was incorporated in 1985 to support freelance performers in the music field to make the transition from student to professional and to assist them to reach their goals at various stages in their careers.
How do Encounters with Employers presented by the IRCPA differ from masterclasses given at universities or schools?
Masterclasses are in study programs. The Encounters with Employers emulate the professional workings of an engagement in a theatre. The artists perform once each day as they would in rehearsal. The second day allows the employer to see which artists were able to quickly integrate their new information, as is required on the job.
“I enjoyed the class so much. Please keep me informed. Again thank you so so much.
PS. I would like to borrow your word if I may. I’ve been thinking over that wonderful word encounters and if I may I would like to use it for our program because it’s not all about classes as you said thanks again much love Joan.”
– Joan Dornemann
Why do artists have such a gap between time of graduation and entry into performing?
Presenting organizations (employers) book artists at least two years in advance. Opera companies sometimes more.
Why do artists have the expense of $95 average for job interviews?
This is the cost in Toronto, to give an audition, hiring an accompanist and renting a space. If the job interview is in another city, travel, hotel and accompanist must also be counted in the expense, without any guarantee of getting the job.
Why does the IRCPA bring employers to Toronto instead of awarding grants to individual artists?
We feel that by bringing employers and artistic directors to Canada, we can help 14 artists over a two day session, In the case of Opera Week, we are able to help 28 singers, thereby saving a great deal of money for the artists and providing appropriate introductions to employers in a nurturing environment.
Do all the artists in the Encounters with Employers develop careers?
Many do and many make important career decisions.
Singers we have tracked include Adrianne Pieczonka, Isabelle Bayrakdarian, Measha Bruggergosman, Colin Ainsworth, Jean Stilwell, Kimberly Barber as well actor Adam Brazier, Flutist Susan Hoeppner to name a few. We’ve also helped accompanists, coaches and instrumentalists.
What does international exposure of its artists mean to Canada?
Stewart Wheeler, Canada’s ambassador to Iceland declared the Toronto Symphony as “the real ambassador” on their recent tour. This was echoed by his counterpart Andre Noelle Cooligan, Canada’s ambassador to Finland “tours like this are extremely important…we build on our image. Being associated with quality is important to our ability to sell our products.
William Litter, The Toronto Star, Saturday, August 30, 2014
What does international exposure mean to Canada’s artists?
“Conductor Oundjian regards this achievement as a dramatic turnaround and the beginning of ‘a new era’ for his orchestra.”
William Littler, The Toronto Star, Saturday, August 30, 2014
Who are the employers participating in the Encounters with Employers in Toronto?
Some of the employers include: Joan Dornemann, Nico Castel and Edoardo Muller of the Metropolitan Opera; Mark Hastings, Teatro San Carlo, Naples; Vincenzo Scalera from Teatro alla Scala; Martin Isepp, Glyndebourne Opera, UK; Leon Major, Colin Graham, St. Louis Opera; Irving Guttman, Vancouver Opera; Opera Stars Regina Resnick, Shirley Verrett and Renata Scotto; and Flutist Jeannie Baxstresser, New York Philharmonic; to name a few.
How do artists obtain mentoring services?
Mentoring services are available upon request.
“With the lack of business-oriented courses in most Music Schools, it’s a huge challenge for any musician to run a small ensemble. Thank goodness for Ann Summers Dossena and IRCPA to help along the way.
“Thank you so much for spending the afternoon with me. It was such a pleasure and I am so happy with all the help and guidance you have given me.”
How will the Community Hub for Musicians be funded?
The ircpa needs benefactors to join together in creating the centre for musicians and music organizations in the City of Toronto where 90% of performers are located. Two examples of what is needed are the National Opera America Center and the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, both in New York. Once established, the Centre in Toronto is expected, in time, to become self-sustaining with income generated by rental of facilities, fees per service, a cafe and retail shop. Memorabilia of iconic Canadian artists can be purchased by the general public and tourists, promoting public awareness of our artists Past and Present.