Canadian collaborative pianist Amanda Johnston is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Mississippi where she acts as Music Director/Vocal Coach for the Opera Theatre; teaches courses in advanced diction and collaborative piano; and coaches students at the undergraduate and graduate level. She is also on faculty at Music Theater Bavaria (Oberaudorf, Germany) and Druid City Opera Workshop (Tuscaloosa, AL). She is author of English and German Diction for Singers: A Comparative Approach (Scarecrow Press, 2011), a book highly praised in the Journal of Singing for “enlivening the study of diction”. In 2012, she released her debut CD with MSR Classics entitled Mahler: Rückert-Lieder in collaboration with Julia Morgan (mezzo-soprano).
Her research on comparative diction and lesser-known composers of German lied has been presented at national conferences held by the College Music Society (CMS), National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), National Opera Association (NOA), The Phenomenon of Singing International Symposium (Canada), and Song Collaborators Consortia (SCC). She has also given master classes in voice and/or collaborative piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music, University of South Dakota, Queen’s University, Harding University, and University of Nevada Las Vegas. Previous faculty appointments were held at the University of Toronto, Royal Conservatory of Music, York University, Taos Opera Institute, and Lied Austria (Leibnitz).
She has received prestigious grants from both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council to work with masters in the field of collaborative piano, most notably Malcolm Martineau, Rudolf Jansen, Martin Isepp, Dalton Baldwin, Elly Ameling, Wolfgang Holzmair, and Helmut Deutsch. Further professional development has included attending the Franz-Schubert-Institut (Baden bei Wien, Austria), Académie Francis Poulenc (Tours), Académie internationale d’Été (Nice), Oxenfoord International Summer School (St. Andrews, Scotland), and the Aspen Music Festival.
Amanda Johnston has been broadcast on CBC Radio 2, Classical 96.3 FM, CKWR, and NPR and has performed in Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Austria, and Scotland. Her language proficiency includes English and German (native fluency), French and Italian (high facility), as well as Spanish, Czech, and Russian (phonetic proficiency). She was educated at Queen’s University, the Hochschule für Musik “Franz Liszt” Weimar (Germany), and the Janáček Academy of Music (Brno, Czech Republic). For more information please visit www.amandajohnston.ca.
Often underestimated, lyric diction is a portal to powerful performance. It is through lyric diction that singers are able to communicate the wishes and desires of the poet, as well as the composer. Far beyond memorizing the rules of pronunciation, the study of diction involves learning to perceive speech patterns in different languages, practicing their precise articulation, recognizing this in one’s own speech and singing, as well as in that of others, and developing an awareness of the refined, delicate movements of the articulators and their subsequent effect on singing tone.
Amanda Johnston takes a modernized approach to the study of lyric diction in English and German Diction for Singers. Utilizing the latest adaptation of the Neue Rechtschreibung (2009), Johnston makes German increasingly accessible through the recognition that English and German are related languages, and thus have many things in common with regard to lyric diction. This comprehensive resource includes a thorough analysis of the German and English languages, as well as lists, tables, charts, musical examples, and even tongue twisters. Specific topics addressed include the German schwa, the use of the curly-tail J in German, the treatment of R in both languages, and the correct formation of the elusive open U and the extended Epsilon.
Lyric diction is a mandatory subject area for all prospective opera singers and music students enrolled in an academic institution. This book is designed for both undergraduate and graduate courses in German and English lyric diction and is an invaluable resource for classical singers, vocal coaches, and voice teachers alike.
“author’s skill in enlivening the study of diction” (Journal of Singing)
“exhibits a command of the English language tha rivals her skills as a diction coach” (Journal of Singing)
“a tailor-made text” (Journal of Singing)