Kashu-do Vienna Summer Session


Kashu-do Vienna|Summer Session

26 July-3 August 2019

Kashu-do Opera Studios organizes several masterclasses throughout the year in idyllic settings that inspire the singer artistically and humanistically leading to technical and musical development.

For the first time, the Kashu-do Summer Session will take place in Vienna – Europe´s musical capital, and bring together the core team of Kashu-Do teachers.

The course duration is 8 days (1st block – July 26th-July 29th, rest day on July 30th, 2nd block July 31st-Aug. 3rd)

Program Content

The program includes:

      • 2 daily voice lessons with our faculty teachers
      • daily coaching with a pianist
      • daily Tai Chi class
      • evening masterclasses with the faculty members
      • phonetics/language seminar and individual language coachings
    • final concert in the Ehrbarsaal, one of Vienna´s historic concert venues

Voice lessons and coaching sessions are 45 minutes each – participants receive over 16 hours of personal contact hours plus masterclasses, language coaching sessions and Tai Chi.

Program Location

The course takes place at the Prayner Conservatory in Vienna – in two locations. Participants will receive a class schedule, location description and map upon arrival.

Travel, Room, and Board

Participants are responsible for their own travel, food and lodging. Both course locations are very central and close to each other, and there are plenty of accommodation possibilities (hotels, hostels, Airbnb) within walking distance. For any questions or suggestions please contact Ekaterina via  ekaterina.nokkert@gmail.com.

Participants should plan to arrive on July 25th. There will be a welcome meeting including a sing-through for the faculty and students in the evening on the 25th, before the course starts in the morning of the 26th.

Program Costs

The course costs $1350.00 (Approximately €1200), which must be paid in two installments: $550 with the registration and $800.00 no later than 10 days after acceptance into the program.

Accepted payment options:

  • All major credit cards
  • Bank Transfer (SEPA)

How the Kashu-Do Experience Works

Every course day starts with a session of Tai Chi, from 9:00-9:50.

Then from 10:00 until 13:00, singers receive their first voice lesson with one of the teachers or a coaching with a pianist.

After lunch, the same repeats from 14:00-18:00 with the second block of voice lessons and coachings.

In the evenings, from 18:15-21:00 the masterclasses take place. Some of the masterclasses will be taught by several faculty members together – our philosophy is one of inclusion.  We believe every teacher has great things to share with their students. Our teachers agree on the empirical facts about vocal function and our goals are generally the same.  But we have different approaches, of course.  We think this is a plus.  A singer may hear the same information from two different sources and understands it better from one of the sources.  We complement each other and we discuss the progress of every student daily.

The final concert will take place on August 3rd at 19:00 in the Ehrbarsaal – one of Vienna’s historic concert venues, which has hosted musicians such as Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler, Pietro Mascagni, Bela Bartok, and Bruno Walter.


Dr. Jean-Ronald Lafond | heldentenor

Dr. Jean-Ronald LaFond has been active as a pedagogue for over 30 years and currently advises over 100 active professional opera singers throughout Europe and lovers of singing throughout the world.  His studio locations include Vienna, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Berlin, and Gothenburg. He teaches regularly at the Gothenburg Opera.  He also teaches a full operatic curriculum at the Opera Studio at Härnösands Folkhögskola in Sweden. Despite his enormous technical knowledge at the forefront of vocal pedagogy, his teaching is clear and easy to understand, perceptive and constructive, demanding and individually flexible. In addition to his musicality, his immense talent for languages and his patience he is, in a friendly but firm way, both a model and a fundamental support along the way for each singer who wants to improve. I would recommend Dr. LaFond at the highest level to anyone who wants to work seriously and consistently with one of the world’s best voice pedagogues–Nadine Weissmann, dramatic mezzo (Bayreuth Festspiele, Teatro del Liceu, Komische OperBerlin, etc…)”

Dr. Katherine Osborne | mezzo-soprano

Katherine Osborne, mezzo-soprano, is a native of New Orleans. She has performed operatic roles from the Baroque era to the 20th century, along with performances of lesser-known operas by Haydn, Donizetti, Pauline Viardot-Garcia, and Ronald Perrera

A dedicated educator, Ms. Osborne takes an active interest in voice research and has over a decade of voice teaching experience. She currently teaches applied voice, voice pedagogy, diction, and song repertoire at the University of Northern Iowa. She previously served as the Head of Voice Studies at the Washington National Cathedral and on the voice faculties of Ohio Wesleyan University and Suitland High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Program.

Anna Maria Niedbala | soprano

Anna Niedbala has appeared as a mezzo-soprano at Sarasota Opera, Baltimore Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and Minnesota Opera and recently made her European debut at the Salzburger Landestheater in the soprano role of Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito. Having worked with Dr. LaFond and the Kashudoprocess for over 7 years, Ms. Niedbala has emerged as a talented voice teacher and director in her own right.  She has recently taught and directed at Härnösand Opera Academy and Festival and several masterclasses in Sweden, Austria, Germany and Spain.  She teaches privately in Dortmund,Germany.  Anna Niedbala has both the large and dark tones for the expansive role and makes clear both the vulnerability and hurt of the scorned [Vitellia]; moving and truthful in  trueMozart style” –Salzburger Nachrichten.

But the big star is Anna Niedbala’s Tosca. An amazing lyric soprano that alternates unobtrusively between crisp heat and full strength. It really was her performance!–Allhända.se

Raymond Ayers | baritone


American baritone Raymond Ayers has performed at theaters across the U.S. and Europe, accumulating a repertoire of over 75 roles. Recent performances include: When Lilacs in the Dooryard Bloom’d with Hans Graf at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Der Ferne Klang (Graf/Schauspieler) at Nationaltheater Mannheim with GMD Dan Ettinger, La Boheme (Marcello) at Theater Bremen directed by Benedikt von Peter, Don Carlo (Rodrigo) at Theater Hagen directed by Philipp Kochheim, Händel’s Messiah with Laurent Gendre conducting at the Musique Baroque en Avignon as well as performances with Radio Festival Montpellier singing Carmina Burana, which was broadcast on French National Radio. Other notable performances include Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro) with Theater Bonn, La Traviata (Germont) with Staatstheater Braunschweig

and Bernstein’s Mass (Celebrant) with the Minnesota Orchestra.  He will return to Staatstheater Braunschweig this spring for performances of Zandonai’s Giulietta e Romeo (Tebaldo). This fall Mr. Ayers continues as leading baritone at Germany’s Nationaltheater Mannheim. There he will be featured in Die Fledermaus (Dr. Falke), Cosi fan tutte (Guglielmo), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro) and Die Lustige Witwe (Danilo). In past seasons Mr. Ayers was seen performing the World Premier of Golem (Athanasius Pernath) by Bernhard Lang as well as Turandot (Ping), Der Ferne Klang (Graf/Schauspieler), Alceste (Hercules/Apollo), La Boheme (Schaunard), Falstaff (Ford), L’elisird’amore (Belcore), Die Liebe zu drei Orangen (Pantalone), Freischütz (Ottokar),  Pagliacci (Silvio) and as baritone soloist in Carmina Burana.

For six seasons Mr. Ayers was engaged as leading baritone at Theater Hagen singing many roles with the house, including: Don Carlo (Rodrigo), Wildschütz (Graf), Don Giovanni (title role), Otello (Iago), La Boheme (Marcello), Fledermaus (Dr. Falke), Ring in einem Abend (Gunter), La Traviata (Germont), Orpheus in der Unterwelt (Jupiter), Il Pagliacci (Silvio), La Cenerentola (Dandini), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro), Don Pasquale (Malatesta), Cosi fan tutte (Guglielmo), Un Ballo in Maschera (Silvano) and Turandot (Ping). Having a natural affinity and ability for modern music, Mr. Ayers has been involved in a number of productions and premiers in this genre: The World Premier of Golem (Athanasius), The German Premier of Selma Ježková – Dancer in the Dark (Bill Houston), the European Premier of Salsi Puedes (Chucho), the World Premier of The Star Gatherer (Mega the Baker) and the New York Premier of The Seagull (Constantine). Others include: Nixon in China (Chou En-lai), Lolarennt (Manni), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Lord Henry Wotton) and Bernstein’s Mass (Celebrant).

Mr. Ayers holds degrees from Westminster Choir College (BM) and Manhattan School of Music (MM). He is recorded on both Albany Records (The Seagull) and Afka labels (as oboist), and has been seen and heard on television and radio broadcasts throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Meta Powell | dramatic Soprano

Having completed her postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music in London, Meta Powell embarked on a career as a mezzo soprano, debuting at Drottningholm Court Theatre as Lisbe in Zemire et Azor following a personal invitation from Elisabeth Söderström. She continued to add mezzo soprano roles to her repertoire, such as Afra, Dorabella, and Cherubino, Aurelio in the British premiere of Donizetti’s L’assedio di Calais, Hansel, Helen in Helen of Braemorefor English Country Opera (specifically composed for Meta by Eddie McGuire).

It was while enjoying this critical acclaim that Meta started on a quest to find her ‘true’ voice, as she never felt entirely comfortable that mezzo was her real voice type. While living in New York she was encouraged by a close friend and conductor to make the transition from mezzo to soprano, initially exploring the lyric soprano repertoire. Her first role as soprano was Pamina. In NYC, she was also a prizewinner in the Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition.

Recent performances in the dramatic soprano repertoire include Brünnhilde and Götterdämmerung for Opera Forge at the Royal Festival Hall and St John Smith Square, Sieglinde and Ortlinde in Die Walküre, Brünnhilde in Siegfried, Dritte Norn and Gutrune in Götterdämmerung for Longborough Festival Opera and the Wagner Society, London. Meta has performed extensively throughout her career with orchestras and she is a regular soloist with many of the major and regional Swedish orchestras.

James Jenkins | pianist

James Jenkins is an active collaborative pianist, vocal coach, and composer. A former resident of the Washington, DC area, James has performed in many of Washington’s most prestigious venues, including the Kennedy CenterMillennium Stage, Arts Club of Washington, Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Art, the Embassy of Luxembourg, the Strathmore Mansion, and the Washington National Cathedral. From 2012 to 2015, James worked with numerous professional organizations including Opera Columbus, Opera Project Columbus, the Carpe Diem String Quartet and Columbus Dance Theatre, and was a freelance pianist and vocal coach at The Ohio State University and a staff accompanist for Ohio Wesleyan University.

During the summer of 2015 he was an accompanist and vocal coach at HärnösandOpera Academy and Festival in Härnösand, Sweden, where he had the pleasure of accompanying the legendary tenor George Shirley in recital. During the summers of 2007-2009 he accompanied and assisted distinguished artists and conductors in workshops at Westminster Choir College, including singers Julianne Baird and Elem Eley, and conductors James Jordan, Weston Noble, Joe Miller and Bruce Chamberlain.  

James especially enjoys composing art song. His song set The Living Root was premiered at historic St Margaret’s Church in Annapolis, MD in 2011 and selections performed in 2015 at the Alba Music Festival in Italy. Mr. Jenkins received his M.M. in collaborative piano from the University of Maryland, College Park and his B.M. in piano performance from Stetson University.

Ekaterina Nokkert | pianist

The Viennese collaborative pianist Ekaterina Nokkert gained audiences´ attention as music director of “Oper in der Krypta” in the crypt of Vienna´s St. Peter church. After jumping in for a production of Puccini´s Madama Butterfly in 2015 she has since led several critically acclaimed productions of operas.

Since 2017, Ekaterina Nokkert is part of the Kashu-Do Studios. She was a young artist at the Härnösand Opera Academy and Festival and a guest coach at the Kapellsberg Opera Studio in Härnösand, Sweden.  She has accompanied masterclasses and courses taught by Bruce Ford, Grace Bumbry, KS Elena Filipova, Dr. Katherine Osborne (University of Northern Iowa), Eric Gibson (Stage director, University of Northern Arizona).

In addition to her active performing career, she is a dedicated teacher and coach, working as a lecturer for piano, collaborative piano and chamber music at the Prayner Konservatorium in Vienna.  Ekaterina Nokkert holds two MA degrees from the MUK university in Vienna – in piano performance (with Univ.-Prof. Thomas Kreuzberger) and collaborative piano (with Carolyn Hague, Angelika Kirchschlager and Birgid Steinberger.)


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