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Lynn Helding (Mezzo-soprano)

Born: USA

The American mezzo-soprano and music pedagogue and researcher, studied vocal performance at the University of Montana with Esther England (1978-1983); Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria with Kammersänger Otto Edelmann (Spring 1980), Indiana University in Bloomington with Virginia Zeani and Martha Lipton (1983-1984) and with Dale Moore (1986-1988), where she became the first singer ever accepted to pursue the prestigious Artist Diploma in 1988; University of Iowa Summer Vocology Institute in Denver Colorado (Summers 2002, 2003), Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton, New Jersey with Christopher Arneson (2004-2005). Other teacher were Gary Kendall at Cincinnati Conservatory (1984-1985), Neil Semer at Private Studio in New York City (2000-2001), Rosemary Ostrowski at Robert Sataloff Voice Laboratory in Philadelphia (2002- 2003). In 2005, she completed a Master’s Degree in Vocal Pedagogy under the direction of Dr. Scott McCoy at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, where she pursued research in the relationship between singing and cognitive science. She received additional training with voice coachers Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Jan Behr, Nico Castel, Paul Sperry, Mark Markham, Michael Barrett, Ruth Drucker, Tom Cleveland and attended master-classes:with Richard Miller, Joan Dornemann, Walter Moore, Andrea von Ramm, Eileen Farrell, Paul Sperry, John Musto, Mark Madsen, Jeanette LoVetri/Music Theatre voice.

As a student, she was honoured with numerous prizes and awards, including: Award For Encouragement, Metropolitan Opera District Auditions (Spokane, WA, 1979); First Place/College Women, National Assoc. Of Teacher’s of Singing (NATS) Auditions (1980); First Place, Music Teacher’s National Association Regional Competition (Spokane, WA, 1981); First Place, Metropolitan Opera District Auditions (Spokane, WA, 1981); First Place, Metropolitan Opera District Auditions (Spokane, WA, 1982); First Place, Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions (Seattle, WA, 1982); 1983 Scholarship, Indiana University, School of Music (1983); Scholarship, Indiana University, School of Music (1987); Finalist, Mae Whitaker International Vocal Competition (St. Louis, MO, 1992); Fellowship, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (Norfolk, CT, 1996); Fellowship, Aspen Music Festival (1997, declined); Barbara Doscher Scholarship, Summer Vocology Institute, co-sponsored by Natl. Center for Voice and Speech, Denver CO, and University of Iowa (2002).

Lynn Helding is Professor of Voice, a recitalist specializing in recital and chamber music of our time, a trained vocologist and singing voice specialist, and an active presenter on current topics in vocal pedagogy. She has sung leading roles with Harrisburg Opera, Nashville Opera, Tennessee Opera Theatre, Ohio Light Opera and Indiana University Opera Theater. Her many stage credits include the title role in the first American production of Luigi Rossi's Orfeo. An active recitalist throughout the USA, Europe and Iceland, her solo performances there were broadcast on Icelandic National Radio, prompting the Reykjavik Morgunbladid to commend her as an “accomplished” and “gifted” singer.Highlights from her work in chamber music include the title role in Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, broadcast on Nashville Public Television’s series Recital Hall. A champion of new music, she has premiered new works from composers, including Good Night, written for her and the Baltic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra by award-winning Icelandic composer Thorkell Sigurbjornnson, which premiered in Providence, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C. and on the New Works series at Miller Theatre in New York.

In the summer of 1998 Lynn Helding joined forces with pianist Jennifer Blyth to form the Helding/Blyth Duo, an ensemble committed to vocal music of our time, performing their all-American song recital Made in America throughout Italy, England, Germany, Spain and Australia, where they served as Artists-in-Residence at Melbourne’s LaTrobe University. Other international highlights include performances of American song at the festival Reykjavík, European City of Culture 2000, at Bessastadir, the official residence of the President of Iceland, and Une Soirée de Musique Americaine in Toulouse, France, sponsored by the United States Consulate of Toulouse. The Duo made their New York City debut at the Brook Center for Music with This is My Letter to the World, a performance piece constructed of letters by Emily Dickinson interspersed with songs of Copland, Heggie, Bolcom and Laitman. The Duo’s contributions to the music of our time include commissioning new works from composers: Robert Pound’s Orbit of the Soul, based upon the writings of Oscar Wilde, and Love Songs in Age by Gerald Shapiro.

Lynn Helding served four years as a member of the voice faculty at Vanderbilt University (1989-1993), moving to Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1993. From 1993 to 2006, she served there as Senior Artist Faculty in Voice, and since 2006 she serves as Associate Professor of Voice and Director of Performance Studies.

A singing voice specialist in the emerging field of voice science, Lynn Helding studied two summers at the Summer Vocology Institute of the National Center for Voice and Speech in Denver under the direction of esteemed voice scientist Dr. Ingo Titze. While completing the Institute’s certificate in vocology, she took courses in Scientific Principles of Voice Production, Motor Learning Theory, and Instrumentation for Voice Analysis with voice scientists Titze, Katherine Verdolini and Jan Svec. Her work has positioned her squarely between the science and the art of the singing voice, where she seeks to discover rapprochement within the field of cognitive science. Her lectures on learning theory, Connecting Voice Science to Vocal Art, demonstrate her belief that ongoing research in cognitive science “augurs profound implications for the future of enlightened vocal pedagogy, and ushers in a paradigm shift in emphasis from how well teachers teach, to how well students learn.” She has presented Connecting Voice Science to Vocal Art at Indiana University, SUNY Fredonia, and the Third International Physiology and Acoustics of Singing Conference in York, England. Her two-part article Voice Science and Vocal Art: In Search of Common Ground, and Voice Science and Vocal Art Part II: Motor Learning Theory are published in the November/December 2007 and March/April 2008 volumes of the Journal of Singing. In 2005, she was awarded the Van Lawrence Fellowship, given jointly by the Voice Foundation and NATS Foundation to recognize excellence in teaching and to support further research in the science of the singing voice.

Source: Lynn Helding pages at Dickinson College Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2012)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Jan Harrington


BWV 161

Links to other Sites

Lynn Helding - Mezzo-Soprano/Singing Voice Specialist (Official Website at Dickinson)


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