Ravinia's Steans Music Institute

Program for Singers

Steans Piano and Strings Program Header


July 25 – August 15, 2016

Application and Audition Requirements

  • The two-step audition process begins with our online application, which will be available in the fall. The application deadline is October 30, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. CST.
  • Each applicant must submit electronic recordings, video preferred, covering the following requirements:
    • One art song in English
    • Two additional art songs of contrasting style and language
    • One aria
  • Selected applicants will be asked to attend live auditions. Applicants unable to attend live auditions will be considered based on the recordings they submit with the application.
  • Live Audition Repertoire: Singers granted a live audition will be asked for at least two songs of contrasting style and language plus at least two oratorio or opera arias, illustrating understanding of various styles and command of French and German. It does not have to be the same repertoire offered for study during the summer nor the same repertoire submitted in application recordings.
  • Live auditions will be held on the following days and locations:
    • Monday, November 23: New York
    • Tuesday, November 24: New York
    • Monday, December 7: Ravinia
    • Tuesday, December 8: Toronto
    • Date TBD: Berlin, Germany
  • A pianist will be provided at the auditions, but you are welcome to bring your own.
  • Everyone accepted for the program receives a full fellowship covering all Steans Music Institute activities, housing, most meals and intercampus transportation. The only cost to the participant is transportation to and from Chicago.
  • Application fee: $70
  • Notification: Applicants will be notified of our admissions decisions by email in mid-March.


Program Director

Kevin Murphy

Ravinia's Steans Music Institute is the Ravinia Festival’s professional studies program for young musicians, providing participants the opportunity to study with an internationally known faculty of performing artists and to appear in recitals as part of the festival’s summer concert schedule. The program for singers exists to promote the art of song, focusing upon the central repertoire of German and French art song. Participants study with each faculty member, thus receiving advice from a variety of musical traditions. Vocal study is available, and language professors offer detailed study of each song’s text in addition to providing diction coaching. The 15 singers selected for the program find a supportive, collegial atmosphere as well as a distinctive international community drawn from around the world. Many participants already have flourishing careers in opera and find the luxury of total immersion in art song an experience that they wish to share, thus helping to build new audiences for this rich and intimate repertoire.


Each singer accepted for the program must prepare at least five and no more than six groups of songs from the standard repertoire, such as one might perform on a recital program. Songs in English by both American and British composers or songs in the native language of the young artist (should that not be English, French or German) are encouraged. Final repertoire for the summer will be confirmed after acceptance in consultation with Kevin Murphy.


Each participant has the opportunity to take part in formal recitals in Bennett Gordon Hall. These Ravinia's Steans Music Institute concerts are scheduled before concerts by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other festival presentations, attracting large, appreciative audiences. Informal performances for colleagues are also arranged.

Coaching with Edith Wiens.

Coaching with Edith Wiens.


Professional accompanists are provided by Ravinia's Steans Music Institute.

Accompanists for 2016:
Javier Arrebola
Bretton Brown
Brent Funderburk
Nikolay Verevkin
Peter Walsh

Ravinia Festival Activities

Ravinia Festival is located on Chicago’s North Shore and runs each year from late May through early September. All Ravinia events are open to Ravinia's Steans Music Institute participants.These include outdoor concerts in the pavilion by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, often joined by distinguished soloists, and solo and chamber recitals in Ravinia’s Martin Theatre. Ravinia’s programming includes song recitals and other concerts with vocal soloists during the program for singers.

The Facility

Ravinia's Steans Music Institute is located on the grounds of the Ravinia Festival in the John D. Harza Building. All performances take place in the intimate, 450-seat Bennett Gordon Hall, which has been praised as an acoustical gem by audiences and performers alike. The Harza Building also contains teaching studios, practice rooms, a library, a lounge and an audio/video control room furnished with high-quality equipment for the recording of all events in Bennett Gordon Hall. The recordings are immediately available for study and review after concerts and classes.


Kevin Murphy, Program Director and Piano
Marianne Barrett, German
Steven  Blier, Piano
Danielle de Niese, Soprano
Michelle DeYoung, Mezzo-soprano
Cori Ellison, Dramaturg
John Henes, Alexander Technique
Stephen King, Baritone
David Ludwig, Composer
Malcolm Martineau, Piano
Denise Massé, French
Patricia McCaffrey, Mezzo-soprano
Sylvia McNair, Soprano
Heidi Grant Murphy, Soprano
J.J. Penna, Piano
Matthew Polenzani, Tenor
Jennifer Ringo, Language and Diction
Marietta Simpson, Mezzo-soprano
Anthony Spiri, Piano
Melissa Wegner, Career Development
Emily D'Angelo, Mezzo-soprano
Dorothy Gal, Soprano
Maya Yahav Gour, Mezzo-soprano
Andrew Haji, Tenor
Samuel Hasselhorn, Baritone
Shahar Lavi, Mezzo-soprano
Felicia Moore, Soprano
Heather Phillips, Soprano
Kevin Ray, Tenor
Timothy Renner, Baritone
Alex Rosen, Bass
Magali Simard-Galdès, Soprano
Trey Smagur, Tenor
Maria Valdes, Soprano
Anne Wright, Soprano

Email steansmusicinstitute@ravinia.org with any questions or concerns.