Read this review of the SongFest experience from 2016 Studio Artist Sam Krausz. We think it about says it all.

Video Testimonials

We may have changed locations from Pepperdine in Malibu to the Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles, but the excitement for SongFest expressed by our world-class faculty and student body in these videos remains the same today. (Interviews conduced by Julia Torgovitskaya of iCadenza)

Listen to what SongFest faculty Martin Katz, John Musto, Jake Heggie, and others are saying about this unique song festival.

Listen to what SongFest participants are saying about this unique song festival.

Written Testimonials

Established Artists

James Conlon, one of today's most versatile and respected conductors. Music director of the LA Opera, Ravinia Festival, and Cincinnati May Festival.

James Conlon, one of today's most versatile and respected conductors. Music director of the LA Opera, Ravinia Festival, and Cincinnati May Festival.

I think SongFest is terribly important in that the art song is an endangered species…not the songs themselves, not ongoing composition, but in terms of the audience who is attracted to it and will come to song recitals. I find this a tragedy....SongFest is exactly the type of endeavor that needs to take hold in many places. I congratulate SongFest and am thankful for SongFest, and hope that many other people will be inspired by it and take that ball, run with it, and help it all to take root.
— James Conlon | conductor
Internationally-acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Frederica von Stade

Internationally-acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Frederica von Stade

I feel very strongly that young singers need more than ever the kind of excellence they find at Songfest. To be a part of [the] program is to receive almost a crash course in the great tradition of singing and expression. And the miracle is that this crash course is offered in a loving, protective and “safe” environment which protects and nourishes the young performer. They can thus start out on their journeys with more courage and conviction and confidence. All the singers whom I have met who have been a part of this program have received an invaluable gift that will influence not only their careers but their lives.
— Frederica von Stade | mezzo - soprano

SongFest Alumni

SongFest was worth every penny. To observe, interact with, learn from, and try things out in front of such dedicated and storied faculty who are champions of writing, singing, coaching and playing art song was an unforgettable time. My teaching and playing will be better because of it and I left with inspiration as well as practical tools, not to mention new musical colleagues and friends... Keep going. I will recommend this program to others!
— Casey Robards | 2015 Professional Development Program Participant, lecturer in collaborative piano, Central Michigan University
Despite the material being incredible, it was the people that truly made Songfest a memorable experience. This artistic support was fostered by a faculty whose prowess is arguably unmatched. While at Songfest, I had the opportunity to work with people (in no particular order) like Dawn Upshaw, Martin Katz, John Musto, Amy Burton, Ann Murray, Graham Johnson, Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen, Margo Garrett, and many others, whose names escape me now, but certainly not their teachings. The first few days, I was starstruck and nervous; I soon realized that while these powerhouses certainly lived up to their reputation in terms of expectation and talent, their attitude towards me was one of a friend or colleague educating another. Not only this, but I have stayed in contact with many of these faculty members, and I know that if I were in need of musical or artistic assistance, I would only have to reach out to get it.
— Aaron Bigeleisen | 2015 Young Artist
Grammy Award-winning baritone William Sharp

Grammy Award-winning baritone William Sharp

There is nothing in America today that even comes close to this program. The composers, pianist/collaborators and singers who are engaged at SongFest are truly unmatched in any similar program anywhere.
— William Sharp | baritone
Jake Heggie, composer of many songs as well as operas Dead Man Walking, Moby Dick, Three Decembers, and more.

Jake Heggie, composer of many songs as well as operas Dead Man Walking, Moby Dick, Three Decembers, and more.

It is inspiring to see the numbers of young people eager and excited to explore that discipline; eager to challenge themselves to be better, to raise the bar and create something fine. This is what SongFest is about.
— Jake Heggie | composer
MacArthur Foundation's "genius" Award, and Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Harbison

MacArthur Foundation's "genius" Award, and Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Harbison

Regardless of what direction they take in their musical lives, the chance to work on Schubert with Graham Johnson, or Bach with the Emmanuel Music group, or a living composer of the caliber of John Musto is unique.
— John Harbison | composer
Internationally acclaimed pianist and scholar, Graham Johnson OBE

Internationally acclaimed pianist and scholar, Graham Johnson OBE

I have been very, very privileged and pleased to be here these past times. I find myself enormously encouraged to see this type of devotion and presence. This repertoire they would tell us is elitist, marginal, uninteresting, done-with, 19th century, kaput. You show us that as long as the human heart understands the conjunction of word and tone as amongst the most beautiful and extraordinary things that can exist in the world, as long as you are alive in this room, teaching, handing on to people younger than you, continuing to be, that this form will never die. I’ve given you a few pointers to try and keep it slightly more alive, but they are unimportant in comparison to your continuing love and commitment.
— Graham Johnson | pianist

More SongFest Alumni

SongFest is not for pansies. From the second one arrives, to your last moments at Colburn it is supremely challenging and utterly rewarding work that leaves you as so much more of a well-rounded performer and complete human being.

I am so, SO fortunate to have had the opportunity to be in the company of such fine musicians, scholars, interpreter and storytellers. To Rosemary: thank you for making this sanctuary for like-minded lovers of the art form where knowledge and passion for art song flows freely and happily between composers and performers, masters and students, legends, and aspiring talents, alike. To Matthew, Liza, Gloria, Kathy, Mark, Javier, et al. : thank you for working so thanklessly and tirelessly to make the magic so seamless for us all- my admiration and complete adoration of you all knows no bounds. To my fellow participants, I am in awe not only of your musical and interpretive talents but also of your incredible intellect and immense support of each other (PS Red group: you rock my world). I am so fortunate to have connected with such phenomenal human beings this month, and I am so happy that this is only the beginning of our story together.

I leave SongFest with a fire in my heart for song- the tools and inspiration to make music happen in an infinite array of possibilities, and THAT is the true gift that you all have given me.
— Janine Colletti | 2015 Young Artist
What is the best summer music journey I have ever had?? What is my best memory?? The answer is SongFest 2015….
Today, I really feel everything changed compared with previous month….
At the beginning of last month, as a new member in SongFest, everything is new and scary, but everything changed suddenly after really focus on making music with excellent musicians and extraordinary faculties. SongFest is an excellent place that allows you to create your own journey by listening to tons o
not. I know I felt scary every time I tried, but the result always became unforgettable and sweet memories!!!
Thank you Rosemary Hyler Ritter, Kathy Tagg, Liza Stepanova and Matt who create this program and support us during the entire festival, they are your friends who always encourage you.
— Neilson Chen | 2015 Professional Program Pianist
I learned more in four weeks at SongFest than I had the entire previous year.
— 2011 Young Artist
The legendary faculty SongFest hires is unparalleled in most other summer programs, which consequently brings in extremely talented participants.
— 2011 Professional Pianist
From the impressive list of acclaimed faculty members, to the extremely high level of the students and practitioners, to the many performance and masterclass opportunities available, Songfest exceeded my expectations in every aspect. The warm and open philosophy of the organization, making room for performers at all levels and appreciating everybody’s input equally, created an environment full of encouragement and community spirit, and I was hugely impressed by the lack of competition and one-upmanship that can so often take over at large gatherings of singers. Every person at Songfest, from the least experienced singer to the most internationally recognized faculty member, felt like a member of a large musical family, brought together by an abiding passion for the music and for helping each other to grow and improve.
— Sarah Court | 2013 Professional Development Program for College Teachers
Songfest was an incredible experience from beginning to end. It is a good way to completely immerse yourself in the widely varied and challenging Art Song repertoire, and offers unparalleled experiences to study with true experts in the field in an amazing venue. Specifically, I feel like I really improved in areas such as humor, presentation, acting, and french diction. Plus, just by fact of being an audience member, you are exposed to a ton of literature that you never even knew existed. I would highly recommend this program to any singer or pianist for it’s depth, professionalism, and networking opportunities.
— Emma Rose | 2013 Young Artist
I learned an immense amount of information about the art of song at this festival. I was encouraged to explore many different modes of thought and presentation, met so many fantastic colleagues, and got to work with some of the most prominent song composers of our time one-on-one. The Colburn School is a fantastic venue, and I can’t recommend this program highly enough to anyone - pianists and singers alike - who has even a remote interest in song.
— Jorie Moss | 2013 Young Artist
I learned so much during my summer at SongFest, not only about being a musician/artist but also about what it is to be human and live a life fulfilled with happiness and artistry. All of us alike were all encouraged to push ourselves and take the summer to explore and learn about yourself. The phrase “you do you” was used in the most happy way and encouraged everyone to thrive in this intimate and thought-provoking environment. Performing in and viewing Masterclasses proved to be very informative and exposed us all to new rep in-depth. I recommend for anyone looking to deeply enhance their knowledge/relationship with art song.
— Holly Kelly | 2013 Young Artist
Absolutely incredible faculty! Every day is packed with amazing learning opportunities! I left SongFest with new insight not only on musicianship and technique but also on myself as a performer - the personal growth I made here was an integral part of what made SongFest so special. This program is truly unique.
— Loghan Bazan | 2014 Young Artist
Wonderful experience and top notch faculty! I walked away from SongFest with so much respect and knowledge of song repertoire. There is so much beautiful music out there, let’s all support SongFest and recitalists and keep art song alive and thriving!
— Lauren-Rose King | 2014 Professional Singer
Besides the amazing location (literally across the street from Walt Disney Music Hall & LA Opera) the best part about Songfest is the incredible faculty! With so many music legends in one place it’s impossible to not to grow as both an artist and a person :)
— Sarah Forestieri | 2014 Young Artist
SongFest is an amazing place where great minds of teaching and learning come together to create. Intense learning happens everyday with great people leading to discovery and fun.
— Frank Fainer | 2014 Young Artist
I learned so much as an artist AND as a human being during my time at SongFest!
— Dylan Anthony Morrongiello | 2014 Young Artist
I was pleased to attend this well-organized and intensive program. Meeting and working with the participants of the PD program was a great experience. They are well-rounded and competent teachers. The best part of SongFest was to attend the distinguished faculty recital of Ann Murray and Graham Johnson. It was a rich source of inspiration for me to do more song recitals and to communicate with the audience. All the renowned faculty were so kind and respectful to the participants. I am grateful for what I experienced at SongFest. ... Working with phenomenal faculty in a masterclass setting, not open to the public, was a great idea... Each staff member was so kind and promptly responded to my inquiries... I highly recommend this program to my network.
— Raejin Lee | 2015 Professional Development Program Participant & Director of Vocal Studies, La Sierra University