MARIE VASSILIOU is an internationally acclaimed soprano, who has graced prestigious operatic stages and concert platforms in Austria, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, USA, and the UK. She has appeared in venues that include the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Barbican, Purcell Room, St John’s Smith Square, and worked with such conductors as Sir Andrew Davis, Sir David Willcocks, Martyn Brabbins, Edward Gardner, Vernon Handley, Wayne Marshall, Peter Rundel and Clark Rundell.
Opera, Oratorio, Concert and Recital
Known as a musician’s singer, lyric soprano Marie Vassiliou, is often praised for her warmth, humanity and engaging presence, as well as her poetic interpretations, focus, vocal flexibility, clarity and beauty of tone. She is an extremely versatile artist, with a flair for lesser known works and experience in performing music which ranges from the baroque era to the present day.
Having also trained as an instrumentalist (she had joint principal studies in singing and viola at the RCM), her work is defined by a depth of musical understanding and insight. She has worked in many different areas- opera, recital, oratorio, historically informed performance and contemporary music- and is known amongst her colleagues for her hard-working, friendly and honest approach. She enjoys a long-standing and fruitful relationship with her teacher, Janice Chapman, who inspires her by her continual desire to know more.
Research and professional development
The staff professional development programme at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, is second to none and has allowed Marie to develop a passionate interest in research. Most recently she has completed an MA at the Institute of Education, which allowed her to complete her first research project proper. This looked at the notion of fearless performance and flow in vocal performance and whether it can be taught.
Her next project will initially be an exploration of the three-way exchange of vocal, instrumental and drama expertise, centered around Clerambault’s dramatic cantata, Medee. She will collaborate with Sue Dent (instrumental) and Dinah Stabb (drama).
Other areas which Marie has engaged with through professional development programmes, include the Critical Response Process (with Liz Lerman), mentoring (with Jane Cook and Peter Renshaw) and mindful meditation (with Chris Cullen).
In Oct 2013, Marie was chosen to represent the Guildhall School at the 9th iCON conservatoire seminar, held in Kallio-Kuninkala, Finland. The theme of the seminar was ‘Practice-based research: choreographing exploration, reflection, creative experiment and research.’ The seminar was attended by musician-teachers from many other European conservatoires and gave the opportunity for much reflection, collaboration, listening and exchange of ideas.
Teaching, coaching, examining, adjudicating, workshops and masterclasses
Marie has maintained a strong interest in teaching throughout her singing life. Since 2005 Marie has been teaching and coaching at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama; apart from one-to-one teaching she gives classes in Historical Performance style and became a Masters mentor in 2008.
She also runs a selective private teaching practice, with clients attending from around Europe and the UK. Recent student successes have included a Sony recording contract, a Metropolitan Opera House contract and first prize in an international competition. She has been invited to adjudicate, examine and give masterclasses at Chichester College, Peter Symonds College, Winchester and Leeds College of Music. She has also adjudicated for participation in the London Song Festival masterclasses.
The subtlety, intimacy and sophistication of the song repertoire have become increasingly central to Marie’s focus. She performed regularly with pianist, Nico de Villiers and now works with several different pianists. Engagements included recitals for: Buckingham Festival, Leeds Lieder, Music at the Old Chapels, St Lawrence Jewry Festival and Song in the City evening series. Other venues have included Aachen Ballroom, Austrian Cultural Centre, Hatchlands and Sibelius Academy. Marie delights in creating imaginative and inventive programmes and likes to programme mainstream repertoire, as well as unjustly neglected works.