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Anne Azéma

Anne Azéma
Historical Performance - Voice; Vocal Studies
 

French-born vocalist, scholar and stage director Anne Azéma has directed The Boston Camerata since 2008 and the French ensemble Aziman, which she founded, since 2005. Intensely engaged since her student days with the song repertoire of the Middle Ages, she is esteemed as a charismatic solo performer. But she is also widely admired for her creative skill in building and directing complete musical productions of varied styles and periods, both for her recital programs and for larger ensemble forces (concert and stage) in Europe and the United States.

Anne Azéma’s current discography of 35 recordings as a soloist (Grand Prix du Disque; Edison Prize) includes five widely acclaimed solo CD recitals. Since assuming the directorship of The Boston Camerata in 2008, she has created a series of sixteen new productions, acclaimed by press and public alike. These programs typically combine scholarship, much of it original, with high performance standards maintained by a distinguished roster of outstanding vocal soloists and instrumentalists, under Anne Azéma’s direction. Ms. Azéma is also in demand as a recitalist, presenting her original programs to audiences in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Her collaboration with the Tero Saarinen Dance Company (Helsinki, Finland) around early American songs has been praised on three continents. Her 2007 music theater creation (The Night’s Tale – Le Tournoi de Chauvency), based on a 14th century French narrative, is in continued demand, and is slated to tour in the US in 2020. 2017 marked the creation of a commissioned program in coordination with an international exhibit project of late Medieval artifacts (Art Gallery Ontario, Toronto, The Metropolitan Museum, New York and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) with a CD issued in 2019 (NAXOS). In November 2014, she edited, directed and staged The Play of Daniel to critical and public acclaim ; the production was succesfully reprised in 2017 and 2018, and again, in 2020.

Among Anne Azéma’s teaching activities are master classes, seminars, and residencies at conservatories and universities here and abroad. She has contributed articles to scholarly and general audience publications. In 2011, Ms. Azéma was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. Ms. Azéma was the Robert M. Trotter Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Oregon, Eugene in 2012 and 2020. She has been invited to lecture at New York University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brandeis and Boston University, and is currently a faculty member at the Longy School of Music of Bard College. In 2017, she was presented with the Distinguished Artist Award of the Saint Botolph Foundation, Boston. Her second film appearance in received two prizes at the Montréal FIFA (2014). She has taught at the Fondazione Cini, Venice (2015); the Fondazione Benetton, Treviso (2016) ; the Schola Cantorum, Basel (2015). Anne Azéma’s next collaboration with the label Harmonia Mundi grew from two programs of early American music commissioned in 2018 by the Philarmonie de Paris.

Teaching Philosophy

My aim is to empower my students, giving them the tools to continue working and growing without me, intellectually, musically, and technically. I guide them through assessing early sources, scholarship, style, and concert programming. I work with them on vocal technique, interpretation, and performance practice. Cross-departmental work helps students become both collaborative and versatile.

I give them the benefit of my experience as an internationally seasoned professional, director, singer, and stage director, and also encourage and enable them to become accomplished practitioners themselves, sometimes alongside my colleagues of The Boston Camerata.

Under my tutelage Longy students have participated in an array of ambitious productions: the Play of Daniel, at its premiere Boston productions and following national tours; the medieval Carmina Burana, performed in the same concert as the modern Carl Orff setting; The Night’s Tale production at Longy; early American music performed at Harvard with its university choir, among others; Dido & Aeneas, Henry Purcell’s chamber opera, filmed in taped during the last COVID season. Chosen repertoires, and their casts, often relate to contemporary societal concerns: Gender and sexual politics, as in The Night’s Tale; Justice and oppression, as in The Play of Daniel, Free America, and We’ll Be There; Racial and ethnic diversity as in Daniel, Dido & Aeneas, A Hispanic Christmas, and We’ll Be There. Meaningful experiences like these leave students buoyed and prepared for the professional music world while working alongside the professionals of The Boston Camerata and under my direction.