Studio Class

Megan Ihnen | The Sybaritic Singer

About the show

Welcome to Studio Class – I'm Megan Ihnen, your friendly mezzo-soprano, teacher, writer, and arts entrepreneur. Together, we'll dive deep into the strategies and tactics of classical singing and composition. Think of me as your "diva sidekick", distilling essential insights in the realms of classical singing, opera, and new music. Whether it's dissecting the nuances of performance or uncovering the habits of successful creatives, we're here to streamline your path to excellence.

In this podcast, we transcend the ordinary studio class experience, diving deep into the essential business elements that often get overlooked in the world of classical music. Megan's passion for empowering fellow musicians, both vocalists and composers, shines through, making Studio Class your go-to resource for achieving excellence in your artistic endeavors.

Micro Action Monday episodes are short 'how-to' style guides offering actionable entrepreneurship information. For an in-depth look into the journeys of successful professionals, tune in to Masterclass episodes where working artists share how they created, maintain, and expand their careers in today's music industry.

Whether you're a singer, composer, or someone curious about the intersection of tradition and innovation in the performing arts, Studio Class is here to guide you towards a sparkling and focused career. Don't miss the diva-approved wisdom that awaits you on Studio Class with Megan Ihnen.

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  • Episode 98: Masterclass - Whitney George

    May 15th, 2023  |  1 hr 2 mins
    arts coaching, classical singing, composition, micro actions, music business, opera

    Whitney George’s music traverses the affective terrain between tragedy and ecstasy, fragility and strength, bringing together romantically delicate intimacy and the spectacular darkness of the macabre. Haunted by ghosts and/of love, George’s operas, staged multimedia works, and chamber music coloristically explore the mysteries of irrationality, nightmare, and memory, sonically seeking lost objects and hidden subjects. Given George’s theatrical inclinations and preoccupation with the tragic, she has turned again and again to opera as both a composer and conductor. Recently, George has been awarded a number of operatic commissions, premieres, and recognition: in 2017; the Elebash Award for her orchestration of Gideon’s opera Fortunato, which premiered under George’s baton in May 2019. In the same year; the commission of the two-act opera Princess Maleine by dell'Arte and the video opera Julie by New Camerata which was publicly released in 2020. This 2023 season, Fresh Squeezed commissions Fizz & Ginger, an immersive jazz experience, and the second operatic endeavor with libretitst Bea Goodwin. George is the artistic director and conductor of The Curiosity Cabinet, a chamber orchestra formed in 2009. She holds degrees from the California Institute of the Arts (2008), Brooklyn College (2010), and the CUNY Graduate Center (2021).

  • Episode 97: Masterclass - Jenni Bank

    May 8th, 2023  |  58 mins 4 secs
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business, opera

    Jenni Bank was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, grew up in Binghamton, New York, & studied at Peabody Conservatory. She has worked with Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Chicago Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Anchorage Opera, Opera Delaware, Des Moines Metro Opera, Florentine Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Knoxville Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Bard Summer Music Festival, Ash Lawn Opera, Amarillo Opera, Baltimore Concert Opera, Annapolis Opera, Mid-America Productions at Carnegie Hall, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester, Seoul Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, & the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

    Performances include Marcellina (Marriage of Figaro), Samira (Ghosts of Versailles), Mrs. De Rocher (Dead Man Walking), The Mother (The Consul), 3rd Lady (Magic Flute), Ruth (Pirates of Penzance), Buttercup (H.M.S. Pinafore), Mrs. Twist (Brokeback Mountain), Emilia (Otello), Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd), Mary (Flying Dutchman), Old Lady (Candide), Mrs. Peachum (Threepenny Opera), Golde (Fiddler on the Roof), Azucena (Il Trovatore), Witch (Hänsel und Gretel), Quickly (Falstaff), Dryad (Ariadne auf Naxos), Frugola (Il Tabarro), Principessa (Suor Angelica), Zita (Gianni Schicchi), Martha (Faust), Giulietta (Hoffmann), Marquise (Daughter of the Regiment), Petra (A Little Night Music), Fairy Queen (Iolanthe), Katisha (The Mikado), Filipyevna (Eugene Onegin), Verdi Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, & Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. She is the leading interpreter of the Duchess in Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland, created the role of Firdaus Noman in Shalimar The Clown & is featured on the Cast Recording, won the Sullivan Foundation Award, is a Metropolitan Opera Competition semi-finalist, & is the Artistic Advisor for Tri-Cities Opera. Jenni is also the Analysis Operations Team Lead at the fast-growing tech startup DoWhatWorks and lives in Upstate New York with her husband and two adorable dogs (@theharleyandeo on instagram). Find Jenni at & @jenni_bank. There's so much more to discover about Jenni's career! Take a listen to this Masterclass episode to learn more!

  • Episode 96: Masterclass - Maggie Finnegan

    May 1st, 2023  |  1 hr 1 min
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business

    We are so thrilled to welcome soprano Maggie Finnegan to be a Masterclass guest on the Studio Class Podcast. Soprano Maggie Finnegan has been hailed by Opera News for her “clear, poised and defiant soprano” and the Washington Post for her “silvery, pitch-perfect voice." Maggie Finnegan (she/her) is a versatile soprano, singing repertoire spanning from medieval to contemporary.

  • Episode 95: Masterclass - Kathleen Kelly

    February 6th, 2023  |  1 hr 17 mins
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business

    Kathleen Kelly’s projects and repertoire are wide-ranging and diverse. From Mozart to commissioned works by her peers, she is both deeply experienced in the classical vocal canon and engaged in new creation. Recent notable projects include a recording with soprano Emily Albrink - which we’ll reference in this episode, leading the world premiere of Matt Bohler’s opera FAT PIG (composed for activist soprano Tracy Cox), and the filmed opera Interstate, composed by Kamala Sankaram, co-authored and performed by Kathleen and soprano Jennifer Cresswell, produced by Minnesota Opera.

    Kathleen has appeared internationally as a pianist in collaboration with singers including appearances at incredible and top tier venues around the world. She has worked with many companies including the San Francisco, Metropolitan, Houston Grand, and Vienna State Operas, and she is regularly invited to speak and write on womens’ issues in the opera industry.

  • Episode 94: Masterclass - Carrie Hennessey

    January 16th, 2023  |  1 hr 12 mins
    arts coaching, classical singing, interview, micro actions, music business

    Carrie Hennessey is a wayfinder through the deep, spiritual and technical discoveries of the voice. She truly lights a fire in those around her - teaching music education through lectures, workshops, Master Classes, and she is joyfully dedicated to guiding all around her to find their true authentic voice in the world. Currently, Carrie is developing her one woman show about her life in singing, quitting for 12 years post trauma and creating from nothing a versatile and vibrant career steeped in authenticity. I am so excited to share this Masterclass episode with Carrie Hennessey with you!

  • Episode 92: Masterclass - Kala Maxym

    December 6th, 2022  |  54 mins 13 secs
    arts coaching, classical singing, interview, micro actions, music business

    Kala is the Founder of Five Senses Tastings, a Certified Women-Owned Business. Her philosophy of Sensory Wellness encourages guests to harness the energy, power, and play of their five senses using music, wine, and food, and sweet treats.

    Inspired by her childhood abroad, Kala believes that diversifying our own sensory ecosystems leads us to find beauty and inspiration not just in ourselves but in the world around us. She is a professional opera singer who has performed worldwide (including for three presidents), and now intentionally uses her voice to advocate for voting rights. She is a former federal government employee, bone marrow donor, a polyglot who speaks German, French, and Spanish, and is certified through the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

    Kala lives in Los Angeles with her partner and two orange Bronx street cats, Ollie and Caspar.

  • Episode 91: Micro Action Monday - Deal with negative feedback

    November 28th, 2022  |  15 mins 46 secs
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business

    No one likes to receive negative feedback - it's true. But, how you respond to criticism will influence what kind and speed of progress you can make in your professionally creative career. In this Micro Action Monday, Megan discusses how to take in, respond to negative feedback, and turn it into a positive situation.

  • Episode 90: Masterclass - Hilary Ginther

    November 21st, 2022  |  1 hr 9 mins
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business

    Mezzo-Soprano Hilary Ginther has been profiled by Opera Now magazine as one of ten young American singers intent on taking the opera world by storm. Take a listen to her Masterclass episode on Studio Class to find out more about this artist well on her way to stardom.

  • Episode 89: Micro Action Monday - Make your auditions shine

    November 14th, 2022  |  17 mins 46 secs
    arts coaching, auditions, classical singing, micro actions, music business

    "Having an audition that really shines is not about, 'Oh, I wore this dress that they really liked.' It's about, 'I made a moment for them in that room. They felt so inspired by my work that they knew I would be the right fit for an entire production or I would be the right fit for their company.'" In this Micro Action Monday episode, Megan discusses a few tips to make your auditions really stand out.

  • Episode 88: Micro Action Monday - Create a practice schedule

    November 7th, 2022  |  20 mins 31 secs
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business

    "Go ahead and actually prepare with efficiency and effectiveness so that you can make the most out of your work and feel like you're bringing your best musical self to the situation." In this Micro Action Monday episode, Megan breaks down the process of creating an efficient practice schedule in 7 steps.

  • Episode 87: Masterclass - Megan Ihnen on Being a Whole Person with Rebecca Hass (Crossover Episode)

    October 31st, 2022  |  59 mins 48 secs
    arts coaching, classical singing, crossover episode, micro actions, music business

    Megan does a crossover episode with Rebecca Hass of "Being a Whole Person" podcast!

    Here's what Rebecca wrote about our chat... "I had a delightful conversation with Megan Ihnen, a mezzo-soprano and “new music force of nature” who wears many hats as a performer, educator, coach/consultant for musicians, and also in arts admin. With these many roles, she is an amazing connector and natural community builder.

    Tune in to hear us chat about creative placemaking, authentic community building, balancing many roles and having lots of work variety, burnout, being a musician during the pandemic, routines, harmful ideas around “hard work”, and how we can bring our very favorite selves to our creative work."

  • Episode 86: Masterclass - Kelly Corcoran

    October 24th, 2022  |  46 mins 53 secs
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business

    Named “Best Classical Conductor” by the Nashville Scene, Kelly Corcoran is Artistic Director & Conductor of Intersection, a contemporary music ensemble now in its 9th season in Nashville. Corcoran founded the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted the Nashville Symphony in hundreds of performances for nine seasons as Associate Conductor and Director of the Symphony Chorus.

    Join us in this Masterclass episode featuring Kelly Corcoran!

  • Episode 85: Micro Action Monday - Work with a new collaborator

    October 17th, 2022  |  14 mins 43 secs
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business

    Ask yourself, "Am I bringing my best self to each collaboration?" In any collaboration when you start working with somebody new, I want you to think, "Wow, it's really an honor to get to work with this person. How can we both achieve our goals together through this piece, through this music, and then also honor the composer's intentions, the composer's creativity, and our shared musical imagination?"

    Megan shares her thoughts on working with new collaborators in this Micro Action Monday episode on Studio Class.

  • Episode 84: Masterclass - Ah Young Hong

    September 26th, 2022  |  1 hr 30 mins
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business

    A soprano of "fearlessness and consummate artistry" (Opera News), Ah Young Hong has interpreted a vast array of repertoire, ranging from the music of Monteverdi to Georg Friedrich Haas. Widely recognized for her work in Michael Hersch's monodrama, On the Threshold of Winter, The New York Times praised Ms. Hong’s performance in the world premiere as "the opera's blazing, lone star." Recent performances include solo appearances with violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Bern, and at both the Aldeburgh and Ojai Music Festivals. Highlight concerts of 2021-2022 include the premiere performances in the title role of Hersch’s POPPAEA at the Wien Modern and ZeitRäume Basel Festivals. Anticipated this fall is the recording of Hersch's the script of storms with BBC Symphony Orchestra under the New Focus label. Ms. Hong is an associate professor in the Vocal Studies Department of The Peabody Conservatory of Music, Johns Hopkins University.

  • Episode 83: Micro Action Monday - Invoice like a pro

    September 19th, 2022  |  11 mins 11 secs
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business

    "If you have done any freelance music work or any kind of freelance creative work, at some point you will need to invoice someone. And now's the time to figure out what you're going to do."

    In this Micro Action Monday, Megan talks about how to set yourself up for invoice success.

  • Episode 82: Micro Action Monday - Interview your prospective teacher

    September 12th, 2022  |  11 mins 24 secs
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business

    “So asking about logistics and style really help you know whether this is the right situation or if you’re just going to be studying with someone who might be fantastic at what they do… but the ‘what they do’ is not the right thing for you. And, vice verse. You’re not going to be a great student in their studio if you’re expecting different things but you haven’t communicated about what those expectations are. This is an important time to communicate together clearly and effectively about ‘what are our shared expectations?’”

    In this Micro Action Monday episode, Megan discusses the types of questions to ask before beginning a relationship with a voice teacher.