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 101: Masterclass - Kerriann Otaño

    July 17th, 2023  |  53 mins 59 secs
    arts coaching, classical singing, interview, masterclass, micro actions, music business

    Kerriann Otaño is the Vice President of Engagement at America’s 11th oldest opera company, OperaDelaware. Originally from Long Island, New York, Kerriann studied at the Verdi Conservatorio in Milan, Italy, before receiving her Bachelors degree from Indiana University and her Masters from Mannes the New School for Music. Kerriann sang opera professionally for 10 years, performing at Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera San Jose, and Wolf Trap Opera. She is featured on Naxos album Bernstein: Songfest with Wolf Trap Opera. Kerriann began her transition into administration in 2019 after a mental health crisis, and she prides herself on her advocacy for artists and audiences across the country.

  • Episode 100: Masterclass - Chelsea Hollow

    July 10th, 2023  |  1 hr 4 mins
    arts coaching, classical singing, interview, masterclass, micro actions, music business

    Chelsea Hollow “has rewritten the book on the potential of musical activism," curating & commissioning solo recitals based on activist texts as well as exploring ways to make traditional opera exciting to new audiences. In recognition of this work, she presented on Art and Activism (2021) for the United Nations’ Office of Human Rights. In April 2023, Chelsea released her debut album Cycles of Resistance with Aerocade Music, featuring 22 of her commissions chronicling examples of human resilience in Mandarin, Dutch, Turkish, Arabic, Sanskrit, and Czech in addition to English. She is known for her “soaring high range” and “stage panache!” premiering new operatic works and singing traditional roles such as Queen of the Night, Zerbinetta, and Olympia.

  • Episode 99: Masterclass - Peyee Chen

    May 30th, 2023  |  1 hr 13 mins
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business, peyee chen

    An omnivore when it comes to performing, soprano Peyee Chen enjoys singing Monteverdi with lute and
    bass viol as much as singing Bernhard Lang with electronics and electric bass. Up for physical challenges,
    she has performed with poet Caroline Bergvall on her Raga Dawn series, outdoors and starting before
    sunrise. She is interested in vocal and physical improvisation, DIY electronic instruments, and installation
    and performance art, recently performing in Martin Creed’s exhibition at Hauser & Wirth’s London gallery,
    where she sang music by Martin for 30 minutes every hour, eight hours a day, two or three days each week
    for six weeks.

  • Episode 93: Masterclass - Pamela Stein Lynde

    May 22nd, 2023  |  1 hr 2 mins
    arts coaching, classical singing, micro actions, music business, vocal pedagogy

    Praised for her “rich dramatics” (The Boston Globe) and called "Magnificent" by Fanfare Magazine, Pamela Stein Lynde is a versatile singer, composer, choral conductor and music educator. As a singer, Pamela has built a career working with contemporary composers of all levels, from students to internationally recognized artists. As an educator, Pamela has taught, lectured, and given master classes at universities and conservatories across the country.

  • 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!