Boxwood Festival Canada

Bel canto with Edmund Brownless

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia


(click to enlarge)

Boxwood Festival Canada

Edmund Brownless

Bel Canto with Edmund Brownless


"A worker needs good tools" said one of his teachers. That's why Edmund Brownless believes completely in Bel canto. It is a sound, effective and healthy way to sing. Bel canto teaches singers to use both registers together. Singers have used both registers in most periods - whether it be for medieval, classical or popular music today. Bel canto is therefore the perfect technique for just about all singing styles. So many young singers today ruin their voices by pushing up a weak lower register. Bel canto encourages the strengthening of this (and the upper register), allowing singers to "belt" in a safe, natural way. If you have a good technique (and there are, as Marchesi once said, only two schools of technique: a good one and a bad one) then you can sing anything. You don't change the technique - just the style.

This course is aimed at anyone who wants to learn to sing better. Whether you sing early music, are a coloratura soprano or prefer folk music, then this course in Bel canto is for you. Edmund Brownless' students in Frankfurt have gone on to careers in Early Music, Oratorio and Lied, Musicals - one is now studying Jazz-singing at the Hochschule in Frankfurt and another has just been appointed as a voice teacher at the same institution. Full marks for Bel canto!

Edmund Brownless was born in Norwich, England and sang as chorister in the choir of Hereford Cathedral. After emigrating to Nova Scotia he studied with Prof. Marie McCarthy at Acadia University and with Prof. Jan Simons at McGill University, where he received B. Mus. and M. Mus. degrees in voice. Later, he studied with Richard Levitt at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland and had lessons with Cornelius L. Reid in New York. He also participated in master classes with Alfred Deller, Emma Kirkby, Nigel Rogers and Andrea von Ramm. As a soloist he has performed throughout Europe and North America and sings on many recordings, notably with the Bach Ensemble (Joshua Rifkin), Sequentia Köln (Benjamin Bagby), Ensemble Gilles Binchois (Dominique Vellard), and the Clemencic Consort (René Clemencic). He teaches voice at Dr. Hoch's Conservatorium in Frankfurt am Main and is the director of Das Consort Franckfort and the Vokalensemble Alta Musica.

Edmund Brownless has written a substantial article on vocal technique: "Thoughts on Simple Singing: Towards a More Adequate Vocal Terminology" in: The Modern Singing Master: Essays in Honor of Cornelius L. Reid.