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Mezzo to Manhattan

Closed Cause page created in the Creative category by Elisabeth Harris

  • $9,460.00 donated
  • 49 generous donors

In September, Elisabeth will be studying toward Masters at the Manhattan School of Music in New York - find out how you can support her!

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Dream Performance Music

Beginning in September 2017, I am thrilled to be embarking upon a two year Masters of Music programme majoring in Classical Voice at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. I have been awarded a merit based scholarship from the School toward tuition fees and a position in the studio of Voice Tutor, Ruth Golden. Presently I am self employed as a freelance singer and teacher in Wellington and this enables me to support myself financially. However, I am aware that in order for this project to become a reality, I do require funding to cover the shortfall of tuition and living costs, and as a result I am currently in the process of taking significant steps to this end. Due to a lack of funds and my father's terminal illness (and subsequent death in December 2016) I had to defer my acceptance at the Manhattan School of Music from 2016 until September 2017. This is my last possible opportunity to pursue my passion, my dream and ultimately, my vocation.


At the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) in New York I will be studying toward a Masters of Music majoring in Classical Performance Voice. This elite two year postgraduate programme focuses predominantly on advancing all aspects of music study and performance skills in a strenuous, yet inspiring curriculum. I strongly believe that it is imperative to be in an environment where not only the voice is nurtured and mastery is obtained, but one is holistically supported throughout the rigorous training process. This is primarily why I have chosen to study at MSM, for their Master of Music programme is designed to develop all areas of vocal technique, whilst offering opportunities to perform in a wide variety of vocal classes. The objective underpinning the School of Music’s philosophy is to ensure that students become thinking artists, who are musically and dramatically self-sufficient; linguistically equipped in foreign languages; knowledgeable about all aspects of opera and the voice; and consequently able to pursue a career in the world’s great opera houses. This resonates deeply with who I am as a singer, musician and performer; for I believe it is essential that all these skills are developed synchronously.

Under the supervision of a competent faculty, this two year programme of study at Manhattan School of Music will enable me to learn and grow in an environment congruous with the real world. Additionally, the focus is upon professional training and the refinement of opera as a musical craft, thus postgraduate students learn to practice their art with technical assurance and communicative power. The School’s emphasis on performance opportunities, whilst developing the professional musician, reveal that this is a place where training and experience are complementary, as each enhances the other. As a singer in training, I not only need, but also want to be applying all the skills I am learning in the studio directly into my practice. Therefore the regular staging of opera, voice department recitals, International Phonetic Alphabet based language programme, opera scene work and departmental collaborations will facilitate to this end.

While I was in New York for auditions at the end of February 2016, I intentionally took lessons with various tutors at the music schools in the city to evaluate the best possible teacher and technician for my voice. Therefore from my own personal experience, I am confident that my voice teacher and supervisor Ruth Golden will be able to equip me experientially with all the skills and technique necessary to further develop and consolidate my voice. This is evidenced primarily in her successful international career and acclaim as a voice teacher as many of her students have subsequently gone on to perform most notably with the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera and the San Francisco Opera. In addition to studying with Ms Golden, I will be provided with further opportunities to sing for and observe world-renowned guest artists. The proximity of MSM to New York City is an important consideration for my postgraduate study. I need to be in an environment conducive to intentional observation and learning through exposure to internationally acclaimed artists and eventually secure valuable internship and performing opportunities once I complete my studies. I am confident that Manhattan School of Music will develop all the skills integral to the future success and longevity of my vocal and teaching career: competent musicianship, technical proficiency and performance mastery.


Ultimately, this course of study will serve to benefit the wider New Zealand music scene. For, intrinsic to my overriding career goal of being a professional musician is the enrichment of the singing community within New Zealand. Already, my experience and influence throughout the country as an adjudicator; musical director and conductor of a Youth Choir; and as a private singing teacher have meant I have been able to empower and equip others to embark upon their own musical careers. Postgraduate study in New York will serve to strengthen this pedagogical background, thus allowing me to move more fully into the role of singer, teacher and mentor within the New Zealand Arts’ community. A dual vocal and teaching career is my foremost goal and I will commit all my powers, energy and resources to this end.

Before I leave New Zealand, I will be performing the role of Cherubino (first cast) in the Eternity Opera Company's production of The Marriage of Figaro. Tickets can be purchased online at: Additionally, I will be presenting a fundraising concert in Christchurch at Knox Church on the afternoon of Sunday 20th August. I would love to see you at these events and please feel free to share with others who may be interested.

Funds received from 'Give a Little' will be gratefully used toward the remaining tuition shortfall of $3890 NZD. Any additional support will facilitate toward study related expenses such as books and supplies, and the cost of living in New York City.

Page created by:

Elisabeth Harris


Considered one of New Zealand’s most promising young mezzo sopranos, Elisabeth is an engaging and exciting performer with a contagious passion for her art.  Born in Christchurch, Elisabeth completed her Masters of Music at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington.  She is currently establishing herself on the professional scene throughout the country as a 2017 Freemasons New Zealand Opera Artist with the New Zealand Opera Company, and as a soloist with the major orchestras and leading choral societies. In September this year, Elisabeth is delighted to be moving to New York to study toward a Masters of Music, majoring in Classical Performance Voice (Opera) at the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Ruth Golden.

Funds will be paid to a verified bank account of Elisabeth Harris.

  • $9,460.00 donated
  • 49 generous donors

$9,460 donated

Open goal


This cause page was created on 10 Jun 2017 and closed at 20:00 NZST (UTC +12:00) on 30 Sep 2017.

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