Dennis O’Neill and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa launch new Vocal Studies degree


Last night, Welsh Tenor Dennis O’Neill, Director of the Wales International Academy of Voice (WIAV) was joined by World renowned Soprano and President of the Academy, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to launch a new and innovative undergraduate degree in Vocal Studies.

WIAV launch group

Guests gathered at the prestigious event which was held at the Mansion House in Cardiff to celebrate the inclusion of the first undergraduate degree in WIAV’S impressive performance portfolio.

Part of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, WIAV is a world-class institution that selects a limited number of aspiring professional opera students from all over the world to come and study for a postgraduate qualification at its base in Cardiff each year. 

From September 2018, WIAV will offer a BA degree Vocal Studies - a full-time degree programme that runs over a period of two years rather than three using a more intensive study programme than typical BA programmes.

“We were delighted to launch the BA Vocal Studies degree course last night in Cardiff – especially as we were able to have the pleasure of the company of our patron, the wonderful Dame Kiri Te Kanawa” says Dave Taylor, WIAV’S recently appointed Programme Director and Academy Manager.

“WIAV has such a strong reputation in training exceptional singers at the early stages of their professional careers but until now, we’ve only been able to train them at a postgraduate level.  It’s therefore great to be in a position to recruit students at an undergraduate level to help nurture young talent and to help them reach a high professional standard after only two years of study.”

The new undergraduate model gives students more regular contact time each week which prepares them vocally and musically. Teaching involves group lessons, one-to-one coaching, masterclasses, workshops, lectures and seminars. Students also undertake personal study and practice and all modules have been specifically designed to be completely relevant to the developing singer.

WIAV is highly regarded for its provision of a highly specialised and unique environment which helps the development of young singers and accompanists at an early stage in their professional career. Students work with the best vocal technicians, coaches, visiting eminent conductors and international stars from the operatic world in order to develop their talent to the highest professional standard, including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Susan Bullock, Ryland Davies, Della Jones and Joyce Fieldsend.

The BA Vocal Studies is a brand new programme that includes subject areas such as Vocal Technique; languages (Italian, French, German, Spanish and Russian); general musicianship; stagecraft; auditioning skills and career management as well as the history and repertoire of the singing voice.

WIAV launch Dave Taylor

“Last night’s event wasn’t only about the launch of a new BA programme, it was also about the re-invention of an Academy. Education - as well as the Creative Arts Industry - is evolving at apace, and therefore we need to adapt to the ever growing demands of that industry,” adds Dave Taylor from WIAV. 

“This is where WIAV has the opportunity to not only continue to be a centre of excellence, but also evolving to be the centre of choice for young Artists, preparing them to be ‘Industry Ready’. This two-year BA system has already been trialled at UWTSD’s Welsh medium performance centre, Canolfan Berfformio Cymru, and has proven to be a great success. I strongly believe that a new generation of artists are being prepared, ready for the challenge of ‘real life’ within the Creative Industries,” he adds.

As well as training students’ voices, WIAV also prepares students for the challenge of life on an exciting world stage by being given the opportunity to perform at a range of recitals and concerts.  They can also benefit from the range of partnerships and links that WIAV has with companies and national organisations including Wales Millennium Centre; BBC Wales; S4C; National Museum Wales and Mid Wales Opera.

To find out more about the new BA Vocal Studies as well as the postgraduate courses on offer at WIAV, please go to  

Further Information

For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies by emailing / 01267 676908 / 07449 998476