Pianist, vocal coach and pedagogue Liz Upchurch performs with the top Canadian and international vocal artists and is currently in her 20th season as Head of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. She performed her first major recital at the age of eight, one year after having accepting a coveted place at the Centre for Young Musicians, a music school for gifted children in London, England. She continued her training at the Royal Academy of Music, where she was an award-winning pianist, receiving top prizes in both solo piano and chamber music.
Liz Upchurch has been on the music staff for over 150 operas in both European and Canadian opera houses. In 1992, she came to Canada to study art song at the Banff Centre for the Arts, where she met her mentor, Martin Isepp, who introduced and guided her love for opera.
For 20 years, Liz Upchurch has trained an entire generation of Canadian singers and pianists as Head of the COC Ensemble Studio. In addition to training singers for their first major operatic roles on stage, she also nurtures their artistry through recital, in particular as part of the COC’s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. She has curated and performed in over 100 concerts since the series’ inception, working alongside some of today’s most significant operatic voices, like Adrianne Pieczonka, Barbara Hannigan, Sondra Radvanovsky and Susan Bullock, as well as with composers John Adams, Kaija Saariaho and Ana Sokolović.
In addition to performing, Liz Upchurch is a hightly sought-after teacher. She is frequently asked to give masterclasses in all of Canada’s major arts institutions and has taught alongside international artists and other respected teachers.
A passionate advocate for composers, Liz Upchurch has also been a performer and collaborator in many new Canadian creations, from the art song of the late Canadian composer Derek Holman, to the collaboration and performance of major new works such as Ana Sokolović’s song cycle “Dawn Always Begins n the Bones”. The making of this work can be seen in the YouTube documentary, “The Creation of Dawn Always Begins in the Bones.”