Nov. 8, 2021Print | PDF
Emily Hamper was raised in a family of professional musicians near Vancouver, BC. She started playing the piano in early childhood, and grew up captivated by such things as symphonic music and great stories. Soon after graduating from UBC’s music department, having spent most of her time there collaborating with friends in their recitals, she was bitten by the “opera bug” upon seeing a production of Peter Grimes. She was thrilled to discover that she could combine the early passions with the later into a career as a vocal coach/accompanist. She left Vancouver in 1995 for specialized training at the University of Toronto’s Opera Division, professional programs such as Merola in San Francisco, and language schools in Europe. Her strong musicianship, combined with a thorough knowledge of the operatic repertoire and an ear for languages, soon established her as a sought-after professional in this niche field. Emily has coached and performed with some of Canada’s finest singers over the past 25 years, and has worked with dozens of Canadian and international musical organizations as a coach, assistant conductor, rehearsal pianist, and performer, including two national recital tours. Abroad, she has held positions at opera programs in Europe, and accompanied recitals in Paris, Prague, and Australia. No stranger to contemporary works, Emily was awarded the Best Collaborative Pianist prize at the 2011 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, and has workshopped several new Canadian operas. With her husband, baritone Phillip Addis, she co-commissioned a new Canadian song cycle in 2013. A passionate teacher and mentor, Emily has been on the faculty of the University of Toronto, The Banff Centre, L’Université de Montréal, the Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier Lyrique, Toronto Summer Music, Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, and Wilfrid Laurier University, where she is now Opera Music Director and Conductor. The COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges for all performers. New experiences for Emily included handling the complete transition of an in-person Don Giovanni to a ground-breaking digital production, as Artistic Administrator and Principal Coach for Brott Opera, and leading the Opera Laurier 2020-21 class through a filmed, complete performance of Dialogues des Carmélites. Since moving to Stratford in 2010 Emily has been delighted to reinstate orchestral and chamber pianism to her slate of professional activities, in performances with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, London Symphonia, and INNERchamber. In 2015 she co-founded the Stratford Summer Music Vocal Academy, a selective annual training program for singers and pianists, where she continues to serve as Co-Artistic Director and Principal Coach.