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Hooray! We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary in 2023! The celebrations will be themed around the future of arts.

Debi Wong’s doctoral project challenges the traditional culture of classical singing

In her doctoral degree, Wong wanted to question the culture of classical singing by utilizing improvisation and physical theatre.

Photo: Dahlia Katz

Canadian singer and producer Wong’s artistic research included five performance projects and a written thesis that explored how design thinking and devised theatre could disrupt how one practices their craft and the concept of “practice makes perfect” in classical singing culture. 

Using techniques such as improvisation, physical theatre and the exploration of personal experiences, Wong’s devised approach to classical singing and performance allowed her to create a range of programs that included new perspectives on transforming one’s artistic practice. Wong wanted to create tools and exercises that can expand a performer’s artistic range, hone their expressive capacities and deepen their connections to their collaborators and communities. 

“Each performance in my research was a new opportunity to try something new – to break away from preconceived notions of what classical vocal performances should be and iterate on what it could be” says Wong. 

Central to Wong’s process was interdisciplinary collaboration. She notes that involving other performers and artists from diverse disciplines in the creative process created a sense of shared ownership and empowerment.  

“It allowed us to discover new ways of using our voices and creativity and opened up new possibilities for storytelling”, Wong reflects. 

Over the course of the five performances in her research, Wong hoped to encourage singers to question traditional methods, to experiment and discover new ways of using their voices, and work alongside one another to foster a more collaborative and inclusive approach to studying and performing classical music. 

“Although I didn’t know it when I started my research, these performances are all prototypes for the future of storytelling”. 

Debi Wong will defend her doctoral project, “From Werktreue to Prototyping: reimagining the act of practicing in Western Art Music.” on February 25, 2023 in Helsinki Music Centre Organo Hall at 14.00. 

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Debi Wong

Debi Wongin taiteellinen tohtorintutkinto “From Werktreue to Prototyping: reimagining the act of practicing in Western Art Music.” tarkastetaan lauantaina 26.2.2023 klo 14 Helsingin Musiikkitalon Organo-salissa. Tilaisuus on englanninkielinen.

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Debbie Wong