Maria Okunev (Briggs) is an outstanding young Australian soprano, songwriter and music educator. She has sung with Opera Australia, Pacific Opera, Lyric Opera Weimar and Glyndebourne Opera Festival, UK. She is a multiple prizewinner of Australian National and International opera competitions. Maria was the winner of the MIETTA recital award in 2008 and received her prize from Maestro Richard Bonynge. Maria is well known as a superb recitalist and champion of new Australian repertoire. She has recorded new Australian works for voice and small ensemble with ABC classic FM. She also frequently sings in the ABC live broadcasts. Maria is a frequent guest in the Art Song NSW concert series. Maria has made her television debut in 2010 in a role of a Russian singer in film I Spry – The Rise and Fall of a Master Spy, ABC Television.
Maria is a passionate music educator and has been a director of music with the Australian Youth Choir for 5 years. She has been the director of the vocal studio at the Sydney Conservatorium Academy in 2008 – 2010 and often guests as a vocal conductor and coach in national youth summer music camps. Maria runs a large private studio where she tutors students in voice, piano, theory and composition.
Maria directs Marianna Ensemble – an art quartet that performs Maria’s original works as well as works by other contemporary composers. Her song “Lullaby” has been the winner of the Australian National Song Competition – 2008. Maria’s songs have been selected for the APRA Song Summit conferences in 2010 and 2012. “Marianna Ensemble 2012” album is available on iTunes and through Maria’s website www.okunevmusic.com Maria’s performances of Australian composers can also be obtained from the Australian Music Centre.
Maria is currently undertaking a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She has been invited to undertake a six month international exchange program at the Royal Northern College of Music, UK in September 2013 as part of her Doctoral degree. Maria is researching training of young opera singers.
Listen to Maria sing here.
Tatiana’s letter scene from Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovksy
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