Nina Kanter is a lyric soprano, music educator and producer. Born into a musical Jewish family in London, she is the great-great granddaughter of the celebrated Polish-Yiddish author and playwright, Sholem Asch.
In 2022 Nina joined the Doctoral Research Programme (PhD candidate) at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her research focusses on Western classical music education in non-Western environments.
Nina is the founder and director of the Art Song Festival, a new festival aiming to promote art song in India and spotlight Indian performers and composers. Launched in 2020 but delayed by the pandemic, in 2021 the festival returned online in a new partnership between KMMC and Trinity Laban International Academies, featuring vocal masterclasses, a composition workshop and a vocal competition, with a combined reach of over 200,000 views to date. The 2022 festival was held in July live at KM Music Conservatory in Chennai, again in partnership with Trinity Laban International Academies, and supported young singers, pianists and composers through a series of masterclasses and a performance competition, with guest faculty Patricia Rozario OBE, Karl Lutchmayer, Jennifer Hamilton, James Bunch and Reena Esmail. This year’s festival also featured a mini concert tour, with song performances at the Bangalore International Centre and Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, including the world premiere of songs by Indian composers written for the festival. During this trip Nina also joined tenor Sandeep Gurrapadi in Mumbai to deliver a devising workshop for young performers on ‘Appreciating Sound’, for Avid Learning and the Royal Opera House, Mumbai.
Nina has recently been appointed as the newest trustee of Songbound, a charity which supports some of India’s most marginalised children and local musicians through choir projects. She is also a mentor for Target Oxbridge, which supports black students in their university applications to Oxford and Cambridge.
Nina is currently a vocal teacher on the Musical Theatre programme at the London College of Music (University of West London), vocal coach for Teddington Choral Society, interim musical director of the Crouch End Singers and A-Chord, and was recently visiting vocal teacher at North London Collegiate School (maternity cover). She is a member of the professional quartet at St Giles in the Fields, Soho, a newly appointed Cantorial Soloist for Edgeware and Hendon Reform Synagogue, and regularly performs with Philharmonia Voices and the Philharmonia Chorus (as a member of their professional singer scheme) for concerts in London and internationally. As a vocal animateur, she is currently leading on the Joy of Jewish Singing project for Jewish Care working with care home residents and staff over several months.
In 2019-2021, Nina was a faculty member at KM Music Conservatory in Chennai (founded by Indian musical icon A.R. Rahman), where she lectured in western classical voice, music history and musicianship, and founded the vocal ensemble Vox Madras. During her time in India, Nina performed alongside Patricia Rozario OBE and Mark Troop for the Art Song Festival launch concert, appeared as a guest artist for the Bangalore International Centre’s Beethoven Variations series with pianist Karl Lutchmayer, conducted Vox Madras in concerts around Chennai, and was a mentor for the SIFF Young Artiste talent competition, working with young Indian singers.
In 2021 Nina was awarded a distinction for her Postgraduate Certificate in Performance Teaching from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and in 2020 she was awarded the FHEA (Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy). As an Opera Prelude Young Artist, she recently gave the online lecture-recital, When East meets West: Bringing Opera to Chennai, exploring the cultural dynamics of teaching Western music in India.
Winner of second prize in the 2018 North International Music Competition, Nina is a Britten-Pears Young Artist, an Opera Prelude Young Artist and was an ENOA Artist at Teatr Wielki, Polish National Opera. She also trained with English National Opera’s Opera Works programme, with Lyric Opera Studio Weimar and with the Glyndebourne Academy young singers programme.
Nina graduated from the Royal Academy of Music’s Intensive Masters Programme in summer 2018, where she was awarded Distinction and the Grabowsky Connell Prize for consistent high achievement. During her studies Nina was a Josephine Baker Trust Artist and a prizewinner in the Joan Chissell Schumann Lieder Prize. Previously Nina read Music at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, graduating with first class honours and the Sir Rudolph Peters’ Prize for Music .
Whilst at the Academy, Nina studied with Professor Kate Paterson and Professor Joseph Middleton. Her previous teachers have included Jacqueline Bremar, Michael Lloyd and Professor Richard Stokes. In recent masterclasses Nina has worked with Helmut Deutsch, Bernarda Fink, Graham Johnson, Ewa Podleś, Amanda Roocroft and Neil Shicoff.
Recent and forthcoming operatic appearances include Tatyana in Tchaikovsy’s Eugene Onegin for Instant Opera, Norma in Bellini’s Norma for RAM Vocal Faculty Opera Scenes; Santuzza in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana for Hampstead Garden Opera (nominee: Best Opera Production, Off West End Theatre Awards) and in excerpts for the Italian Cultural Institute, London.
Other appearances include Erste Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte; Clorinda in Rossini’s La Cenerentola and opera galas with the Thüringer Symphoniker Saalfeld-Rudolstadt for Lyric Opera Studio Weimar; Erste Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for the ENO Opera Works showcase at the Bloomsbury Theatre; Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Alcina in Handel’s Alcina, both for ENO Opera Works scenes; First Woman/Chorus in Mussorgsky’s Boris Gudunov with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Jakub Hrůša at the Royal Festival Hall; Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin for Cambridge University Opera Society; Giulietta in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann and opera gala performances for the first annual Enfield Choral and Orchestral Festival with Southgate Opera; Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and the Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, both for Glyndebourne Academy scenes at Glyndebourne’s Ebert Room; Zweite Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for Brent Opera, and Ninfa/Echo and Euridice/La Musica (cover) in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Mary (cover) in Vaughan Williams’ Hugh the Drover, both for Hampstead Garden Opera.
In recital, highlights include performances of Slavic song at the Aldeburgh Festival and for the Boas recital series at 22 Mansfield Street, and Schubert lieder with pianist James Cheung for the Oxford Lieder Festival. Nina has appeared with the Royal Academy of Music lunchtime concert series, the Song in the City and St Giles-in-the-Fields recital series, and performed selections from Dvorak’s Gypsy Songs and Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder for the Brel Academy of Song in Toulouse.
In concert, Nina’s performances include Rossini’s Stabat Mater for the Guernsey Choral Society, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonnelle for the Camden Choir at St Paul’s, Covent Garden (both as a Josephine Baker Trust Artist) and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio for the Barnes Music Festival. Other performances include Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Rutter’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Magnificat.
During her studies at Cambridge Nina performed as a soloist internationally and around the UK, including appearances on Radio 3 broadcasts, at the York Early Music Festival and Oundle International Festival and on recordings including Shchedrin’s The Sealed Angel for Delphian Records, performing with the Gonville and Caius College Chapel Choir under Geoffrey Webber.
Nina is extremely grateful for the support of The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, The Nicholas Boas Trust, The John Wates Charitable Trust, The Kathleen Trust, The Mario Lanza Education Foundation, The Grace Wyndham Goldie Trust Fund, the Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust and an anonymous donor together with Aldeburgh Music.
Concert promoters – if you wish to include this biography in a programme, please contact Nina to ensure you receive the most up-to-date version.