Julia - 'NAIP encourages me to keep asking myself fundamental questions'

The Master New Audiences & Innovative Practice (NAIP) offers me the freedom to explore where my artistic path will take me and encourages me to keep asking myself fundamental questions about what I want to pursue artistically, while supporting the process of finding the answers to those questions.’ Julia (Lia Pale) is a singer and is in the first year of her Master NAIP. Here she talks about her crossover projects, ‘musical prejudice’ and making connections with people.

Path between two worlds
‘I studied in Vienna. I’m a jazz vocalist, but have also had classical voice training. My career, or chosen niche, started just as I was about to leave for my exchange year in Gothenburg in Sweden. I had the opportunity to sing Schubert’s Winterreise, playing with jazz musicians and working with Mathias Rüegg, an arranger who adapted and rearranged the Schubert songs for us. Working on this classical/jazz crossover completely changed my artistic direction. I have continued with this project for the last seven years. Together with Rüegg, we also worked on Schumann and Brahms, and completed our ‘Kunstlied trilogy’ in 2019.’

‘So you could say I am a crossover singer. I was on a path between the worlds of classical music/Kunstlied and jazz, and after seven intense years I really wanted to check whether my next musical steps were going to take me in the same direction. I found the Master NAIP through another singer, Nora Fischer, who had graduated from the programme and was also working in the crossover world. This Master’s programme is asking me all of the questions that are so important to me now, for example whether this is the path I really want to follow, does it make sense for me, is it where I feel I have something to say, and what are my next artistic steps. So that’s why I have ended up here after seven years of intensive work on Kunstlied.’

Julia 'I am a crossover singer. I was on a path between the worlds of classical music/Kunstlied and jazz, and after seven intense years I really wanted to check whether my next musical steps were going to take me in the same direction.'

Musical prejudice
A component of most of the Master’s programmes at the Royal Conservatoire, including the Master NAIP, is the ‘Master Project’, in which students are expected to develop their own project that combines artistic development, research and professional integration. ‘My project and research are based on my own experience. I never know whether what I do is ‘allowed’. I always experienced a kind of ‘musical prejudice’. When I sang my crossover Schubert in a jazz context, some people would say it was conservative or elitist and had no place in a jazz setting. And when I sang it in a classical context such as a concert hall, some people would say that this is not how you are supposed to sing Schubert, like I was breaking the rules. Of course I understand why people might see it that way, but to me it doesn’t matter when it’s music, when it’s ultimately a song. So I’m conducting research into the differences and similarities in these kinds of structures so that I can hopefully create some mutual understanding.’

Julia: 'I feel the group in this Master’s programme offers this feeling of community, even though every one of us has chosen a very different artistic path.'

Connecting
‘I had been busy with my singing projects for the past seven years, so this has been a very long ‘study pause’. But I’m so glad to be here. I helps so much just knowing that there are people out there from all over the world, who are all doing something specifically because it’s their passion. Because I wasn’t at school and surrounded by this diverse community for the past seven years, I see the importance of this so much more clearly now.’

Julia sees an important role for the conservatoires in helping students to connect with people who are already in the business. ‘Schools cannot be made responsible for the amount of luck that everyone needs in order to ‘make it’. But what schools can do is build a community, with the teachers and by bringing in other professionals, and connect the students with them. Sometimes we start out thinking we have to record an album or something like that, but it starts with connecting. My seven years of performing started with me just asking Mathias Rüegg if I could sing for him. I ‘auditioned’ with a song by Bob Dylan, who is neither a classical nor a jazz singer. On top of that, auditions are not very common in the jazz scene, but this simple appointment launched my carreer. This connecting of people is also what the Royal Conservatoire does so well. I feel so lucky with the people I get to meet. I also think it is very important to be engaged with whatever it is one is practising or creating. I feel the group in this Master’s programme offers this feeling of community, even though every one of us has chosen a very different artistic path. Simply put, what connects us all is music.’

Interested? Go to our 'Apply now' pages for more information about the Royal Conservatoire and the Master New Audiences & Innovative Practice (NAIP).