Dalwood-Wylie American Institute of Musical Studies Award (AIMS) 2016 Winner – Sylvie Humphries – Soprano


What did winning this award mean to you?
Winning the 2016 American Institute of Musical Studies award from the The Opera Foundation for young Australians was an honour.

In 2014 I was a finalist of The Foundation’s Lady Fairfax New York Scholarship and this positive experience and encouraged me to audition in Europe in 2015 where I was accepted by the Swiss Opera Studio.

I was therefore able to return to Sydney for the Foundation’s 2016 Auditions and audition for the AIMS award showing the development of my craft over the last two years.

What is your view of The Opera Foundation for young Australians?
I believe the Foundation is a unique organisation because it puts its applicants and winners at the forefront. The Foundation always demands professionalism and a high standard from all applicants and this goes hand in hand with the support and career shaping the Foundation provides in return.

What was the experience like?
The AIMS summer program in Graz, Austria is an experience like no other! It is a melting-pot of different American cultures. There were participants from many different states as well as students from South America. I have moved to different countries throughout my life and had visited both the East and West coast of the US previously and this certainly allowed me to reap the most from the experience although I must admit it was still pretty full-on.

The intense side to it was not so much the American side of it (which I loved!) but more the result of over a 100 hundred singers coming together for six weeks…! I was blessed to share the suite with wonderful girl; we both helped to make each other’s AIMS experience all the more rewarding and we remain in contact. Graz is a beautiful city with great hikes and cultural venues to visit- there was so much to do if I needed a bit of time out. The standard of the singers at AIMS is really high and everyone was there to learn and to contribute to the highest possible standard of music-making and artistry…I cannot remember how many concerts I was invited to participate in… from performing Obradors in a Spanish concert at a Count’s mansion in rural Austria to performing Adele with the AIMS orchestra in the operetta concert at the Graz’ Kasematten. The 6 weeks spent in Austria require a great deal of mindfulness: if you are not in the moment to learn but also laugh then the 6 weeks will fly by without breathing them in.

What opportunities has the experience presented?
At AIMS I was provided with the opportunity to audition for two agents and the feedback allowed me to start my second year of the opera studio in Switzerland feeling focused. I have my first professional role as Celia in Mozart’s Lucio Silla with Theater Orchester Biel Solothurn in 2017. I am very grateful to the Dalwood-Wylie Foundation for the opportunity to take part in AIMS 2016. I will be able to put the skills I acquired in the summer program to use in the role with Theater Orchester Biel Solothurn.

Thank you to the Dalwood-Wylie foundation for supporting this wonderful Award and all at the Foundation that are involved in making this happen and most importantly continue for other young Australians.

Message from Helena Wylie of the Dalwood-Wylie Foundation
“I have always loved a combination of great music and great drama. Opera, in my opinion, is the most ambitious of all the arts, and is the international benchmark of cultural genres. I think it is concerned with attempting to give artistic expression to what it means to be human.  I support the American Institute of Musical Studies Award provided by The Opera Foundation for young Australian’s because the 6 week summer school in Graz, Austria, provides students with exceptional training and development in their art. I believe it is an experience that takes the performer to the next level.”