LIBRARY - Reference(s)

Principles and Art of Singing

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Alexander Technique
ISBN 8789389018 / 978-8789389011
Mouritz Bibliography
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Short Description: 
Olga Averino did not know of the Alexander Technique, but her singing method is harmonious with the Technique.
Mouritz description: 
US Russian-born singer Olga Averino (1895-1989) had a long and distinguished singing career. Joe Armstrong writes in his review that 'her approach is remarkably harmonious with the Alexander Technique." (STATNews, May 1991, p. 16).
Publisher Description: 

Though this is not a book directly related to the Alexander Work, the publication, however, of Olga Averino’s manuscript came about through the mediation of teachers of the Alexander Technique who valued her approach to teaching and music and who contributed in making its publication possible.

About the Author
Olga Averino was born into a family of musicians in Moscow in 1895. Her early musical life was influenced by family friends including Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Alexander Siloti, Chaliapin and Josef Lhévinne. Revolution and Civil War forced Mme. Averino to flee Russia to the United States.

During her long career she performed Lieder, Oratorio and Opera. In additon to performing the standard repertoire, she was a pioneer in early and modern music performance.

She worked with the composers Stravinsky Rachmaninoff and Glazounoff. She toured in joint recital with the cellist Piatigorsky. Her accompanist was Alexander Siloti, Liszt’s last pupil. She sang with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Koussevitzky 27 times, including the American premiére of Berg’s Lied der Lulu.

She sang Schoenberg’s Second String Quartet with the Kolisch, Pro Arte, London and Gordon quartets. She taught for more than 6o years. She was the head of the voice department of the Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA. for 38 years. She taught also at Wellesley College, at Middlebury College and she gave lecture series at Harvard University. She sang her last full recital in 1971 at the age of 76. She continued to teach to within days of her death in 1989 at the age of 93.


Principles and Art of Singing by the distinguished soprano Olga Averino should be read by all those Alexander teachers who work with singers - or with any other performers, for that matter. Her approach is remarkably harmonious with the Alexander Technique; in fact, the book was brought to publication as a result of the enthusiastic interest in the manuscript by a group of Alexander teachers both in the US and Denmark. They have found that her message contains important understandings for carrying Alexander's concepts about respiratory re-education further toward actual expression and communication.

Madame Averino's method is concerned chiefly with that central element which distinguishes a skilful and correct performance from a truly electrifying one. She identifies this central element as the Òinflux of vital energyÓ, which she calls ÒimpulseÓ. In her book she describes how impulse can be connected to the breath by way of the imagination to express the feeling of the musical phrase and text. To her, the performer is the imagination, and the imagination alone.

As Alexander teachers, many of us have seen the results that a mechanical approach to the elements of respiration and vocal production can sometimes have on performers. We are often at a loss when it comes to leading our pupils toward the kind of Òcompletely communicable and contagious performanceÓ that Madame Averino makes her goal. This book provides a refreshing vocabulary for the process, and we are extremely grateful for phrases like: Ò'Quality always needs time, not only in music but also in life itself.Ó

Madame Averino performed and taught in Boston for most of her life after escaping the Russian revolution in 1918. She sang lieder, oratorio, and opera as well as pioneering in early and modem music. The Boston Symphony, as well as other major American orchestras, engaged her frequently as soloist, She sang her last full recital in 1971 at the age of 76, while her teaching career extended until her recent death at the age of 93, which also seems to say something for the efficacy of her approach.

1991 © Joe Armstrong ( Reproduced with permission.

This edition © Mouritz 2008-2014. All rights reserved.