Monica Whicher is Assistant Professor of Voice, Teaching Steam and Chair of Voice Studies at the University of Toronto. In addition to Chair duties and Studio Instruction, she teaches all undergraduate courses in English Song. In 2019, she received the Faculty of Music Teaching Award for Part-time Faculty.
As a teacher of singing and as a life-long musician, I strive to instil in students the certainty that our work is relevant, formative, meaningful and worth every second of the rigour it demands. My goal: to encourage each student’s focus, curiosity, individuality, accountability, and self-awareness in (and out of) the studio and classroom.
A graduate of the University of Toronto, where she studied with renowned Canadian soprano Lois Marshall, Whicher was a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio and studied at the Banff School of Fine Arts, the Britten-Pears School of Music, and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. She received the George London Award and was a grateful recipient of Canadian Aldeburgh Foundation Grants, Sullivan Foundation Grants, and a Canada Council Career Development Grant.
“In the role of Anna Maurant, soprano Monica Whicher sang with strong, unclouded purpose, her voice a sheet of sadness and despair…vividly capturing the aria’s striking, modernized Puccinian colours. Pure, uncomplicated and direct, Whicher gave brave voice to her Anna.” Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto
Monica Whicher received a Juno Award nomination for Singing Somers Theatre (Centrediscs) and has been nominated twice for the Dora Award for Outstanding Female Performance. She is featured on the 2017 Juno-nominated Breathe: Music for Voices and Early Instruments by James Rolfe (Centrediscs), singing Dido in Aeneas and Dido - a role she premiered - and was critically acclaimed for her portrayals of Mérope in Lully’s Persée (EuroArts DVD) and Telaïre in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux (both Naxos),
“Monica Whicher is certainly the most beautiful ‘Télaïre’ to be found on disc… Whicher’s voice has a gorgeous timbre, an expansive range, and a facility to embellish one can only admire. The sublime “Tristes apprêts” provides just one of the big moments on this recording. This interpretive style – and indeed it is a style – demonstrates the evolution, over the last twenty years, of vocal technique required for classic French opera.” L’Avant-Scène Opéra no. 221
Other recordings include Lullabies and Carols for Christmas, with renowned harpist Judy Loman (Naxos), Christos Hatzis’ Erotikos Logos (Marquis), The Art Songs of Mykola Lysenko, The Art Songs of Yakov Stepovyi, The Galicians l and ll, (Ukrainian Art Song Project.), and the Juno-Award winning CDs Mozart’s Magic Fantasy, Beethoven Lives Upstairs and Daydreams and Lullabies (Classical Kids). In July of 2020, Iranian composer Sheida Gharachedaghi’s opera, The Fairies, was released by the Persian-Dutch Network with funding by the Iranian Women’s Studies Foundation. This opera was premiered and recorded over 30 years ago with then-Faculty of Music student Monica Whicher singing the nameless soprano lead. (“Warm-timbred and vocally attractive, Monica Whicher is especially memorable.” Opera News, October 2020).
As a recitalist, Monica Whicher enjoys rewarding and diverse encounters with old-and-new Song repertoire and treasures her 25-year collaboration with the Aldeburgh Connection and with pianists including Steven Philcox and Liz Upchurch. She has premiered new works by Canadian composers John Beckwith (Stacey; A Man and His Flute), Omar Daniel (My Angel), John Greer (Studies and Rambles of Wasagewanoqua; Liebesleid-Lieder), Gary Kulesha (Blue Heron Near the Old Mill Bridge) and James Rolfe (Aeneas and Dido; Orpheus and Eurydice), among others. 20th and 21st Century Chamber and orchestral performances, many recorded for CBC radio, include works by Kelly-Marie Murphy, Claude Vivier, Anthony Davis, Lothar Klein, Mario Davidovsky, Steve Reich, Alexina Louie, Osvaldo Goljov, Gavin Bryars, Jeffrey Ryan, Henryk Górecki, Christos Hatzis, Richard Strauss, Valentyn Silvestrov, Sophia Gubaidulina and Larysa Kuzmenko.
A frequent adjudicator and guest clinician, Monica Whicher’s students have gone on to sing and teach in North America and Europe at institutions including the Canadian Opera Company, Calgary Opera, Vancouver Opera, Bard College, Cornell University, L’Atelier Lyrique de Montréal and the Metropolitan Opera.