photo by Ann Baggley
Emily Hamper was raised in a family of professional musicians near Vancouver, BC. She started playing the piano at a young age, and grew up captivated by such things as symphonic music and great stories. Soon after graduating from UBC’s music department, having spent most of her time there collaborating with friends in their recitals, she was bitten by the “opera bug” after seeing a production of Peter Grimes. She was thrilled to discover that she could combine the early passions with the later into a career as a vocal coach/accompanist. She left Vancouver in 1995 for specialized training at the University of Toronto’s Opera Division, professional programs such as Merola in San Francisco, and language schools in Europe. Her strong musicianship, combined with a thorough knowledge of the operatic repertoire and an ear for languages, soon established her as a sought-after professional in this niche ﬁeld.
Emily has coached and performed with some of Canada’s ﬁnest singers over the past 25 years, and has worked with dozens of Canadian and international musical organizations as a coach, assistant conductor, rehearsal pianist, and performer, including two national recital tours. Abroad, she has held positions at opera programs in Europe, and accompanied recitals in Paris, Prague, and Australia. No stranger to contemporary works, Emily was awarded the Best Collaborative Pianist prize at the 2011 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, and has workshopped several new Canadian operas. Along with her husband, baritone Phillip Addis, she commissioned a new Canadian song cycle in 2013. A passionate teacher and mentor, Emily has been on the faculty of the University of Toronto, The Banff Centre, L’Université de Montréal, the Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier Lyrique, Toronto Summer Music, Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, and Wilfrid Laurier University, where she was recently appointed Music Director and Assistant Conductor of Opera.
In 2020, Emily accepted the position of Artistic Administrator with Brott Opera, adeptly handling the complete transition of an in-person opera training program to a fully online course, and overseeing a groundbreaking digital production of Don Giovanni. Since moving to Stratford in 2010 Emily has been delighted to reinstate orchestral and chamber pianism to her slate of professional activities, in performances with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, London Symphonia, and INNERchamber. In 2015 she co-founded the Stratford Summer Music Vocal Academy, a selective annual training program for singers and pianists, which she continues as Co-Artistic Director and principal coach.