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Libero Canto

Libero Canto
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The Libero Canto Approach is a way of teaching singing that liberates the vocal and musical potential of singers who wish to develop singing as an art form, and that makes the joy of singing accessible to anyone who seeks it. The name Libero Canto comes from the phrase, “la via al libero canto,” the path to free singing. This is how Lajos Szamosi, who developed the approach in Budapest before the Second World War, referred to his work. The Libero Canto Approach is not defined by any one method or methods, but is based on certain core principles and practices. Libero Canto is a path, a process, and an attitude toward singing and music making. It is a humanistic, holistic approach that values authentic expression and the unfolding of individual potential, and trusts that if we imagine music clearly and allow our true, vital impulses to come through, the wisdom of the body will carry us toward increasing freedom in singing.


The Libero Canto Approach first came to New York City in 1990 when the
Orchestra of St. Luke’s invited Edvin Szamosi, son of the founder, to teach a month-
long course here. Mr. Szamosi returned every year for the next 18 years until his
retirement. Now there is a growing community of teachers and students in New
York who work with the Libero Canto Approach. We offer individual lessons as well
as introductory workshops, and our students are invited every year to participate in a
spring concert.

Members of the Libero Canto community also regularly give concerts. Most recently:
Kinga Cserjési and Deborah Carmichael have performed the Pergolesi Stabat Mater
in New York City, Vienna, and Florence; Kinga, Deborah, Marisa Michelson, and
Sara Serpa have performed a unique program of music by Claudio Monteverdi and
Béla Bartók in New York City and Amagansett, NY. We also produce an annual
series of house concerts, “Cozy Concerts,” for our colleagues and students.

Some of the basic principles of the Libero Canto Approach are:

  • Singing is free when it is unhindered by any physical, emotional, or mental obstacle.   
  • Freedom in singing can be achieved by releasing excess tension and force, clarifying musical imagination, deepening self-awareness, and allowing authentic impulses to unfold. 
  • Singing is a natural capacity of human beings.
  • The body knows how to sing if we do not interfere.
  • There is no free singing without free breathing.
  • There is no free singing without gentle phonation.
  • “When the heart sings, you cannot lie.”  Pier Francesco Tosi
  • “Imagine, imagine, imagine, nothing else.”  Edvin Szamosi
  • Singing is making music.  Voice arises as a by-product of this activity; it is not an end unto itself.

Audience comments for our Monteverdi & Bartók program:
"There is something very special going on here. You all sang each phrase as if you
were saying something, and as if you meant it. There is a lot of integrity in this work.
It’s rare to hear this kind of music making."

- Jia Kim, cellist

"The sound was completely different from anything I’ve ever heard. Different and
absolutely exquisite!"

- Ronn Yedidia, composer, pianist

Audience comments for our sacred program:
"I was struck by the seamless integration of the singing and the ensemble. Rather than
vocalists singing on top of the ensemble, the voices blended beautifully with the
instrumentalists, creating a more cohesive sound.  The effortlessness and fluidity of
the singing allowed me to experience the musical moment with full awareness."

- Shannon Pelcher, student

"I felt increasingly, as the concert went on, that the whole space was singing."

- Lily Arbisser, soprano

March 2018 Pisa, Italy
"It was so moving. I have heard the Stabat Mater thousands of times, but I have
never felt it sung like this, because you sing with your soul, and that was so beautiful.
Thank you."

- Audience member

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* Libero Canto Szamosi® is the registered trademark of Deborah Carmichael

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