ISMI co-founders and long-time friends, Betty Allison and Melanie Cancade, have been collaborating on musical projects since their first meeting at the University of Victoria nearly 20 years ago. From recitals to international competitions to recordings, the pair have worked as a piano/voice duo, first as students and then as professionals. Despite their separate careers paths, they consistently put aside time to make music together as much as possible, especially when they return home to Vancouver Island for family visits. Now, Betty and Melanie wish to share their years of education and experience through a collaborative, holistic approach to creating music with young musicians in the place they call home.
Canadian soprano, Betty Waynne Allison, “combines it all — voice, acting ability, presence and beauty — in one highly impressive package” (Toronto Sun). A graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble, major credits to her name include the world premiere of Mary’s Wedding with Pacific Opera Victoria, the title role in Floyd’s Susannah with Florentine Opera, Alice in Verdi’s Falstaff with L’Opèra Thèâtre de Metz Mètropole, and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with Edmonton Opera.
Betty has performed a varied repertoire, demonstrating her natural ability and talent, from the Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), to Vixen (Cunning Little Vixen) and Elizabeth I (Glorina). She is equally comfortable on the concert stage, with her rich and florid interpretation of pieces such as Mahler’s Symphony VIII, Brahms’ Requiem, and Gubaidulia’s Galgenlieder À 3.
Teaching music has always been Betty’s passion and calling. Over the course of her performance career, she has continued to teach privately and remain involved in music education. Since receiving her bachelor’s degrees in education and music from the University of Victoria, she has gone on to teach voice at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) and Western University (London, ON) and is currently on faculty at Wendy Nielsen’s Vocal Techniques Workshop in New Brunswick.
Betty is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto, focusing her research on the connection between vocal production and a singer’s mental health. Her research explores non-musical stressors and the coping strategies that elite singers use to maintain their careers and voices.
For more information, please visit www.bettywaynneallison.com
British Columbian pianist, Melanie Cancade, is currently one of Southwestern Ontario's most sought after collaborative pianists, appearing in concert extensively throughout the region with both aspiring and established singers. Since 2010, she has been coaching vocalists at Western University in London, Ontario; specifically, Melanie’s focus includes, but is not limited to, cultivating interpretive and analytical skills for poetry, song, and style, curating recitals, facilitating self-directed learning strategies, and offering professional and personal support. On top of all of this, she maintains a busy performing schedule—for instance, most recently, she has appeared with London Symphonia and The London Music Machine. Prior to her time in London, however, Melanie’s experiences and education comes from across Canada and Europe.
After completing her Bachelor’s of Music at the University of Victoria, Melanie received her Master’s in Piano Accompaniment from McGill University under the guidance of Michael McMahon. While in Montreal, she worked as a vocal accompanist at McGill and musical director at Player’s Theatre, performed with Liederwölfe Opera Collective, and participated in other community-based musical productions. Beyond Montreal, she has been invited to further her studies at programs such as the Music Academy of the West, The Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, Vancouver International Song Institute, and the Franz Schubert Institut in Austria.
Playing to Canadian, American, Italian, and Austrian audiences with features on CBC Radio and Bravo Television, Melanie has also performed locally with Pacific Opera Victoria’s touring productions of “La Cenerentola” and “Carmen”, as well as acting as rehearsal pianist for their Young Artist Program. Other performance credits include Mozart's “Don Giovanni”, Berlioz’s “Orphée et Eurydice”, Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last Five Years”, Andrew Lloyd Webber's “Song and Dance”, and Vaughn Williams’ “Riders to the Sea”.