The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation supports singers who have already demonstrated both talent and a complete dedication to their art.

We rely on recommendations from respected music teachers to identify singers with exceptional potential.

Led by Dame Kiri, the Foundation consults with teachers, music and singing schools and performing organisations in order to identify young New Zealand singers with exceptional talent and career potential.

Recommended singers are generally in the process of finishing their tertiary study and have a high profile with good results from national singing competitions. They should be focused on attending an overseas singing institution for advanced classical vocal studies. The Foundation does not generally accept unsolicited applications. Young singers in order to receive the ongoing support of the Foundation will need to demonstrate they have outstanding focus, drive and initiative.

Recommended singers are invited to provide copies of a recording of three contrasting pieces, with piano accompaniment. Recordings are reviewed by the Foundation’s artistic panel who will make a recommendation as to future action. This may range from advice on additional training through to recommendation for a grant to support further study. If a singer is recommended for a grant, a formal study proposal and budget is requested.

The development of a voice

The Foundation is often asked for advice about when to start training a voice for opera.  Our recommendation is to leave formal training until late adolescence.  If a child has an appealing voice and enjoys singing, encourage him or her to join a school or church choir.  Don’t try and ‘force’ the voice, and resist the temptation to encourage your child to mimic adult opera singers.  You run the risk of permanent damage to the developing vocal structures.