A graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), in both piano and singing, mezzo soprano Kathleen McKellar Ferguson pursued post graduate studies in singing at the Royal College of Music in London. She then pursued a highly successful professional singing career in both opera and on the concert platform before becoming a very sought after singing teacher and vocal coach at home and abroad.
During her performing career, Kathleen worked with most of the national orchestras of the UK and with such eminent conductors as Niklaus Harnoncourt, Sir Charles Groves, Sir David Willcocks, Sir Yehudi Menhuin, Jan Pascal Tortelier, Jos van Immerseel and Sir William Christie. Kathleen sang as guest soloist at many international festivals including the Gstaad Festival, Festival of Sacred Music in Czestochowa (Poland), Queens Festival in Belfast, The Three Choirs Festival, Mozart Festival in Vienna, and also with Les Arts Florissants, Orchestra of RAI in Milan, Tokyo Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Orchestra of Euskede in Spain, St Petersburg Camerata, and Orchestra of the Theatre Royal de le Monnaie in Brussels to name but a few. Her many concerts and recitals include the Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Usher Hall (Edinburgh), Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and City Halls, Theatre Royale de la Monnaie (Brussels), Queens Festival (Belfast), as well as several concert tours to the Middle and Far East. Opera credits include the Aldeburgh Festival, Pavillion Opera, Clonter Opera, English National Opera, Opera Forum (Netherlands), Theatre Royale de la Monnaie in Brussels, Aix-en Provence Festival, Flanders Opera (Antwerp) and Zurich Opera. Kathleen broadcasted regularly for BBC Radio and TV and has made recordings with RAI (Milan), Belgian Radio, French Radio, and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Kathleen, along with her accompanist Peter Bailey, also recorded an album of her beloved Scottish folk songs entitled “Echoes of Scotland” and, with her accompanist Merion Powell, created an album of gospel songs arranged by Merion entitled “When all’s said and done”.
Kathleen has been teaching singing at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland since 2001 and many of her students are now flourishing as international professional singers. Apart from the weekly Performance, Audition and German Lieder classes she takes at RCS, she also gives many master classes at home and abroad and is a regular visitor to Australia working with students at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, the University of Western Australia, the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide, the Melbourne Conservatorium and South Australian Opera. Kathleen has also been vocal coach to many choirs including the National Youth Choir of Scotland, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus.
Outside of her work at RCS, Kathleen is an active council member of the Association of Teachers of Singing (AOTOS) where she mentors singing teachers and young singers in Scotland arranging conferences for their professional development. In 2019 she gave a masterclass at the AOTOS Annual Conference and, in 2020, was heavily involved in organising the International Eurovox Conference to be held in Edinburgh. In 2012 Kathleen also created a highly successful concert series “Classics at Kippen”, the purpose of which is threefold; to give a much needed platform for young singers at the start of their careers, to raise money for charity (over £25k to date) and to provide a wonderful community event of high class music making in Kippen, the village in central Scotland where she lives with her husband, Grant.
Kathleen’s passion for singing and teaching along with her piano skills, extensive knowledge of repertoire and understanding of vocal technique have given her a keen ear for the subtleties of vocal production and artistry. To this end she is very happy to pass on her knowledge and expertise in such a way that her students are given time to be carefully grounded and nurtured so that they can reach their full potential and emerge as the singers and teachers of the future.