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Kathleen McKellar Ferguson

Lecturer in Vocal Studies


A graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), in both piano (with Lawrence Glover) and singing (with Elizabeth Izatt), mezzo-soprano, Kathleen McKellar Ferguson, then qualified with honours as a class teacher before pursuing post-graduate studies in singing (with Marion Studholme) at the Royal College of Music in London. Whilst there she won several awards including a Countess of Munster Scholarship. She then studied with Margaret Hyde and 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 both at home and abroad.


During her performing career, Kathleen worked with most of the national orchestras of the UK as well as 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 la Monnaie in Brussels to name but a few. She also sang with eminent conductors Niklaus Harnoncourt, Sir Charles Groves, Sir David Willcocks, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Jan Pascal Tortelier, Jos van Immerseel, Sylvain Chamberlain and Sir William Christie and was 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 in UK and Mozart Festival in Vienna. As well as several concert tours to the Middle East, her many concerts and recitals include the Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Albert Hall (all in London), Usher Hall (Edinburgh), Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and City Halls, Theatre Royale de la Monnaie (Brussels), Queens Festival (Belfast), Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Hermitage Theatre and Philharmonia Hall (St Petersburg) and Suntory Hall (Tokyo). Opera credits include The Aldeburgh Festival, Pavillion Opera, English Bach Festival, 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 also with RAI (Milan), Belgian Radio and French Radio. Recordings include Beethoven Symphony no 9 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, many albums of gospel music with The All Souls Orchestra, an album of her beloved Scottish folk songs entitled “Echoes of Scotland” with her accompanist Peter Bailey and, with her accompanist Merion Powell, created an album of gospel songs arranged by Merion entitled “When all’s said and done”.

Kathleen’s professional life is now wide and varied. She has been teaching singing at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland since 2001 and many of her students have gone on to flourish as highly successful performing artists and teachers throughout the world. Kathleen gives many master classes at home and abroad and is a regular visiting artist to Australia working with students at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (Perth), the University of Western Australia (Perth), the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide and the Melbourne Conservatorium. In June 2024 Kathleen will be giving masterclasses and teaching as the Artist in Residence at the AAMS Emerging Artist Programme at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC and then subsequently at their Summer School in Todi, Umbria (Italy). As Scottish Area Representative for AOTOS (Association of Teachers of Singing), Kathleen gave a masterclass at their 2019 summer conference and is also very actively involved in mentoring young singers and singing teachers arranging conferences in Scotland for their professional development. She has also been a vocal coach to many choirs including the National Youth Choir of Scotland, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus. Kathleen has her own private singing studio in Kippen (central Scotland) where she gives lessons at home as well as online worldwide. The highly successful concert series “Classics at Kippen, was created by Kathleen in 2012 to give a much-needed platform for young singers from RCS at the start of their careers, to raise money for charity (over £30k to date) and to provide a wonderful community event of high-class music making in Kippen, where she lives with her husband, Grant.

Kathleen’s passion for singing and teaching along with her piano and language skills, extensive knowledge of repertoire and in-depth understanding of vocal technique have given her a keen ear for the subtleties of vocal performance 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.