Portrait of Kate Stevens

Kate Stevens

What made you want to apply to your MA course and to Leeds?

When studying my undergraduate degree I gained a passion for classical singing. I wanted to learn more about the art of performing so that I could then pass this on to others through teaching and conducting, as well as applying what I would learn to my own performances. 

When I was applying for MA courses I looked at Leeds because of the area that it is situated in, having the city life, but also having countryside only a short drive away. I was also interested in Leeds because of its ties with Opera North. 

I chose Leeds because they were so welcoming and accommodating. This was one of the only MA courses that invited me for a face to face interview and audition. Meeting Mike Allis and experiencing his welcoming demeanour was what really made the decision for me.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

Interpretation of music has always been something that fascinated me; knowing that the same composition could sound completely different depending on who was performing. The joy and happiness that can be promoted through singing is something that has always aspired me to further my own studies so that I can then share this joy with others, encouraging anyone and everyone to sing.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?  

I enjoyed the performance classes, but I think the module Applied Performance was my favourite as you were free to choose what pieces to study. I chose to use the Leeds University Union Opera Society production of The Magic Flute for this module, playing the role of ‘Pamina’. It was so much fun to be a part of and I got to meet new people, from beyond the music department. 

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

It is always changing, with new buildings popping up or old ones being refurbished into something new. There is always something to do or to go and see and I love that about it. But just a short bus ride out of the city centre can lead you to beautiful sights, such as Kirkstall Abbey or Golden Acre Park, so you can lose yourself away from the hubbub of city life. 

What would you say about the learning facilities and opportunities in your School?

The facilities in the University are great – there are plenty of rehearsal spaces available and the performance spaces that you get to use around campus are numerous and well equipped. 

The opportunities that I have been given have been fantastic. Whilst studying on this course I was able to go and sit in on rehearsals at Opera North and sing with Leeds Baroque Choir. It is these experiences that have enriched the course.

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?

The student union offers a wide range of societies, aiming to please all. And if there isn’t something for you then you can always create your own, if you have enough support. I was part of LUU Opera Society, they are a very welcoming group and encourage everyone to come and take part in opera. They produce two shows a year and always make their performances accessible to everyone.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

Do it! The staff who led this course were incredibly welcoming and they provided fantastic support. There is always something to do, both at the University or in the city, and the opportunities for a musical performer are numerous.