Mélanie Adami

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“Adami sings with the delicacy
and passionate ease of
a true diva who has
one goal on her mind:
to enthrall her audience.“


Forgotten Songs,
forgotten Love

What a great discovery: for many years, a number of Lieder (song) manuscripts by Swiss composer Willy Heinz Müller had been collecting dust on the shelves of singer Mélanie Adami. It was only during the Covid-19 pandemic that Adami finally found the time to study this music, and sure enough: the manuscripts turned out to be a real treasure! Now, Adami has recorded the works of her great-grandfather on CD. A project dear to her heart – and the first recording of these works world-wide.

Born 1900 in Vienna, Willy Heinz Müller made a name for himself as a well-regarded musician, composer, and pedagogue – first in his hometown, later also in Switzerland. His mother was a singer, his father a soldier. Already as a young child, Müller showed musical talent, and was supported by his mother through piano and vocal lessons, which is where Müller’s life-long love for the artistic Lied (song) began. His musical career continued to develop, and could not be stopped by his father’s insistence on his pursuing an education at a commercial academy. Among other things, Müller founded a string quartet for which he composed some early works, he played in numerous orchestras, and was also actively teaching. After the First World War, he moved to St. Gallen in Switzerland, where he found, after several failed attempts at securing a job, an engagement as violinist and pianist at the moving picture house “Palace.“ In Switzerland, he grew roots and became a citizen in 1940, expanding his fruitful and exceptional musical and pedagogical work. Müller congenially employed his universal skills as musician and composer. He inspired many of his students to start on a career path as professional musicians. Willy Heinz Müller died in St. Gallen in September 1947.

Müller’s music is deeply embedded in tradition, yet is also marked throughout by original details. His personal style is obvious in songs like “Träume“ (Dreams) and “Schließe mir die Augen“ (“Close my Eyes“). The songs include aspects from the Austrian musical heimat, but their density and harmonical peculiarities show an individualistic intensity. It is thus no exaggeration to speak of Mélanie Adami having unearthed a real treasure with this music. “In the spring of 2020, when cultural life was at a standstill, I found the time to practice a new repertoire, and suddenly, there they were, the manuscripts of my great-grandfather. The sheet music was passed on to me by my grandmother, violinist Edith Leibundgut, but I had barely paid it any attention. All the sheet music came directly from Müller’s archive, so he played the pieces, and in some cases, they were sung and given to him by his mother, singer Clementine Muchmeyer. How would these songs sound? And why did I know so little about them? I spent many hours on the grand piano, read my great-grandfathers diary, and dove into his world.“ This dedication was worth it, because the short, at times aphoristic and heavily text-based Lieder are outstandingly original. With accent changes and harmonical turns, Müller understood how to create a fascinating atmospheric cosmos in a small space. Together with the Lieder by Franz Ries, Ernö von Dohnanyi, and Béla Laszky, this CD presents an exciting overall picture.

Mélanie Adami earliest stage performances were as a member of Theater St. Gallen’s opera choir. Already during her studies at the Zurich Hochschule der Künste, she took part in various opera productions and concerts as a soloist. In the fall of 2002, she had her debut as Frasquito in the opera “Carmen“ at Theater Lucerne. She won prizes by Migros-Genossenschaft-Bund and the Ernst Göhner Stiftung, and in June 2004, received her Masters degree in Performing Arts from Zurich Hochschule der Künste. Mélanie Adami performs the great works of the classical and romantic repertoire as well as chamber musical literature. In 2020, she started the concert series SonntagsKonzert in Winterthur, and works on its program as artistic director.

Swiss bariton Äneas Humm had his debut at the age of 18 at Stadttheater Bremerhaven. He studied at Hochschule der Künste Bremen and completed his vocal studies at Juilliard School New York in the summer of 2019. Guest engage-ments led him unto numerous opera stages, such as Musikfest Bremen, at New York’s Lincoln Center, and the Grand Teatro de Liceu in Barcelona. When it comes to concerts, he presents a colorful repertoire, and was a guest vocalist with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Sinfo-nieorchester Liechtenstein, and Argovia Philharmonic Orchestra KKL, among others. He is also internationally active as Lied (song) vocalist. Swiss television filmed a documentary about him titled “Ein Wunderkind wird erwachsen – Äneas Humm auf dem Weg zu einer Weltkarriere“ (“A prodigy grows up – Äneas Humm on his way to an international career“). Since the 2022/2023 season, Humm has been an ensemble member at Theater St. Gallen.

Judith Polgar, born in Budapest, studied piano at Musikhochschule Zurich, under Hadassa Schwimmer and Homero Francesch (concert diploma) and Lied accompa-niment in Zurich and Karlsruhe under Irwin Gage and Hartmut Höll (Master cum Laude in Lied accompaniment). She completed further studies under Florian Ziemen at the Hochschule der Künster Bern (DAS orchestra conducting) and Universität Luzern/Lucerne (Master in Cultural Studies). Since 2014, she works as docent for correpetition with a focus in vocals at the Kalaidos Musikhochschule Zurich. As song accompaniment, she has competed in many important international competitions: ARD Munich, Hugo Wolf Stuttgart, Schubert und die Moderne Graz (Finale). She has taken part in a diverse range of productions, among others with Opernhaus Zurich. Her CD recordings have been published on the labels OehmsClassics, VDE-Gallo Records, meta records, Rondeau Production and Solo Musica.