Lied Academy

September 5 - 9, 2024


Join the Lied Academy now

  • improve your art of song with renowned artists
  • win Gustav Mahler Festival Prize
  • perform at Mahler Jihlava 2025 Festival
  • connect with other musicians and expand your network
  • get a professional video recording of your performance
  • experience unique atmosphere in scenic Castle Žďár nad Sázavou and UNESCO HERITAGE-listed church of Zelena hora
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About Lied Academy

Lied Academy in Žďár nad Sázavou is organized by IPASA (International Performing Arts Support Association), and it is designed for singers and pianists who wish to improve their skills in the field of song repertoire under the guidance of internationally renowned artists. We are pleased to announce that the Gustav Mahler Festival Prize will be awarded following the Final Concert of Participants, and the winners will have the honour of performing a recital at the Mahler Jihlava 2025 Festival. The Lied Academy presents a unique opportunity for young pianists and singers to refine their art of song performances under the expert guidance of internationally acclaimed artists.

Each participant will receive a professional video recording of their performance at the Final Concert of Participants on September 9th.
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Ralf Heiber

Prizewinner of International Brahms Competition in Hamburg and “Das Schubert Lied” in Vienna is a professor of Private University of Vienna for Music and Art. He has given concerts in prominent venues worldwide, including the Konzerthaus and Musikverein in Vienna, Wigmore Hall in London, and Seoul and Tokyo, as well as at various festivals.

Birgid Steinberger

German soprano widely acclaimed  for her artistry in the Lied and a star of opera and operetta in Vienna and throughout Germany teaches at the Private University of Vienna for Music and Art and the Music University of Vienna.

Giuseppe Ravì

Giuseppe Ravì

Founder of Respiro e Movimento®, an innovative technique that helps professionals reach their full potential. He teaches at mdw University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and HfM Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, and conducts workshops at renowned institutions such as Royal College of Music London and Universität der Kunste Berlin.


  • The Lied Academy warmly welcomes participants of all nationalities who are at least 18 years of age.
  • Applicants who are interested in participating are requested to submit a recording of their performance, with repertoire of their own choice. Your application will be given careful consideration, and if you are selected to participate, you will receive an email confirming your acceptance. At that point, we kindly ask that you pay the participant fee through a designated bank account.
  • The Academy invites duos (singers and pianists), and also welcomes applications from solo pianists and singers who are in search of a performing partner during the course of the Academy. Duos may select their repertoire freely, whereas solo applicants must choose repertoire from two categories: Lied chosen by pianists and Lied chosen by singer. Applicants should indicate their preferred repertoire in their application.
  • It is important to note that the performance of at least one Lied by Gustav Mahler is required to be eligible for the Gustav Mahler Festival Prize.
  • The course is designed for a maximum 16 participants (8 pianists and 8 singers) and maximum 12 auditors.
  • If applicants have any queries, they may contact the Academy via email at
The Academy is structured as a series of masterclasses, featuring an inclusive learning environment where all participants are afforded unrestricted access to all lessons conducted during the program. The fee for Early bird applications received until June 21, 2024, is 680 EUR (courses, accommodation and meals included). After this date, the full fee is 800 EUR and includes:

  • 12 lessons with all tutors: 4 with Birgid Steinberger, 4 with Ralf Heiber, 4 with Giuseppe Ravì.
  • Professional video recording of performance at the Final Concert of Participants
  • Professional portrait photos in the Castle area
  • Accommodation for 5 nights (5.9. – 9.9.) in beautiful rooms in the castle area (
  • Three meals per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner / after-concert parties)
  • Transfer from the train station in Žďár nad Sázavou upon arrival and departure
  • Guided tour of UNESCO HERITAGE Zelená Hora and Castle Museum of the new generation
  • Practice rooms
  • Free entrance to all concerts during the Lied Academy

Deadline for application is on 11.8.2024 The Castle Žďár nad Sázavou is situated in the lovely region of Vysočina, surrounded by nature, and is easily accessible via a direct train from Prague Main Station or Vienna Hauptbahnhof, which runs multiple times per day and takes approximately 2.5 hours. Applicants requiring accommodation for the night of 4.9. to 5.9. should let us know in advance.

If you have any questions, please contact us via email


Lied Academy Application

    First Name* Surname*
    Date of Birth*
    Nationality* E-mail* Phone Number* Country of Residence* Contact Address* Link to a videorecording* Your CV Your Repertoire & Message*

      First Name*


      Date of Birth*



      Phone Number*

      Country of Residence*

      Contact Address*

      Link to a videorecording*

      Your CV

      Your Repertoire & Message*

      Ralf Heiber

      Ralf Heiber was born into a diplomatic family in Berlin and grew up in Toronto, Caracas, Brasilia and Barcelona. He received his early piano training from Monique Duphil in Caracas and went on to study at the music colleges in Lübeck and Vienna, where he completed is pianistic training with distinction under the guidance of Roland Keller.

      He deepened his knowledge of song interpretation trough encounters with Erik Werba and Dalton Baldwin and furthered his studies with Roman Ortner and Norman Shetler. His exceptional skills as a Lied accompanist have won him prizes at prestigious international competitions, including the International Brahms Competition in Hamburg and the International Competition „Das Schubert Lied“ in Vienna.

      Today, Ralf Heiber is recognized as a piano duo partner of Norman Shetler and an accompanist of renowned singers such as Barbara Hölzl und Georg Nigl. He has given concerts in prominent venues worldwide, including the Konzerthaus and Musikverein in Vienna, Wigmore Hall in London, and Seoul and Tokyo, as well as at various festivals, including Wien modern.

      He has been involved in the creation of concert cycles, such as those featuring Hugo Wolf, Schubert, Liszt, Contemporary Lied, and New Viennese School in Europe und Asia. His CD, radio, and television recordings have garnered critical acclaim.

      Ralf Heiber holds a professorship for Lied at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna and was the head of the keyboard department at the Joseph Haydn Conservatory Eisenstadt for many years, where he still serves as a professor of piano.

      His students have won prizes at International competitions such as the Olivier Messiaen Competition (First Prize „Grand prix de la ville de Paris“ and Special Prize), the Concours international de piano Orléans, the Concours Musical Reine Elisabeth Brüssel, Rome, Jaén, Hongkong, Gradus ad Parnassum, and the Dr. Josef Dichler Piano Competition in Vienna.

      Ralf Heiber is active as an adjudicator worldwide and regularly conducts song and piano masterclasses in Europe as well as at leading universities in Japan, Korea, and China.

      Birgid Steinberger

      Birgid Steinberger was born in Burghausen/Bavaria and received her musical training in Salzburg, Hanover and Basel. She made her operatic debut at the Heidelberger Schlossfestspiele as Despina in Così fan tutte. After an engagement at the Basel Opera, she became a soloist in the ensemble of the Wiener Staatsoper and Volksoper, where she soon became an audience favourite, performing in opera and operetta with equal success.  

      Birgid Steinberger has made guest appearances at the Bregenzer Festspiele as Marzelline (Fidelio), at the “Mozart in Schönbrunn” festival in Vienna, at the Seefestspiele Mörbisch as Christl, repeatedly at the Berlin State Opera (Zar und Zimmermann, Der Freischütz), at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (The Merry Wives of Windsor) and at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich where she sang Adele in the new
      production of Die Fledermaus (under Simone Young and later with Zubin Mehta) with great success.

      Conductors with whom she worked include Bertrand de Billy, Adam Fischer, Lawrence Foster, John Eliot Gardiner, Leopold Hager, Thomas Hengelbrock, Philippe Jordan, Zubin Metha, Kirill Petrenko, Ulf Schirmer, Sebastian Weigle, and Simone Young.

      In addition to her opera engagements, Birgid Steinberger has also earned an international reputation on
      the concert platform in particular as a song interpreter and has performed in Vienna, in the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, Styriarte Graz, in London – Wigmore Hall, New York, Oxford, Paris, St. Petersburg, Stuttgart, Cologne, Helsingborg and Lisbon. She has given duo-recitals with Wolfgang Holzmair John Marc Ansley, Angelika Kirchschlager, Roman Trekel and others. With a particular affinity for the songs of Wolf, she was a prizewinner as a student in the Hugo Wolf Society’s Competition in Stuttgart and has given many Wolf evenings including several performances of his Italienisches Liederbuch. Her recital partners have included the pianists Graham Johnson, Julius Drake, Marcelo Amaral, Carolyn Hague, Hartmut Höll, Russel Ryan.

      Her recordings include Despina (Così fan tutte), Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and Susanna (Le Nozze di
      Figaro) with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Bertrand de Billy. CDs with songs of J.M. Kraus and with songs of Schubert were recorded by NAXOS. Recordings of songs by Wolf, Schubert and Mahler together with Wolfgang Holzmair and Russel Ryan were published.

      Birgid Steinberger is a professor of song and oratorium at the Conservatory of Vienna City and was
      entiteled “Kammersängerin” in 2009. Since 2010 she is also Professor at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Her teaching comprises also masterclasses for songinterpretation e.g. 2019 at Guildhall-School of Music & Drama in London.