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Website Upgrade

Posted on: May 22nd, 2017 by Inna Heasley No Comments

Charlie reminds me to take frequent breaks from PR!

I am excited to collaborate with Caitlyn McGrory and Queen Heath on my website’s improvement and updates. The new site should be here by Fall 2017, and I look forward to making it more current and useful to all my visitors. If you have any feedback or comments, please email me at inna at pr-perfect.com.


Thank you!



MIKHAIL KAZINIK: Russian Musician and Educator Debuts in Philadelphia

Posted on: September 5th, 2016 by Inna Heasley No Comments

DREAMS DO COME TRUE! Philadelphia’s audiences (English and Russian speaking) will have a unique opportunity to meet and to hear an unforgettable music-and-lecture performance by one of the most intelligent, passionate, brilliant, and caring people living on our planet today. Welcome to Philadelphia, Mikhail Semyonovich Kazinik!


A short background story:

In October 2014, I was fortunate to attend Kazinik’s two live concerts in Moscow, after having been listening to his deeply moving lectures and presentations for a few years online. After the performance on Arbat Street was over, I came up to the stage, waited in a long line, and when it was my turn, I asked him if he would ever be able to come Philadelphia… I knew that Philadelphia residents – just like residents of every place on the globe – needed his Word, his Music, they needed to discover the Kazinik Phenomenon, and they needed a chance to see him not just on a computer screen, but live, on stage, speaking directly into their hearts. Maestro sounded interested about another trip to the US (he visited on three occasions but never in our City), but he was deeply skeptical it would ever work for his busy schedule. Time went by. We kept in touch. In the Spring of 2016, I shared the idea with my colleague Mikhail Zorich (Multicultural Arts Exchange), quite by accident. Almost instantly, Zorich became infectious with Kazinik’s contagious spark: the stars finally aligned and this tour became a reality.


Below is my English translation of the original preview of Maestro’s three first concerts in our City of Brotherly Love, September 8-11, 2016. Read more and order tickets here.




In early September, Philadelphia will welcome Mikhail Kazinik – an art historian, musician, poet, writer, philosopher, film producer, a passionate educator and one of the most erudite men of our time. His many fans call him Prometheus.


When he briskly takes the stage and begins to speak or play – there is not one person in the room who would be left untouched by his hurricane of energy, or would feel less than fascinated by the unique gifts of this amazing man.


Are you convinced that you do not like classical music? After hearing Mikhail Kazinik, classical music is all you will want to listen to: to hear it, to feel it and to be carried away by the melodies of freshly revealed vibrations… Especially if he is accompanied by Vyacheslav Zubkov – a brilliant pianist. After this musician’s concerts the audiences often can’t help feeling that they had just met Franz Liszt himself.
It is meaningless to try to describe or classify Kazinik’s programs. You need to be there. Anna Akhmatova was one of the first people to recognize the talent of a storyteller in Kazinik; the poet’s words were: “You should go to the people.” It was Joseph Brodsky who took Kazinik by the hand and introduced to Akhmatova; it all happened after Brodsky had read one of the poems of 15-year-old Mikhail.


Kazinik always felt the internal urge to reveal to people the secrets of genius men. He recalls Riga (capital of Latvia) during the Soviet times when it was mandatory for all city tourists to attend an organ concert at the world-famous Dome Cathedral.


The first 3 minutes of a concert, people would be honest and diligent listeners: organ is roaring, strong and beautiful. But after about 5 minutes, the chair didn’t seem comfortable enough, and in 10 more minutes, they would start thinking: «Too bad I didn’t get a seat near the aisle, now I can’t get out». And within an hour of this endless organ roar, they would get really tired. A feeling of heaviness would set on and the visitors would never discover anything about the music. I sat there and thought: «Lord, if I only could give a 5 minute talk before each work – they would have understood it all.»      


How do you explain classical music?


Kazinik’s dream came true: he successfully went on to explain something seemingly unexplainable, helping people discover classical music. Mikhail Semyonovich describes his mission:


«Music is the highest non-verbal communication between man and cosmos. Its giant divine vibrations, transformed through the head and entire body of a genius, connect us with our progenitor – the cosmos. A conversation about music – is no less than a human tuning to that frequency, helping us enter the very state in which the music is sounding. A work of art is a vibrant source of energy, and a human being – its receiver. There should be a wave, a channel between them. Most often, these channels are destroyed: thanks to wrong education, wrong environment, country, system, history’s endless tyrants manipulating the consciousness of the little man. I have these channels repaired.»


Classical music as a business thinking formula


Mikhail Semyonovich is famous for the fact that he can make even an elephant get interested in classical music. Thanks to this ability, he was invited as an expert to host the concerts for Nobel laureates: the organizers very much wanted to entice the viewers to watch a traditional annual symphonic concert broadcast ahead of the Nobel festivities. Kazinik figured out how to attract the viewers attention: he would interview the winners in front of a camera about their childhood, about what kind of music they listened to then, and their favorite composers.


Recently, in his native St. Petersburg, Kazinik held a three-day classical music immersion session for a team a well-known Russian company called RBI. Here is how the company President Eduard Tiktinsky describes the experience:


The three days with Mikhail Kazinik were equal to sensation of splashing into the ocean waters: bright, fresh, harmonious. Our main conclusions:


  1. It’s never too late to learn music. Even if someone diagnosed you once with “no music ear/ no voice,” or you didn’t get accepted to a music school – it does not mean anything. Maestro showed us examples when people came to study music at the age of 50 and, after regular practice, within a month, they were performing their first recital for their next birthday party guests.


  1. Music education used to be an essential part of childhood’s education, with music regarded no less important than exact sciences, the Russian language, etc. Unfortunately, these days everything is different. However, this doesn’t mean that parents can’t open that magic door into the world of music for their kids. But to do so, of course, you need to know and love classical music yourself.


  1. The ability to hear the music is a skill that can be developed. As it turned out at our session, the skill of composing music can also be developed. At least my colleagues, under the direction of Maestro Kazinik, compiled an entire symphony :).


  1. Regular practice and experimentation are pre-requisites to making progress, in any area. You don’t notice how tiny improvements and then larger achievements gradually become a part of you. It works the same with creative “Nobel” way of thinking. Allow yourself to experiment, try something different than the usual, and the result will not take long. Once you open yourself to classical music, you won’t be able to live without it.


“It does not matter how old you are and what your preferences are, there’s always an opportunity to open the hidden secret door to the true Beauty. The door that leads to the realization that the art, and especially music, is ‘a wonderful contract with the Creator,’ and your life will never be the same again. I embrace you with Music.” (Mikhail Kazinik)



Three debut performances in Philadelphia – bring your kids and friends! 


Thursday, September 8 at 8 PM

Synagogue Shaare Hashamayim, 9768 Verree Road, 19115.


Saturday, September 10 at 7 PM

International House Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut Street, 19104.


Sunday, September 11 at 5 PM

Settlement Music School – Northeast Branch, 3745 Clarenden Avenue, 19114


Buy Tickets:

Online: https://www.russianhotline.com/tour/Kazinik

In-person in two Northeast Philadelphia locations:

– Petrovsky Market, 9808 Bustleton, Avenue, 19115

– Knizhnik Book Store, 8342 Bustleton Avenue, 19152

Tickets will also be available at the door.


For more information:

Contact Mikhail Zorich 855-594-8414, email: manager@maephila.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kazinikusa/






3 Reasons Why PR is Everything in Brand Management

Posted on: August 29th, 2015 by Inna Heasley No Comments

Today’s post on Ragan’s PR Daily by Bryan Haviland (Frazier Heiby PR) answers a very important question that some organizations and business owners never ask.


Frankly, this article has validated what I have been wanting to say – for so long – to some (if not all) of my beloved clients “in crime”:  allow your PR consultant to be involved in your company’s marketing and branding strategy. Give them freedom to generate or, at least, guide your company’s content. Trust your PR guy/lady just a little more, and you will be surprised at the end results.


“Boards of directors, top-level executives and brand managers, take heed: If you don’t yet have a PR counselor in a position of power within your organization, you’re playing Russian roulette with your brand’s reputation.


PR can no longer be relegated to traditional media relations. It has never been just that. Now more than ever before, organizations are realizing that successful consumer experience depends on deploying PR to create, manage and refresh their ever-present online brands. Here are three reasons why:  KEEP READING.



Interview with Donald Nally (The Crossing Choir)

Posted on: August 25th, 2015 by Inna Heasley 1 Comment

I interviewed Donald Nally in 2010, when Lyric Fest collaborated with The Crossing Choir in the  Biography in Music series. This program marked the 100th Anniversary of Samuel Barber (1910-1981), one of the 20th century’s most renowned and beloved composers. In the concert, Barber’s biography was featured alongside his songs, including several previously unpublished, opera excerpts, and choral works performed by The Crossing, with Nally conducting and Laura Ward at the piano.


IH:  What is the story and the inspiration behind The Crossing? How was this group created?


DN:  We came together in 2005 as a group of friends who missed each other – we never intended to found a chorus and I certainly don’t take credit for that. Instead, we planned a concert and were surprised that so many people came and The Philadelphia Inquirer made a big deal out of it and said we were like ‘an answered prayer’ for choral music here. So, we thought, heck, let’s do a second concert. And here we are in 2010, commissioning projects through the summer of 2013: collaborations with great area musicians like Lyric Fest, Network for New Music, Tempesta di Mare, Piffaro. Our summer festival called The Month of Moderns has been in the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Top Ten Classical Events of the Year for the last two years, and….well, it’s still like a dream…


Q:  Please describe the group in your own words, and share your thoughts on your rehearsal process. What particular qualities, personal and professional, are you looking for in your singers?  


DN:  Again, your question implies that this is ‘my’ group, and I think it’s important to stress that we really see it as community. Sure, people have gone off to other lives that prevent them from staying with us and so we’ve added new ones, but we’re very careful to add people who fit the community – that is, they’re great musicians, they love working and singing challenging repertoire, they must sing as a means of expressing (as opposed to just liking it…), they’re great and warm and creative colleagues, and they’re nice.


That ‘working hard’ part is important, because there is no way you can sing the rep we sing without serious outside study. Even if you could read it, you wouldn’t get anything out of it if you didn’t put in the time because our music requires such intellectual activity that you have to work through the cognitive stuff in order to allow the emotional stuff to surface. Thus, when we come together, we’re mostly in a process of ‘assembly’ and ‘discovery’. The assembly aspect is taking these disparate parts and making sense of them; the discovery aspect is that in most of our music we are dealing with previously uncharted musical languages (at least for us). It’s always exciting, and exhausting…


IH:  Your life as a choral conductor has been super busy.  In addition to The Crossing, you are holding two other very responsible posts: Chorus Master of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and music director of Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble, a professional choral ensemble that performs new music as well as classic choral works. In this context, what makes your experience with The Crossing unique? What do you think makes this group’s performances so well-accepted and admired by the audiences?


DN:  Of course, it’s clear to anyone that I’m most at home with The Crossing. I’m not sure my opera colleagues would appreciate that, but anyone can see that ‘the clothes fit best’ when I am working with these particular singers in this environment. I suppose that I react to the same thing the audience does – that we are simply trying to say something, something honest that may give us a brief glimpse into our inner lives. The singers we work with at The Crossing are all concerned with these issues, even though we rarely discuss that specifically (one of music’s gifts is that we can agree about these things, we can be naked, we can be truthful, and we do not need to discuss it since, once it has happened there is only the memory of it).


I consistently hear from the audience that we have a very unique sound; this is not something I consciously think about, even though I know that any great choir reflects the color that the conductor is carrying in his/her chest and born on the breath. But, I do know that the collective sum of the singers we choose produces a particular basic color which we are constantly modifying to meet the demands of each piece. The other thing I hear from the audience is how much they loved what they heard, despite not having any preconceived notions. I think it’s not despite, but in fact is somewhat because they have no preconceived notions. It’s like walking into an art gallery curated by an artist you have come to trust for quality, yet with no knowledge of what will be hanging on the walls today. The Crossing is the curator, the program is the gallery.


IH:  The Lyric Opera of Chicago has recently announced that you will be leaving your post of Chorus Master following the 2010-2011 season. Does this mean that you will be able to expand The Crossing’s season in the near future?


DN:  Yes, definitely. We’re already making a wonderful line-up of concerts in the 2011-2012 season that includes possible collaborations with American Composer’s Forum, Tempesta di Mare, Mimi Stillman of Dolce Suono, many commissions and the possibility of touring. We’re thinking expansively and hopefully most of those thoughts will become a reality. So, my move is largely to be nearer the group, to oversee things, and to aid in our long-term planning. You can’t get anywhere without some goals and dreams…


IH:  Please comment on The Crossing’s first collaboration with Lyric Fest and things you are most looking forward to in this joined project.


DN: Well, I wrote my doctoral dissertation about the music we will be performing and so it is very dear to my heart. Samuel Barber has always held a really important place for me because of his being from West Chester (I’m from Upper Bucks County), his connection to Gian Carlo Menotti – who I knew very well – and Spoleto – where I conducted many of our singers for years – his love for poetry and literature (which I share), and – and this is quite specific – his unique and entirely beautiful manner of using modal music to achieve a certain kind of warmth contrasted with a certain kind of emptiness. The entire point to my dissertation, which largely addresses the poetry in these works, is about Barber’s being somewhat haunted by the theme of loneliness. Thus, the end of his last choral work ends with Neruda’s words, “Foresaken, foresaken…” These are themes that speak very strongly to me – and, let’s face it, to most.


IH: Could you please comment on some of your choices for this particular program and on how you plan to approach placing emphasis on text with your singers?


DN: I do not think that there is anything different in approaching text in any music – for almost everything we do in our art, it drives it – it’s the impetus for the musical material and the atmosphere the composer discovered in the text. Barber was particularly careful in the texts that he chose – he tended to find great poems that seem maybe a little unfinished after you know his version of them. This is not a criticism of poets like James Agee, Stephen Spender, James Stephens, or the marvelous Louise Bogan, but it’s certainly a statement about his ability to ingest a poet’s words and go beneath them into the emotional world they invoked in him. My choices started with those unaccompanied choral works I consider to Barber’s most successful, including the little-known but truly stunning Twelfth Night, including his most famous choral work, Reincarnations, touch on his Shakespeare setting in the opera Antony and Cleopatra (another underappreciated work in my opinion), and ensure that, amidst the joy in much of this music, that constant to which he returns (as the monk says in the final song of Hermit Songs: “Alone I came into this world, alone I shall go from it”) is there.


IH: What, if any, are the challenges of Barber’s vocal/choral works?


DN: I  do not think there is any complexity to Barber’s choral works for a modern choir; it is largely based on a Brahms-like tradition of vocal counterpoint and the musical language is therefore fairly familiar. This is not to say it is not challenging, because Barber wrote very virtuosically for nearly all his forces, including choirs. In fact, this will be a kind of ‘premiere’ for me, as I have programmed and rehearsed the final work of the three-movement Reincarnations and have always cancelled it (I will not do that this time) because I did not feel that I or the choir were up to it. It’s an emotionally difficult work, and the fabric is very fragile; it’s also in F Major, which, though it sounds ridiculous, is the most difficult key to sing in and maintain pitch. At any rate, Barber just assumes that the singers are going to be very musically sophisticated and since he was at all times a vocal composer – a singer himself – the individual lines are (like Brahms) beautifully written and require that this musicianship be balanced with solid vocal technique and richness of color.


IH: How many singers from The Crossing will be performing the Barber program and where are they coming from?


DN:  22 singers – that’s our usual roster, though we go up to 24 at times. I frankly don’t know where a lot of our singers originated but, because of the timing of Lyric Fest’s Barber concert, all the singers will be currently in the Philadelphia-Princeton corridor. We often have out-of-towners for our Month of Moderns, and last summer had three from Cincinnati, one from Chicago, one from Georgia, one from New York, and etc. It’s a great group and I can’t wait to start with them.


IH: What would be your greeting words to those who will visit the Barber gallery curated by The Crossing and Lyric Fest in October?


DN: We’re just thrilled to be asked and have the opportunity to work with Lyric Fest and their wonderful singers. For us, Barber is a bit of ancient music; we really do only contemporary music. So, it’s a welcome departure and a wonderful reason for that departure – the 100th birthday of an American genius who we all, as singers, know and love. Who has not heard Despite and Still and wondered if the tormented soul who set that to paper hadn’t written it about them?


By Inna Heasley, for Lyric Fest.

September, 2010. Philadelphia.




# # #



10 Questions to Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, Mezzo-Soprano (ANONYMOUS 4)

Posted on: August 21st, 2015 by Inna Heasley No Comments

Ahead of her solo performance with Bach@7 Cantata Series in April of 2015, Jacqueline was kind to answer my 10 questions. Here is the full interview, which is also published by Choral Arts Philadelphia here.


“I have always been bowled over by the incredible loyalty of the Anonymous 4 fans in Philadelphia and I hope they will come out to hear me sing some beautiful Baroque music!”

(Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek)


Jacqueline has a reputation as a versatile and accomplished soloist, specializing in early and new music, singing with many distinguished ensembles and opera companies in Europe and in the US. She has collaborated with leading modern composers and premiered roles in several operas and oratorios. As a member of the world renowned vocal quartet Anonymous 4, Jacqueline has recorded twelve award-winning CD’s with the group. An accomplished voice teacher, Jacqueline is also a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at The Juilliard School.




  1. What is your family background? Any musicians in your family?


JHK:  My family loved music and my father was a keen amateur musician who played piano. But I was the first to take up music professionally.


  1. Why did you choose to become a classical singer?


JHK:  Actually I wanted to be an actress! When I was about 10 years old, I sang on a local Irish TV show, and the host encouraged my parents to send me for voice lessons and that is how I found my love for classical music.


  1. Who are your favorite composers of all times?  


JHK:  J.S. Bach, Benjamin Britten, Lennon and McCartney… The list goes on. I have somewhat eclectic tastes!


  1. Describe the happiest episode in your singing career. 


JHK:  Being asked to join Anonymous 4 and being accepted into the Doctoral program at Juilliard!


  1. What factors, in your opinion, contributed to the amazing success of Anonymous 4 over the years? 


JHK:  Anonymous 4 was the first female ensemble to sing music originally thought to have been written for men’s voices. The group has always worked hard to achieve a unity of timbre despite, or one might say because of, our very different individual voices. And I think people respond to that, and to the beautiful repertoire that we have been so fortunate to bring to light.


  1. What are your other interests and passions, besides music?  


JHK:  I don’t have a lot of time for other interests, my work as a singer and voice teacher is all consuming! I am very interested in Egyptology and love to read thrillers and watch horror movies and old British sitcoms – a great way to relax, I find!



  1. What inspires and motivates you in personal and professional life?


JHK:  I’m inspired by colleagues, family, friends and energized by working in such a challenging but rewarding profession!



  1. What was the best advice you were ever given?


JHK:  “Listen to what your voice wants” – this is from a singing teacher in London, when I was having vocal problems. It’s a wonderful piece of advice and something that I pass on to my own voice students.



  1. What would be your professional recommendation for young aspiring singers of today?


JHK:  Don’t give up!  Going professional is hard, and there are so many ups and downs. Just try to stay focused and have clear and realistic goals.



  1. As Anonymous 4 is closing the curtain this year, what will you be working on next?


JHK:  I will be continuing my work at Juilliard in the Doctoral program and will be expanding my work as a voice teacher and visiting artist. My work as a mezzo soloist will also continue in both early and new music, with some exciting new opera projects in development, including an as yet untitled opera/theatre piece about Nikola Tesla being created by composer Phil Kline, film-maker Jim Jarmusch and director Robert Wilson, and a monodrama being written especially for me by Phil Kline in which I will play none other than Joan Crawford!


More about Jacqueline on her website.


Interviewed on March 2015



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