About Idelle

Idelle Nissila Headshot by Lisa Kohler

Although Idelle has enjoyed a long career as a professional singer, her musical studies actually began on the French horn at age 8.  She insists that the physical and musical demands of the horn helped hone her skills as a vocalist long before she ever thought of becoming a singer.  Classical piano lessons also  gave her a solid foundation in music reading and fundamentals.  During her college years, she double-majored in brass and voice.  Her first professional jobs as a musician were as a section horn player in the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra.  Then she was faced with a choice: “Do I stay in the orchestra pit, or venture into the unknown…onto the stage?”  Her voice won and she set her beloved horn aside.  While earning her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Minnesota, she sang numerous oratorios and performed the title role in the opera Mignon.  After graduating she performed in the Edwardian Panto Cinderella for the Minneapolis Children’s Theater and attended the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.

Since moving to New York Idelle has performed opera, musical theater and oratorio.  She sang many major roles for the Brooklyn Lyric Opera Company including; Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni, Mozart), Micaela (Carmen, Bizet), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte,  Mozart) and Amelia (Amelia Goes To The Ball, Menotti).  She performed the title role in Suor Angelica (Puccini) at the premier of the Rutgers/Camden Musical Theater Program under the direction of her vocal coach and good friend, the late Martin Dillon.  She has worked as a soloist, ringer and choral section leader for Lehman College, Marble Collegiate Church, Christ and Saint Stephens Episcopal Church, Russell Sage Memorial Presbyterian Church, West End Temple, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church and many others.

As well as her extensive performing experience, Idelle has benefited greatly from the guidance of many brilliant teachers and coaches including; Roy Schuessler and Judith Ferris (voice), Catherine Cathcart and James Besser (vocal coaching), H. Wesley Balk, Richard Getke, Nico Castel and Marc Malamed (musical theater and acting).  She is committed to passing along their valuable lessons along with her own discoveries made in response to musical and vocal challenges. Idelle seeks what is most authentic about each individual’s voice, and helps her students develop their physical instrument and musicality, to reveal their most compelling performance.

Voice Lessons, Writing and General Musings