Cari Burdett – Director/Voice

putting the eggs in legs..._2013_08_22_9999_100 - Copy

CARI BURDETT,  DIRECTOR of Lila Music Centre

Cari Burdett lives through music, as anyone who has spent five minutes with her immediately understands.  Her life’s path winds through a garden of music studies and teaching, performance, and experimentation.


Cari has complemented her impeccable formal education with further independent studies, for a total of over sixteen years of professional music training.

Following her graduation from McGill University (Montreal) with her Bachelor of Music in Opera Performance, Cari moved on to the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, where she completed her Master’s degree in Voice Performance.  She studied a varied repertoire with a focus on new music and composers Mahler, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Elgar and Britten.  Cari’s Master’s degree was designed in collaboration with working composers, giving her the very unusual accomplishment of giving world premiers of several new works, notably Shouts for Herodias: a Melodramatic Scena for solo voice, by Thomas Hyde.  She earned many honors, awards and scholarships in the pursuit of both degrees.

As she became a mother, Cari undertook an in-depth study of musical learning and teaching. She wrote her master’s thesis on using music improvisation for the development of the self.  Cari became deeply motivated by the importance of movement and music for children and adults, because of their gifts of coordination, intuition, and the freedom to experiment.  Her journey through this endeavor was based on the work of her mentor, Par Ahlbom.  While in Sweden, Cari studied with Ahlbom for 4 years and returned to continue on this path for two more summers. The teaching models Ahlbom developed in his career as a teacher, composer, improvisation master and student of Anthroposophy strongly influence Cari’s musical practice and her engagement with her students.

Cari’s training and teaching also draw consciously from twelve years of in-depth ballet training and musical theatre experience, and eight years of study in the Alexander Technique.  These components add depth to her integrated understanding of health and movement in the body as they relate to the freedom to make music.


A compelling mezzo-soprano, Cari mixes dashing personal energy with her brilliant voice and delivers something special.  Her passion for contemporary music and opera translates into truly unique vocal performances.  Her vivid presence and singing garnered her star reviews for her London performance of the role of Baba the Turk in Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress”, and most recently, Carl Jenkins’ ‘Stabat Mater’.  Equally at home on stage with early music, Cari has also been highly praised for her interpretations of the operatic roles of Monteverdi and Handel, as well as Baroque choral works of Handel and JS Bach. Currently, Cari is ecstatic to be singing again after a pause for family life and is studying privately with internationally acclaimed soprano, Nancy Argenta, while performing more and more.


Cari’s ongoing practice of music improvisation is the third leg of her musical life.  First, as noted, she spent almost six years in training with master teacher, composer and musician, Par Ahlbom, in Sweden.  Her in-depth studies in movement, music, and social development with Ahlbom have shaped her musical vision.  Cari’s other major improvisation mentor is Rhiannon, based in Hawaii.  In, 2009, Cari was selected by Rhiannon to participate in a group of only sixteen artists from around the world, to participate in an advanced year-long improvisation course.


Back in B.C. after living in Jarna (Sweden), Sardinia (Italy), London, and Montreal, Cari and her husband Massimo created Lila Music as a centre for their continued musical exploration and an offering to their new community.  Cari relies on over a decade of music teaching as together, they:

– teach voice and guitar

– lead choirs

– give workshops in North America and Europe

– teach parent and child music classes

– work with groups using music improvisation and social games.

– offer students exposure to practices of musicianship, musical theatre, recorder, music history games and more…

… all  while raising their two growing girls and baby boy.

As a result of her rich musical life path, Cari embodies a vast repertoire of musical styles, methods and expertise.  Her goal with her students is to use this deep background of knowledge and skills to lead students to joyfully and successfully learn and appreciate music. As a teacher specializing in voice, she uses a broad range of songs for choirs and private students, while always focussing on applying her knowledge and experience to help foster a healthy voice.


Karen Smith, Vancouver BC – Voice teacher
Winston Purdy, Montreal, QC  – Voice Teacher
Michael McMahon- Vocal Coach
Rhiannon – Vocal Improvisation
Penelope Mackay – Voice Teacher
Nancy Argenta – Voice teacher
Ingrid Attrot, Voice Teacher
Robert Holliston, Vocal Coach
Par Ahlbom – Mentor, coach, pedagogy teacher, improvisation,  Werbeck singing
Sinikka Mikkola – Werbeck Singing


S.M.U.S., University prep school school, Victoria BC
McGill University, Opera Performance Program, BMUS
Royal Academy of Music, London University, England, MMUS , Opera Performance
Voice Teacher  Licenciate – Royal Academy of Music, London, England


Intuitive Pedagogy Training, Waldorf Teacher Training with Par Ahlbom and other teachers, Solvik Jarna, Sweden., 2002- 2012, ongoing trainings.

ATWI – All the Way In – One year  Advanced Vocal Improvisation training, with Rhiannon, by invitation with 16 students from around the world, 2009

CCLT – Community Choir Leadership Training- with Shivon Robinsong and Dennis Donnely, from the Gettin’ Higher Choir, Victoria BC., 2008

The Way of Council Training, Level 1 and level 2 Ojai Foundation, 2012/2013

Ongoing Workshops and Masterclasses