Maple Leaf Music Lessons

Creative Music Instruction in North Seattle

Maria Mannisto

Voice & Piano


Maria Mannisto has extensive performing history as a singer, pianist and organist. She moves comfortably among Baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary vocal works, to great international acclaim. Her recent engagements include Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel and Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate with the Seattle Symphony, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra. 

Last season, she appeared with EOS Oper in Cologne, Germany as Tomoe in Garrett Fisher's new opera Kakitsubata and Margaret in Fisher's Passion of St. Thomas More. Ms. Mannisto has premiered new works by local Seattle composers Wayne Horvitz, Garrett Fisher, Tom Baker, and William O. Smith. She has performed over 30 solo recitals in the US, Finland, Belgium, and Germany, and has performed and recorded with The Tudor Choir, The Flemish Radiochoir, and The Byrd Ensemble. She is the primary organist at the Finnish Lutheran Church in Seattle.

Ms. Mannisto received her M.M. in Voice Performance from the University of Washington, studying under renowned soprano Jane Eaglen.


About Lessons with Maria

I provide vocal technique to singers of all disciplines and voice types: opera, jazz, pop/rock, and music theater. Through my technique-based approach, I help students build a strong foundation from which they can safely explore the various genres that interest them. Each lesson begins with a series of warm-up exercises adapted to the individual student, which help to free up tension and establish healthy singing habits. Topics include:

  • Proper breathing technique
  • Explanations of vocal anatomy, as necessary
  • Vowel alignment
  • Resonance
  • Pitch and tone consistency

Following the warm-up, we will move on to work on repertoire and any other specific student goals or concerns. Possibilities include:

  • Repertoire for school entry auditions, solo/ensemble, vocal competitions, opera role preparations, etc.
  • Original student compositions
  • Acting and diction coaching
  • The mental game of singing
  • Sight reading and ear training
  • Healthy speaking technique

I encourage students to record lessons, and to revisit these recordings often between lessons in order to reinforce techniques and precipitate progress. Because vocal technique is so abstract, I employ a variety of visualization techniques tailored to the individual to make these abstract concepts easier to understand. Above all, I encourage students to have fun, and to enjoy the sounds and sensations that their own instruments create.