Conor Healy had a banner 2014. He placed an astonishing ninth out of 17,000 students on the University of Waterloo’s Fermat Mathematical Contest. And owing to his opera singing talents, the eclectic IB1 student was one of just six international applicants to be accepted at the prestigious Centre for Opera Studies’ (COSI) summer program in Sulmona, Italy. To top it off, he was accepted in the competitive Ontario Youth Choir.
For his COSI audition, Healy sang an aria, “Gial Sole Dal Gange” by Alessandro Scarlatti. (You can see him sing this in video below.)
“I applied to the program because Italy is one of the world’s true centres for excellent music in this category — and it’s really a part of the culture there,” he says. “It’s definitely the place to go if you’re looking to develop an interest.”
It’s quite a feat to bridge the arts and math divide with such success, but Healy says he “feels a lot of creativity” when doing both. Though Healy has his eye on university studies in urban planning, his interest in choral music has been cultivated since boyhood.
“I was just singing something generic in a preschool assembly and the janitor came up to my mom and insisted she get me into a choir,” he says.
Indeed, he was a member of the world renowned Toronto Children’s Chorus from 2006 to 2010. During that time he had the privilege of some incredible concert experiences. They included participating in the ninth World Choral Festival and performing with the revered Vienna Boys Choir at the famed Musikverein among other hallowed halls. He’s now in a new youth choir for Chorus alumni and, to keep the accolades coming, he just got accepted into the Ontario Youth Choir.
“Conor is a fine baritone,” said Elise Bradley, the Toronto Children’s Chorus director, in her reference letter for Healy’s application to the COSI. “He has always possessed excellent sight-singing, theory, and organizational skills. He is also kind, mature, dependable, and respectful.”
In addition to individual singing coaching, the COSI program also offers language classes, Pilates bodywork specially created for singers and the opportunity to sing in regional concerts.