Many composers have set poems from Robert Louis Stevenson’s cycle The Songs of Travel. However, one of the poems in particular, number 61, has challenged, encouraged and motivated me.
We uncommiserate pass into the night
From the loud banquet, and departing leave
A tremor in men's memories, faint and sweet
And frail as music. Features of our face,
The tones of the voice, the touch of the loved hand,
Perish and vanish, one by one, from earth:
Meanwhile, in the hall of song, the multitude
Applauds the new performer. One, perchance,
One ultimate survivor lingers on,
And smiles, and to his ancient heart recalls
The long forgotten. Ere the morrow die,
He too, returning, through the curtain comes,
And the new age forgets us and goes on.
For me the reminder of the inevitability of change and my mortality isn’t a sad thing. The reminder that time here is short and fleeting encourages me toward excellence in my singing and teaching and living.
I’ve been singing operas, oratorios and song recitals professionally since 2002 and have sung across Canada and in France. Some things I’ve performed recently include Western’s contribution to the Mysterious Barricades concerts, the Verdi Requiem with l’Orchestre Symphonique de Laval, the English Major in Montreal Opera’s production of Kevin Puts’ Silent Night, The Friar in Vancouver Opera’s production of Don Carlo, and the title role in Verdi’s Falstaff with Western University Opera where I am a doctoral candidate in their Doctor of Musical Arts program.
I enjoy teaching and coaching singers almost as much as performing and have maintained a private studio for as long as I’ve been singing professionally. I was a Voice Instructor for four years at Trinity Western University where I completed my Bachelor of Arts in voice performance. I have adjudicated the voice and choral competitions at the Kathaumixw International Choral Festival since 2008.
My doctoral research is focused on the Lieder of Czech composer Viktor Ullmann whose music I find to be engaging, lovely to listen to and fun to perform. I’m analyzing his Liederbuch des Hafis, comparing it to his other Lieder and the songs of his contemporaries. Ullmann and his music is interesting because while he studied with and was intimately acquainted with Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School, he chose to make his own way between tonality and atonality.
I continue to be very interested in vocal pedagogy, particularly as it pertains to lower voices, and am curious about neuroscientific research that pertains to music making and singing in particular.
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