Birth Place: San Francisco, CA
Education: Living life and caring, digging deep, taking risks, persisting, being honest and aware, laughing, sharing, listening, and maintaining an open mind... As for schools, Burkes, Cate, Yale, the San Francisco Conservatory, and the Vienna Musikhochschule... And amazing mentors and colleagues in music.
One World Symphony Mezzo-Soprano
1. Are any of your family members musicians? If
so, what do they do?
My dad has a gorgeous voice, and he is tone deaf but LOVES to sing. Mom has a lovely voice, a deep passion for music, and an affinity for creative people. My brothers are both extremely musical and play multiple instruments. Both of them have been in bands, writing their own music. Many of my cousins play, but not professionally. I have a great aunt that was a composer... So, clearly there is music in the genes... I am thankful that I was encouraged to play instruments from a very young age. I had years of piano and violin before I began to sing seriously. And when I did sing, I started in a professional chorus, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, more or less because some of my friends were doing it and I was rather competitive by nature. One day, a retired coach from Covent Garden Opera passed by our house while I was singing. He came to the door to inquire about the voice, and discovered me at twelve years old. I started studying opera and classical repertoire with him and continued, while in high school, with a very important teacher at UC Santa Barbara. I wouldn't say I consciously "chose" to focus on operatic and classical music... Some singers long to be able to sing the repertoire, and thus study. In my case, the voice was there, people were hearing it and encouraging me in the operatic direction, and I was curious about this voice in me and willing to explore... It opened up a whole new world for my family.
2. What has been the highlight of your One World
Symphony career to date?
What a hard question! Certainly, singing Carmen and exploring the details and nuances (and possibilities) for the music, with young, passionate and inventive musicians, was not only rewarding but also FUN. Singing Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito was musically an out of body experience. The concert was done "concerto style", with the singers in concert with conductor and concertmaster... This allows the singers to feel one with the orchestra, which is a powerful feeling one cannot get while standing on the stage, with the orchestra in a pit... Musically, such concerts are exceptional experiences. Singing the "fugue" from Verdi's Falstaff was similarly musically rewarding. I've loved the experiences with chamber works and presenting fresh musical ideas. In essence, working with One World Symphony has allowed me to be the best musician I can be. But, the highlight to date was witnessing the incredible success of One World Symphony's Town Hall debut as an audience member, enjoying the electricity and excitement of the concert and the multiple, unending standing ovations.
3. What would you say is your favorite piece of
This is a rather impossible question to answer... The tuneful, lyric selections of the Beatles, the Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd or High Creek Rising, anything sung by Allison Krauss, Joni Mitchell or Ella Fitzgerald, Yildiz Imbramova, Jazz Combos exploring the standards, the last section of Brahms's Alto Rhapsody, the Lieder of Mahler, Mozart's "Et incarnatus Es", and everything Bach... At least, this is what comes to mind in this moment...
4. What's the best thing about One World Symphony?
The best thing about One World Symphony is that they make music, with passion and a great deal of craft, for the love of the game. I find the Artistic Director expects excellence and brings it out of the musicians, but he does so with a strong sense of humanity, with spiritual connection, and with warmth and a smile. As a result, the best thing is the particular flavor and quality of the music.
...And the worst moment (if any)?
I guess the worst moment I've every had with One World Symphony involved getting quite sick before a concert and worrying about missing the opportunity to help make the music come alive. It is awful to be confronted with vulnerability and physical limitation. Thankfully, I was able to pull through and share something special with the orchestra and audience. You see, that is when the craft runs full circle... not just "doing" or performing, but sharing with colleagues and with the audience. When the concert is over and everyone is touched, smiling, applauding and electric, it is success.
5. What music do you listen to in the car or subway?
On the subway I like to watch and listen to other people's conversations. Somehow listening to music in that active, diverse environment seems wasteful... unless I am listening to music/practice sessions for something I am trying to learn (time always being of the essence!). In the summers when I drive my own car, I listen to my XFM radio and explore Jazz artists, Bluegrass, music of the '70s or '80s, anything I may not have heard before but know I'll enjoy. I always have an appetite for Jazz.
6. What is your favorite drink?
In the morning, coffee, during the day, plenty of water, in the evening and with company, a good bottle of wine, and now and again, a single malt scotch with just one rock.
7. What was the most recent book you read?
I read "Prisoner of Liberty" by Rev. Doc. Judith Gellert, an amazing woman that I came to know in the spring. She was born in Transylvania, the daughter of a Unitarian Minister that was persecuted by the Communists. She became a concert violinist at a young age, phase one of her life. During phase two, she became a medical doctor (psychiatrist), one who played in an excellent string quartet of medical doctors that appreciated the connection to the spiritual aspects of life, through music. During phase three of her life she attended divinity school and has become an important Unitarian Minister, following in the footsteps of her father. I also re-read the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe, stories I enjoy on par with the fairy tales of Roald Dahl.
8. When you do have some free time, how do you
I like to write poetry and essays. I enjoy allowing my thoughts to expand and letting my mind wander. I like to stretch. I also enjoy good movies, cooking and driving through the various wine countries of the world (whatever is closest), tasting, of course.
9. If you had the opportunity to time travel,
when and where would you prefer to live?
I am pretty curious about my ancestors' whereabouts in the 1800s in California. I am a sixth-generation Californian, and I am curious about the sheep ranches simple living that my family experienced in those days. I'm also curious about my Scottish and Spanish heritage (although it is puzzle on that side, whether the roots are Italian, Spanish or something other). There are sheep and farming in those pictures also, so perhaps I travel to the old days and living on the farm. I am sure there was singing of a different sort going on, and a relative with a voice like mine. I imagine singing outdoors, more in the form of folk songs and lullabies.
10. If you weren't a musician what would you be?
I wrote on my college application that I wanted to be an opera singer or a psycho-pharmacologist to study the effect of drugs on the brain. I'm relatively sure that if I weren't singing professionally, I'd be a psychiatrist or psychologist, a counselor of some kind.
11. Why would you recommend to other musicians
and public to participate with One World Symphony?
I think musicians and the public should participate for the same reason: fresh young talent and voices, infusing the music with a new perspective and rare youthful energy and curiosity... music making meets passion, meeting musicianship. The walls are down, there are no pretenses... only music, community and many smiles.
12. What are your hobbies?
Outside of thinking and writing, I also love to exercise. I love the pool, the beach, and the sun. I like to drive mountain and country roads in a convertible. I'm curious to paint but have done very little of it. I like to cook, to decorate rooms, to design buildings, to design and play with clothing, to take pictures and to explore art galleries and museums. There should be more live music in museums, because I love listening live music while considering art.