I've done a little of just about everything: sung in choirs, conducted them, sung in amateur and professional opera, performed as the ingenue in Chu Chin Chow, played the mother in a long list of operas, sung solos with professional orchestras, sung recitals, taught pop and classical singing, sung professionally in Catholic, Episcopal, Christian Science and Reformed Jewish religious services, worked as a professional music critic, acted in and directed plays, and I'm sure other things I have forgotten.
I hold the Doctor of Music with distinction from Indiana University where I studied voice, choral conducting and music history. I hold the BA and MA from California State University, Sacramento. I performed briefly in a German opera company. Later I became interested in musical performance by a computer-synthesizer. I made my last public appearance as a singer at age 50 in San Francisco when I sang a song cycle called For Sarah and Other Daughters by Gila Rayburg, and where I received my only standing ovation. My only other fame experience occurred when I was recognized in the street in San Francisco after the world premier performance of Vivian Fine's The Women in the Garden where I played Gertrude Stein.
My perspective on modern music is not going to be the same as the average reader.
When assembling recitals, I included songs by Charles Ives and Francis Poulenc. I even performed the Luigi Dallapiccola Goethe Lieder, a fully 12 tone piece, just because the poems were by Goethe.
I was cast in operas by Stravinsky, Martinu, Menotti, Vaughan-Williams, Benjamin Britten and Vivian Fine. I sang the alto solo in Honegger's King David and the chorus of Leoš Janáček's Glagolitic Mass and Honneger's Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher, a wonderful piece.
From a professional perspective this is not at all impressive, but it does cover a lot of styles. I sang Bach, Handel, Verdi, Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Smetana and lots of Mahler, but not a bit of Puccini or Strauss. I remember telling a voice teacher at IU that I had performed all the major works of Bach. He didn't believe me.
I am very much at home in the American 20th century, and feel this music to be old friends. Vanessa, Susannah and Antony and Cleopatra, though recently new to me, sounded exactly as I expected them to. If I had to write about nothing but Verdi and Puccini over and over I would probably quickly stop blogging.
Blogging for me is a learning experience. I have continued doing it all these years because I continue to find new things to interest me. What readers should make of all this, I can't imagine.
My day job was as a systems analyst for the Bechtel Corporation where I designed the Bechtel Procurement System. My father was an engineer, so I felt much more at home at Bechtel than I ever had in classical music.
When I began this blog, I was still working, but now I am retired. In my middle sixties I sang "In my life" by John Lennon at a wake. The words were relevant.
Oh. And I belong to Mensa.