Fanfare Contributor Bio
I was born in Los Angeles in 1942, and received a bachelor of arts degree from UCLA. I pursued graduate studies at the University of California and the Vienna Academy of Music, and studied piano with Serge Tarnowsky, Aube Tserko, John Crown, and Kyriena Siloti. Winning first prize in the Los Angeles Bureau of Music’s "Artists of the Future" vocal competition in 1962 made it possible for me to study the art of piano accompanying with Gwendolyn Koldofsky in Los Angeles, and Erik Werba in Vienna.
As an ensemble player I have performed under conductors including Igor Stravinsky, Robert Kraft, Lawrence Foster, Johannes Somari, and Richard Westenberg, and collaborated with Licia Albanese, Zinka Milanov, Jennie Tourel, Martial Singher, James McCracken, Theresa Zyllis-Gara, and other notable singers. In 1961 I began my long association with the Gregg Smith Singers, performing in major festivals and concert series throughout the world, and participating in their recording projects for Columbia Records of the complete choral works of Charles Ives, The Glory of Gabrieli, the complete choral works of Arnold Schoenberg, and the Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky. series. As well I played for Smith’s recordings of Irving Fine, Heinrich Schütz, and Franz Schubert, and appeared as accompanist for the Roger Wagner Chorale in the inaugural-week celebration of the Los Angeles Music Center. I also appeared in the opening season of New York’s Philharmonic Hall as accompanist for the Norman Luboff Choir.
In 1971 I founded the New York Vocal Arts Ensemble, which for 35 years toured the world and recorded vocal chamber works by master composers of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. After winning first place in the Geneva International Competition by unanimous decision of the judges, the ensemble appeared in major venues including Lincoln Center; Kennedy Center; Carnegie Hall; the Library of Congress; Dumbarton Oaks; Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia universities; and the capitals of Europe and South America.
I have served as principal coach in the opera department of the University of Southern California; associate professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook; and taught classes in vocal chamber music at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz where I played for Jeannie Tourel’s master classes. At UCLA and the Music Academy of the West I played for the classes of Martial Singher and the students of Lotte Lehman.
Television appearances include an NBC Christmas special, which I hosted, scripted, and played for the Metropolitan Opera soprano Theresa Zyllis-Gara; the Today Show, CBS’s Good Morning America, and an interview with Charlie Rose.
I am currently on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music, where for the past 15 years I have given classes in vocal chamber music and vocal accompanying.
I was a contributing editor of The Opera Quarterly from 1989 to 2004, and for many years reviewed for Fanfare as well as the British journal The Classic Record Collector. At present I am associate editor of Classical Voice.
Lawson Gould, Inc., Galaxy, and Walton Press publish my translations and edited editions of numerous choral and vocal chamber works.
I have been a resident of New York City since 1970.