Growing up in Wisconsin, just across the river from my new home of Pickwick, MN, I held an early fascination for specific musicians. One example was Richard Stoltzman, a clarinetist who appeared on Sesame Street. From the age of four onward, I knew I wanted to play clarinet because of that episode, and it became my primary instrument through my entry into college as a music major. Another musician I adored was Dick Van Dyke’s “Bert” from Mary Poppins--the concept of a one-man band was simply irresistible (how much noise can one child make?!).
Given these examples, perhaps it seems odd to choose singing as my profession. To me, it makes perfect sense. The human voice is by FAR the most versatile, flexible instrument one may access--as a contemporary singer, I’m often tasked to perform as if I’m a one-woman band! My voice operates very much like a clarinet; similar range, similar proclivity to movement... training as a woodwind player has always informed my vocalization. Last but not least, the piano has always been present. My first music lessons were on the piano, and I spent my entire childhood playing and singing (to accompany myself, my sister, the high school choir, whoever would let me near the keyboard!).
It is certainly not a unique setup. Countless performers play piano and sing simultaneously, from Nina Simone, to Billy Joel, to Tom Waits, and beyond. It is uncommon in the realm of classical music now, though once it was common on concert stages and salon recitals. I seek to revive self-accompanying in “art song” for a number of reasons.
I have performed salon recitals in Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Ann Arbor, and I am just delighted to get to share these songs with you in my new home state. Please join me on Friday the 16th for a light, fun evening of song!