I Heart Chamber Music

Right now I’m headed to Santa Fe to sing Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Santa Fe Pro Musica’s baroque ensemble. A week ago I got home from singing concerts in Ann Arbor with the award-winning chamber group Wayward Sisters. It’s a dreamy couple of weeks for me.

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I love all the different kinds of singing that I do. As previously discussed, symphony gigs are the most luxurious. I also love to get caught up in the drama of oratorio performances with full choir and orchestra. And in solo recitals I can interact with the audience in very special ways. But my heart’s true home, musically speaking, is chamber music.

There’s no other experience like making chamber music. Singing with just a handful of other singers or players is a unique and soul-feeding kind of collaboration. I love conductors (so much, apparently, that I married one) but working without one forces — or allows — the performers to feel the music together and to communicate only with breaths and looks and sometimes a little bit of telepathy. Usually the audience is close and well-lit, and they become part of the music-making as well. When chamber music is done well, there is an electricity in the room that sends everyone out at the end of the night feeling they were part of something great.

During my weekend off between these two lovely gigs Anne Timberlake, the recorder player of Wayward Sisters, happened to be in Raleigh and we met for brunch and post concert debriefing. I told her how I adore singing with her group and how chamber music is my favorite. With a glint in her eye she said “of course, because it’s the best” as if I had made the most obvious statement in the world. I guess I’m not the only one who feels that way. How lucky am I that I have a deliciously varied career that includes a healthy portion of chamber music.

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