Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jan DeGaetani Remembered

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the death of my teacher Jan DeGaetani. I find it difficult to believe that these twenty years have passed, perhaps because it’s difficult still to imagine a world without Jan in it.

Jan taught many students who would later go on to have successful careers. All were inspired by her gift: an uncanny ability to sound spontaneous, simple, unpretentious and yet sophisticated and profound. She taught by creating an environment in which questions stimulated the imagination.

Jan DeGaetani died at age 56, a tragically young death for her family, students and the musical world. She was among the most respected musicians of her generation, and considered one of the most eloquent and extraordinary song recitalists the United States has ever produced. Jan devoted her musical life to art song and music of every genre, and her longtime collaboration with pianist Gilbert Kalish produced many unforgettable performances. Theirs was a true partnership between, not only a singer and pianist, but between two very special musicians. And in their recordings, they left an important legacy for future generations.

I miss her today and every day.

(August 1989-the last time I saw Jan)

Additional Links:
NY TImes Obituary
New Yorker Magazine, Tribute Concerts

From a 1981 New York Times Review, Donald Henahan

"With the pianist Gilbert Kalish, she went straight to the heart of every song she sang, and never more directly and affectingly than in the world premiere of George Crumb's song cycle, ''Apparition.''

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