My Music Background
My music background began by being part of a family that insisted on accurate pitch, singing in perfect harmony, taking piano lessons, and learning how to present ourselves respectfully and confidently from the get-go.
Private voice lessons began with Diana Morrison, a great soprano from the Royal Conservatory of Music at the University of Toronto, with whom I studied for one year during a period when she and her husband lived in Omaha. I was already working as a professional singer when Diana opened up the classical repertoire and cultural worlds to me. When she moved, I began several years of diligent study with Mary Fitzsimmons Massie, who gave me a solid foundation in the bel canto technique, the soprano repertoire, and a rigorous command of lyric diction. Mary Massie had been a protégée of Mary Munchoff who was a protégée of Mathilde Marchesi. These "Three M's" -- Marchesi, Munchoff, Massie -- were commemorated in a historical biography, beautifully written by Robert Reitz. As a teacher, the significance of being part of a singing tradition with a lineage directly stemming from Mathilde Marchesi means that my students share in this heritage. You can read Dr. Ruetz's story about the "Three M's" here.
For the last 30 years, I continue to work with Maître de chant Janine Reiss, who is reputed to be the greatest vocal coach of our time. Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Tereza Berganza, along with other famous singers would attest to this, as they have had private lessons with Janine or have worked with her in opera houses around the world. Over the years, Janine has become not only my singing teacher, but a very dear friend.
In addition to private voice training, I have benefitted from classes at the Juilliard School of Music, the Peabody Conservatory, and École Normale de Musique de Paris.
Vocal development and learning new repertoire is a never-ending and fascinating process. I will always be a student.
Janine Reiss in Paris
Mary Fitzsimmons Massie in Omaha
Diana Morrison in Bethesda