Renowned pianist visits College of Musical Arts

Students in the College of Musical Arts had the chance to work with an honored pianist and vocal coach the past two days.

Pianist Margo Garrett, internationally known for her performances in chamber, sonata and vocal recitals, hosted several master classes and work sessions with University students as part of the Helen McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies.

Student pianists and vocalists performed for Garrett and received feedback and tips on their performances and music in general.

“Listen to what’s there and use the information at hand,” Garrett said to a pair of performers.

Garrett won a Grammy in 1992 for Best Vocal Recital and has performed the premiers of more than 30 works as a pianist. She grew up in a musical household, her mother was a singer, but Garrett only sang in the shower and never had dreamt of being a soloist. “I didn’t care about fame or what the audience thought, I just wanted respect from colleagues, now I care about the audience,” Garrett said.

She told the group of students if they are looking for fame they are in the wrong profession and they are in a high-standard world where, “to master it, there has to be years and years of study.”

Dedication and hard work were points Garrett repeated throughout her visit.

“I hope my visit increased students’ commitment to developing themselves to the best of their ability in singing and playing in their areas of passion which they often don’t let themselves,” Garrett said.

In addition to the long hours practicing, Garrett encouraged students to experiment and “have more fun in the work.”

Student Abby Krawson had the opportunity to sing and receive feedback from Garrett that she will carry with her.

“I respect her opinion a great deal, she is very well versed and has worked with so many great singers ” she knows what is the best of the best,” Krawson said.

LaRich’eacute; Jones enjoyed Garrett’s visit because it gave her insight on topics as a musician.

“Her experience on dealing with collaborating between pianist and vocalist is something we don’t work on much inside the classroom,” Jones said.

Garrett’s visit was sponsored by Helen McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies. Helen McMaster and her late husband Harold established the professorship in 2000. The couple has actively supported many University programs including those in music, business and science. Previously the choral professorship had hosted one guest each school year, but this year they are expanding having a guest each semester. In the spring the college will host choral conductor Vance George.

Garrett said University students are fortunate because of all the campus has to offer from contemporary music, song competitions and festival series, “there is so much for the artists to feed on right on campus.”