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Portrait Gallery: Carol Wilson, soprano

Carol Wilson, soprano

Carol Wilson, right, came to the College of Music in 2012 as a visiting professor, and was appointed associate professor of voice in fall 2013. She has also served on the voice faculties at Oberlin College, Vassar College and Sarah Lawrence College, among others. Noted for her vocal versatility, Wilson has performed principal roles with many of the world’s major opera houses, in addition to frequent concert engagements and performances of 20th and 21st century chamber repertoire. She performs a free recital along with several other faculty members at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in Voertman Hall.

Q: You are probably best known for your operatic roles, but you also frequently perform as a soloist with symphony orchestras and as a chamber musician. What made you want to pursue such a versatile career?

A: I think it must be in my DNA to want that versatility. When I was working on my doctorate at the Yale School of Music I had the opportunity to perform a broad range of repertoire, early music, contemporary chamber music, and everything in between. I was hooked. Performing repertoire from different genres appeals to me—variety is the spice of life.

Q: Your upcoming recital on Feb. 9 includes music from the early to late 20th century: Webern to Andre Previn. Is it difficult to perform such a wide range of repertoire in a single concert? 

A: Not really. I find it quite freeing to change hats so many times during a recital.

Q:  Koetsier’s Galgenlieder (Gallow Songs) is written for soprano and tuba – quite an unusual instrumentation. What made you want to perform this piece? 

A: I first came to know this piece while I was living in Germany, singing with Deutsche Oper am Rhein. I was putting together a recital program and my coach suggested these songs. The idea of a soprano on stage next to a large brass instrument is visually funny, so I had to do them. And they are unknown to the public.

Q: You have described yourself as an “advocate for 20th and 21st century music.” Why do you feel it’s important to promote this repertoire?

A: I think it’s important that each generation leave a legacy of compositions. This requires not only composers, but performers and an audience. The 20th century has been a time of tremendous change, and the composers have been relatively free to write in their own style. Charles Ives, for instance, was an insurance executive who wrote over 100 songs and symphonic works, often in a very eclectic style. Each of the compositions on my program were written in the 20th century, and each have their own with individuality.

Q: After teaching at several other schools, what made you choose to join the UNT voice faculty? 

A: Well, I think we chose each other! I believe it works both ways. There’s such a great energy in the College of Music and the Division of Vocal Studies, something for which UNT can be enormously proud.  There are some 1600 students, and a world-class faculty wholly committed to creating a vibrant environment in which everyone can learn and grow.  That’s so very appealing.  Besides, my husband and I have an apartment in New York City, the largest city in the country, so it makes sense that I am on the faculty of the largest music school in the country.

Posted on: Fri 07 February 2014

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