On Monday, Feb. 8, one of the world’s most important collaborative pianists will collaborate with College of Music pianists and vocalists. Workshops and a public master class are on the schedule when University of Michigan professor Martin Katz comes to Boulder.
“Martin Katz has dedicated his life to educating others in this art—especially in vocal coaching,” says Associate Professor of Collaborative Piano Margaret McDonald. “To have him pass this great knowledge on to our students is exciting.”
In addition to leading Michigan’s collaborative piano program for more than 30 years, Katz has an impressive resume: He’s performed with the likes of Marilyn Horne, David Daniels and Lawrence Brownlee, to name just a few. But McDonald says beyond this performing history, he’s one of the first collaborative pianists to dedicate his career to teaching this speciality.
“Before his generation, there were many important pianists collaborating with singers and instrumentalists, but no one was teaching it and passing along their knowledge,” she explains.
McDonald says Katz has connections with several College of Music faculty, including voice faculty Matthew Chellis, Jennifer Bird-Arvidsson and others. Vocal Coach and Associate Professor of Voice Mutsumi Moteki studied with Katz while pursuing her DMA in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music.
“He is the most generous teacher, who wants all of his students to be able to do what he can do,” says Moteki. “The most important lesson he taught me is that music is not just the notes on the page. You have to find it behind the notes and bring it out.”
Senior Vocal Coach Jeremy Reger also studied with Katz as he pursued his DMA from Michigan.
“Right before I started studying with Martin, I asked some of his former students about the experience,” Reger recalls. “They said that it was extremely difficult, but not a day goes by in their music-making career when they don't think about something he said. And I can honestly say, that is so very true.
“Not a day goes by when I don't think about something he taught or showed me,” Reger says. The two were also on the faculty of the vocal piano program at the Music Academy of the West.
Moteki also has fond memories of learning from Katz in Ann Arbor—particularly of a day shortly after she obtained her Green Card.
“At the end of a weekly studio class, one student came out to the stage with a big cake, and another student started to play the 'Star-Spangled Banner.' Mr. Katz had ordered a big cake with a map of the U.S. to celebrate this occasion,” she says.
Moteki adds that while Katz will only be in Boulder for a day, it’s sure to be a memorable experience for the entire College of Music community
“Not only the performers at the master class, but also everyone in the audience will learn so much by watching him teach,” she says
“We simply want people to be inspired by someone who is so dedicated to this art,” McDonald says.
The public is invited to an open master class with graduate voice students and collaborative pianists on Monday, Feb. 8, 4-6 p.m. in Grusin Music Hall.
Martin Katz Schedule of Events
Monday, Feb. 8
10 a.m.-noon, Grusin Music Hall
Session with undergraduate singers and collaborative pianists
Open to students and faculty only
1 p.m.-3 p.m., Imig C-199
Session and Q&A with collaborative pianists
Open to students and faculty only
4 p.m.-6 p.m., Grusin Music Hall
Master class with graduate voice students and collaborative pianists
Free and open to the public