HOMETOWN: New York City
HAS PERFORMED WITH: Karen Gordon, Seattle Opera, the Israeli Opera
FAVORITE CONCERT ATTENDED: Wynton Marsalis and Wycliffe Gordon, Ether redge Center, University of South Carolina Aiken, 2005. "It was just a magnificent concert. ... We saw two consummate jazz artists just being in the moment."
PRE-SHOW RITUAL: "I have a moment of contemplation, where I say to the composers, 'I will do my best.' ... Mozart can't hold your hand and Gershwin can't hold your hand. They've left what they wrote, and then it's in your hands to interpret for the audience what they were trying to say. And I just say, I will do my best to make the audience realize what it was that you were feeling and thinking and understanding when you wrote this and I hope that I can, through me, let you commune with the audience. 'Cause the performer really is the medium, the vessel, the deliverer. And that's a huge responsibility and a wonderful, joyful opportunity."
FAVORITE RESTAURANT: La Maison on Telfair
FIRST PERFORMANCE: Bloomfield Senior High School, New Jersey. "There was a talent show, and lots of kids were wanting to be a part of this show, and it didn't even occur to me to do it. But then (my high school music teacher) heard me sing Rodgers and Hart's song Blue Moon ... and she said, 'Take that to the talent show.' And I did. And it was just a wonderful feeling to deliver the music to a crowd of people who were willing to listen and appreciate this wonderful song."
FAVORITE MOVIES: "I love Turner Classic Movies. I'm an addict."
STORYTELLING: "When I do perform -- and this is another thing -- I always talk about the music. I don't just get up and sing. And I have said to audiences, 'Do you like to hear these stories about how this music came into being?' Because I really have a lot of academic interest and scholarly interest in how these songs got written, because it helps me to understand the composer's intention, and I think it gives a more fulfilling performance."
FAVORITE ARTISTS: Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Rachmaninoff, Verdi, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong