Curtain Call: Lindsay Kuzmutiz is a fan of German choral music and headbangers – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

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Soprano Lindsay Kuzmitz, center, performs with the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, whose season opens October 29. Photo Cornelius Matteo

Soprano Lindsay Kuzmitz sings under the baton of conductor Paul French during a rehearsal of the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers. Cornelius Matteo picture

You really can’t put Lindsay Kuzmitz in a box.

Not a woman who, on the one hand, receives rave reviews for her “brilliant and memorable soprano solo” in a rendition of Baroque composer Henry Purcell’s “Jubilate”, and who, on the other hand, is “really a fan of ” Rammstein, a German crossover band influenced by alternative and groove metal combined with elements of electro-industrial and techno.

Lead singer of the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, Kuzmitz, 34, loves classical music but appreciates many other genres of music.

“My husband and I recently flew to Los Angeles for one of Rammstein’s shows and they were amazing,” she said.

How heavy and industrial are they? Suffice it to say, the band’s name translates into English as “Ramming Stone.”

By day, she’s a kitchenware shopper and station manager at Paddington Station in Ashland. And in her spare time, she and her husband operate a six-acre farm.

“We mainly focus on raising cattle,” she said. “Sheep to maintain the property, llamas to protect the sheep and hens for their wonderful eggs.

It keeps her very busy, but she loves the balancing aspect of it all.

“Cooking and food are other passions for me, so my job in retail is really fun for me. And it gives me the financial flexibility to work on whatever music projects I choose.

His next “project” is the Rep Singers season-opening concert, “Light out of Shadow,” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 and 3 p.m. Oct. 30 at the SOU Music Recital Hall, 450 S. Mountain Ave. ., Ashland.

“After the success of COVID in 2020, I was unable to sing with the Repertory Singers for 17 months,” she said. “I have a new appreciation for every gig we get the chance to do.”

Kuzmitz was born and raised in Walnut Creek, California, where music was part of family life. There was an upright piano in the house which his mother had played as a child, and Kuzmitz took piano lessons from a young age through high school. His father, although not a music maker, was a classical music fan.

In high school, she sang in several choirs, an extracurricular female octet, vocal jazz ensembles, and school musicals.

Kuzmitz remembers hearing very different choral music one day, which made a big impression on her.

“My high school choir director played the barber ‘Agnus Dei’ in class, and I was completely floored,” she said.

American composer Samuel Barber was a neo-romantic and composed through a modernist lens.

“I was used to mostly Beethoven and Handel style choral music growing up,” she said, “and it was a choral sound unlike anything I had heard. It was deeply moving. »

She planned to attend Chapman University in Orange County, but a trip to Rogue Valley during summer vacation in high school changed her mind.

“My dad and I visited Ashland and SOU, just to check it out,” she said.

They didn’t have a date, but found a man in the music building who was happy to tell them about the department.

“Talking to him that day totally changed where I would go to college,” she said. “I decided pretty much straight away that SOU was where I wanted to be. The impromptu meeting with him that day changed my life.

That man was Paul French, who recently retired from SOU after teaching there for 34 years. He is musical director and conductor of the Rep Singers.

Kuzmitz earned a Bachelor of Music degree at SOU with a focus on performance and music education.

Part of her college experience was a year of study abroad in Vienna.

“I was completely immersed in the world of classical music. It was an amazing time in my life,” she said.

Highlights include visiting the Volksoper (folk opera) and Stadtsoper (city opera) as often as she likes, weekly studies with her vocal coach, Maria Droulou, and train trips to Salzburg for lessons. with Barbara Bonney, considered one of the most accomplished operatic sopranos.

While at SOU, Kuzmitz sang with the concert choir under the direction of Fredna Grimland and the chamber choir under the direction of French. She was also a member of the student-led madrigal group, “Raiders of the Lost Art”, and performed in a number of operas with the Rogue Valley Opera Company. She joined Rep Singers in 2008 while still a student.

One of his most memorable SOU experiences was his senior recital, which focused primarily on German songs featuring texts by Johann Goethe and Hugo Wolf, and music by Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann.

“The recital was a wonderful moment for me. To work so long and hard on the music, and then perform it in front of a supportive community of friends and family, was really special.

She can still play a little piano, but vocal performance is her main interest.

“What I love most about singing is that there is no other instrument that compares to the human voice,” she said. “Each voice is so different, expressing a variety of emotions, styles and colors to best serve the music.”

The Rep Singers repertoire pleases him.

“I’m inspired when I hear a text or a melody so beautiful that it stops me dead,” she said. “This is often accomplished through the music of the incredible Repertory Singers Composer-in-Residence, Jodi French.”

Although Kuzmitz mainly studied opera in college, her passion has always been choral music.

“There is breathtaking choral music being written today,” she said.

“I also like music from the Baroque and Renaissance periods. Vocally, opera is very difficult for me. Stylistically, baroque can be very difficult. There are so many details and nuances.

Is there any music or roles still on her to-do list?

“I would love to tackle Mahler’s ‘Rückert-Lieder’, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano.” She says it really doesn’t match the range and color of her voice, “but it’s so beautiful, I don’t care!”

She has many other interests besides her job, the farm and music.

“I enjoy gardening, cooking, canning, camping and spending time with our two dogs, Lucy and Nala.”

All the while, one would imagine she might be humming – perhaps an aria from a favorite opera, or a ditty from some German headbanger.

For more information about Rep Singers and to purchase concert tickets, visit repsingers.org.

Contact writer Jim Flint at [email protected]

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