blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mr Diamant's legacy

Some music teachers exert an influence that extends beyond their lives. My husband Chris has weekly singing lessons from his teacher, the versatile Jack Cook, who, in his turn, several decades ago, was taught in Montreal by Bernard Diamant:
Bernard Diamant
Bernard Diamant. Baritone, teacher, b Rotterdam 11 Oct 1912, naturalized Canadian 1955, d Holland Aug 1999; honorary LL D (Dalhousie) 1988. A son of the choir conductor and composer Bernard Diamant and the operatic soprano Marie Taverne, he began playing cello and piano as a child. Starting voice lessons at 17, he studied at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, and privately in Holland, Germany, and France. [...] After singing in opera and concert in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Holland, Diamant moved in 1950 to Montreal [...] In the 1960s he curtailed his performing career and expanded his teaching activities, establishing in 1968 a second private vocal class in Toronto. He received a Centennial Award in 1967. In 1972 he joined the University of Toronto Faculty of Music and opera department [...] continued to teach [there] until 1991, then returned to Holland. [...] He was particularly known for his expertise in German lieder and French art song.
(The Canadian Encyclopedia)
He taught Maureen Forrester (1930-2010), as well.

Although Professor Diamant died before we had even heard of him, for the last ten years Jack, now in his 90s, has been explicitly aiming to pass on this expertise to Chris, while I help (or often hinder) the process by struggling through the accompaniments of the songs they work on. One of these, Schubert's famous Heidenröslein, was the last song ever performed in public by Diamant, as an encore; he must have loved it, so I'm sure that when Jack advises Chris where to slow down and what to emphasise in that song, it is actually Prof. Diamant who is the guiding force.

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