James’ Brand New Blog

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice . . . & sing like Western’s Don Wright music faculty’s Cindy Zhang

- October 26th, 2012

 

Cindy Zhang 2

Cindy Zhang photograph, courtesy of Janis Wallace, Western Don Wright music faculty

Go Cindy Zhang & thanks as always to Don Wright music faculty media ace Janis Wallace for the following:

Three days in New York are a bit of a blur for Cindy Zhang, a master’s vocal student at the Don Wright Faculty of Music. She was so awed by singing at Carnegie Hall, she missed hearing her name called as honorary mention at the 6th Annual New Tang Dynasty (NTD) International Vocal Competition. As well as the crowd in the auditorium, people around the world heard it on NTD television networks.

To get to that point, Zhang sang in three rounds of competitions with singers from around the world. The finalists sang together on the final day. And what better way to celebrate their achievements than by singing the drinking song from La Traviata with opera phenom Marcello Giordani.

The competition, Oct. 19-21, is part of NTD’s series of cultural events to revive traditional Chinese culture, and each finalist was required to sing a Chinese song in bel canto style along with their own selection of opera pieces.

Zhang’s vocal teacher at Western University, Rachel Mallon, told her about the competition last year and encouraged her to enter. Zhang spent the summer learning a piece in Mandarin. She chose a German aria for her opera selection.

Focused on her repertoire, Zhang had not realized the finalists would sing at Carnegie Hall. It wasn’t until the orientation in New York it dawned on her. “Eventually I realized this was why we were here – competing for an opportunity to sing at Carnegie Hall. That was when the scope of the competition hit me. I was close to tears. I wanted to go home. I just wanted to pass the preliminaries.”

She passed that first round and the second and found herself on the legendary stage. “It was scary when all the people were in it because it does not feel the same.”

Her preparation paid off. After Zhang sang her German aria, one of the other competitors began speaking backstage to her in German – her diction was so good, he thought it was her first language. “I told him that’s because at my school we teach diction. The information they give us is correct. Todd Wieczorek is very specific in class. It has to sound natural. That was a very reassuring moment for me.”

A reporter at the event asked Zhang what was next she replied, “Well, I have a politics paper due next week.” He started to laugh, then asked her age. When she told him 22, he asked, “How does it feel to be the youngest finalist to make it to Carnegie?”

 

Categories: Entertainment

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