Interviews

 

Kalvos & Damian New Music Bazaar was a radio program about contemporary music hosted by the alter egos of composers Dennis Báthory-Kitsz and David Gunn. Beginning in 1995, the program aired for over 10 years on WGDR in Plainfield, Vermont and is now archived online, where it offers a trove of interviews with many leading composers and performers. In this broadcast from 2005, Jacqueline Bobak is interviewed by Dennis Báthory-Kitsz. Recorded excerpts played include Daryl Runswick's Lady Lazarus, William Brooks' Vier alte Lieder, Mark Bobak's as if as, Ivo Medek's Ancient Stories, and David Rosenboom's And come up dripping. To listen to this interview, click here and select show 467 (titled Morning Break at Dink's), especially mp3 part 2.

The website Artists House features numerous articles, interviews and other information geared toward helping musicians and music entrepreneurs create sustainable careers. In this series of videoclips, recorded in 2005 at the California Institute of the Arts, Jacqueline Bobak talks about being a singer, teaching voice, and Being the Coordinator of the Voice Program at CalArts.

Advice to Aspiring Creative Artists: Assuming an individual has talent, Jacqueline Bobak recommends making sure music is what he must do as a career. The creative arts career is a struggle. Bobak explains that it takes a lot of perseverance and discipline. She also shares that having a career is 99 percent hard work and 1 percent talent. Also in this segment, Bobak comments on her conversations with concerned parents. She encourages parents to let their child follow the musical path if the child has discipline and talent. Be involved in the process and don't think too much about the end result.

Being a Singer and an Artist: Jacqueline Bobak talks about the requirements of being a singer. Singers must have a grasp of history. It's important to understand such aspects as the expected style and background of a piece. Bobak points out that some singers are able to grasp it more easily than others. She also explains the significance of immersing one's self by listening, studying, and attending concerts. The more studying, the more understanding one gains. Also in this segment, Bobak comments on the difficulty of only being a singer. She suggests at least being involved in literature. Bobak also stresses theatrical presence for the singer and musician. The excitement of living one's life creatively is covered as well.

Music from Other Cultures: Jacqueline Bobak talks about the importance of music from other cultures. Music from other cultures helps one embrace a more global perspective. It also helps one gain other skills such as with different tuning systems, rhythms, or disciplines. Bobak points out that students introduced to world music often end up incorporating elements from other cultures. Also, voice students gain broader extended vocal techniques in a global context rather than a western context. 

Teaching Voice: Being a singer can involve making one's instrument and then learning how to play it. Jacqueline Bobak points out that students also work with coaches, who deal with repertoire and musical decisions. During lessons, students begin with scales and exercises and then use current repertoire broken apart as technical exercises. Also in this segment, Bobak explains that CalArts faculty are pretty traditional in teaching solid vocal techniques. She covers how CalArts deals with the individual as well. Singers don't graduate from CalArts all sounding the same. Instead, CalArts attempts to build on the individual voice. 

What do you look for in students?: Jacqueline Bobak talks about what she looks for when auditioning students. Students must be open minded, talented, and provide some sort of spirit in their performance. CalArts is also looking for music that's well prepared and a singer who has a promising future in vocal development. Bobak explains that Cal Arts attempts to prepare singers for a wide variety of experiences and styles. No longer do most singers follow traditional career paths. Instead, singers continue on to a variety of careers. Bobak shares that we live in a global culture that provides more access. Therefore, it is necessary to provide the appropriate tools so the singers know their instrument.

 

Reviews

 

“The soloist for the evening was singer Jacqueline Bobak. Her exceptional performance, equally polished whether singing with or without a microphone, reminded me most of the great artist Cathy Berberian. Like her, Jacqueline Bobak is able to sing and speak, whisper and roar, cry and laugh. Her voice has a tremendous range, and her intonation is quite sure. She handles her voice like a flawless instrument.”
—Petr Pokorny, translated by P. Goodson; Radio Vltava, Prague: “Critical Opinions” show


“For Mark Bobak's "bell thrush whisper," soprano Jacqueline Bobak stretched vocal parameters, dismantling language and blending traditional singing with extended vocal gestures. The mixed-bag approach suited a piece based on texts by e.e. cummings, and with a taped part built up from samples from nature and a whispered poem rendered abstract.”
—Josef Woodard, Los Angeles Times


“If anyone at the seminar on the expansion of vocal techniques had doubted whether the singer [Bobak] was able to sing “normally,” he or she would have found the performance of the Pudlák a very convincing answer. The quasi-romantic vocal line gave Jacqueline Bobak the opportunity fo highlight the natural charm of a classically trained voice, with perfect command of pianissimi even in the highest registers. It was a true delight for lovers of bel canto.”
—Jaroslav Štástný, Czech Music 2000: 4. “Breaking the Ice: Jacqueline Bobak in Brno”


“. . . the three vocalist[s] swaggered to the stage, drinking, smoking and camping it up, while also delivering some plainly lustrous performances. Bobak, especially, shone on Satie's "Je te veux" and "Tendrement," before our senses were disarmed by the musical question "Which do you prefer, music or ham?"
—Josef Woodard, Los Angeles Times


“Mark Bobak’s composition "bell thrush whisper" (on a text by e. e. Cummings), for soprano and electronics (with the composer at the mixing panel), showed both guests in the best possible light. Seldom does one have a chance to hear such an organic interaction of the vocal and electronic element, creating an effect so subtle and yet so inspired. The world of sound miraculously merged with the passing of trams and police cars, and visual pictures combined with the sound pictures in a unique and unforgettable experience.”
—Jaroslav Štástný, Czech Music 2000: 4. “Breaking the Ice: Jacqueline Bobak in Brno”


 “Jacqueline Bobak’s poised soprano shone throughout the finely cut atonal jewels of Mel Powell’s Settings for Soprano and Chamber Group, and she and Christopher Fuelling made uproarious work of the dysfunctional dating couple’s duet in Marc Lowenstein’s “hearts in need of mending,” with every word intelligibly heard.”
—Richard Ginell, Daily Variety, Los Angeles


“From another world entirely, Mark Bobak's "as if as, (fea, n(o)w" takes its text, not surprisingly, from e.e. cummings poems. The piece takes its procedural cues from cummings as well, as demonstrated beautifully by soprano Jacqueline Bobak.”
—Josef Woodard, Los Angeles Times


“Jacqueline Bobak as Lisette, Magda’s maid [in Puccini’s La Rondine], deserves special mention for her charm and acting ability. The Met couldn’t have found anymore more perfect for the role. Just as Madga describes her in the opera, Bobak’s Lisette was “impudent but amusing.”
—Rich Warren, The Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette


“Soprano Bobak and [Dan] Dlouhy masterfully performed a piece of [Ivo] Medek’s called Ancient Stories. Bobak’s rich yet crystal-clear voice was coupled with Dlouhy’s virtuoso percussion in an amazing technical display.” 
—Jim Ruggirello, gazettes.com, Long Beach CA


[in Frederic Rzewski’s oratorio, “The Triumph of Death”] “The resourceful singers, playing multiple roles effortlessly, were Jacqui Bobak, Paul Hillier, Adam Klein, and Carol Plantamura.”
—Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times


[in the title role in Martin Herman’s Orlando, Downtown Opera of Long Beach Opera] “Jacqueline Bobak’s Orlando is sung with sheer liquid gold . . . .”
—John Ferrell, Long Beach Press Telegram


[at Villa Aurora, André Werner’s]“’Dying Tiger,’ the finale, had the benefit of Jacqueline Bobak’s fearless singing.”
—John Henken, Los Angeles Times


“. . . ’Settings,’ which was superbly sung by soprano Jacqueline Bobak.”
—Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times


“The energetic, exciting performance that de Waart led at Orchestra Hall Wednesday night had the advantage of eight virtuoso singers performing the solo parts, an English ensemble called Electric Phoenix. They appear to be today’s version of the Swingle Singers, the group for whom Berio composed Sinfonia. They managed, in fact, to give more character to the text than the Swingles do on either of the recordings.”
—Michael Anthony, Minneapolis Star Tribune