Magazine article Opera Canada

Brahm Goldhamer

Magazine article Opera Canada

Brahm Goldhamer

Article excerpt

Canadian-born pianist Brahm Goldhamer was seven when he began to "pick out tunes" and improvise on his grandfather's old Heintzman piano. When he turned nine, his parents started him on piano lessons. "They didn't need to encourage me," says Goldhamer, who spent his formative years in Cornwall, Ont., dreaming about music and trying to master the keyboard. "I was blessed with having the opportunity to obtain a disciplined music education at a music school structured around the curricula of the Royal Conservatory of Music and administered by the Roman Catholic Congretation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. I have always been grateful that my parents, who were both high-school teachers, were happy to encourage my participation in music schools in a cloistered convent setting despite the fact that 1 was raised in a very traditional Jewish home".

While studying for his Bachelor of Music at the University of Toronto, he collaborated with singer John Keane on many recitals. Tragically, Keane died at a young age, but Goldhamer's involvement with singers grew immensely because of his work with him, as did his love of Schubert and Schumann. "As far as opera goes," he adds, "I knew nothing of it until I started to study the Norton scores in my first year of undergraduate studies. The first act duet between Mimi and Rodolfo from La boheme was included in the Norton anthology. I was entranced by it and I played it over and over again. I sang all the parts, even though I had no knowledge of Italian. Afterwards, I bought a recording of the classic version with Jussi Bjorling and Victoria de los Angeles. From that moment, I was absolutely and utterly hooked."

Starting out professionally, he went to work in Italy as a freelance musician, conductor and coach, nurturing a dream to come back to Canada to work in an organized opera ensemble program at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

As a pianist, memorable experiences include his work with Maria Pellegrini, a collaboration that lasted for many years and, he says, taught him much about style in Italian lyric repertoire."I also had a very meaningful relationship with Gary Relyea, with whom I prepared several recitals. The nobility of Gary's voice and the very special relationship he had with text taught me so much about what the voice was capable of expressing." More recently, he has also enjoyed working with Richard Margison, relishing the tenor's ability to sing in such a variety of styles, from opera to Broadway and pop. …

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