Grace Gori
Mezzo-soprano

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Greetings! I’m Grace Gori, mezzo-soprano, wife and mother, and teacher of singing, and I’d like to welcome you to my website.

I’ve been making music as long as I can remember, and apparently before that as well: when I was a toddler, my older sister Janet and her friends found it amusing to hold me up at the piano and watch me explore its sounds. Janet may have come to regret this several years later, when as a preschooler, I decided to help her with her piano practice by running up behind her and adding notes to the music she was playing. From the fact that she kept trying to swat me away, I quickly figured out that she didn’t appreciate my assistance, so I reasoned that if I added notes that went along with what she was playing, she wouldn’t mind quite as much. She still swatted me away each time, but this game turned out to be an excellent ear training exercise, since I ended up with perfect pitch.

After coming home from seeing a movie with my sister Betty and playing a harmonized version of the theme song by ear at the age of 5, my family enrolled me in piano lessons. My teacher was a lovely, talented and kind pianist named Sumiko Kohno, a terrific musician who taught me about musical line, shaping and expressivity. Mrs. Kohno was also incredibly patient with me, and although she did eventually kick me out of her studio due to my abominable practice habits – albeit my standard one-hour of practice the morning of my lessons did hone my sight-reading skills – I nonetheless would like to nominate her for sainthood for putting up with me for seven years prior to that.

Singing had always been part of my life – my mother and I would sing together during long car trips, then when I was older we would sing holiday carols together while I played the piano – and I was a dedicated member of my school chorus, but it wasn’t until several years after ending my piano studies that I followed up on multiple suggestions to try singing lessons. I almost didn’t - there was a famous opera singer nearing the end of her career at the time who had developed an unfortunate wobble, and I certainly didn’t want to sound like that – but Metropolitan Opera star Eileen Farrell’s recording of Harold Arlen’s “Blues in the Night” sang to my soul, with no signs of tonal instability. I finally decided, “Well, if I start to develop a wobble, I’ll quit!”, and with that began my vocal studies at age 15.

My path as a singer has not always been easy; although my early training with Mrs. Kohno had provided me with excellent musicianship skills, inherent physical tensions hindered my efforts to be the vocal musician I wanted to be. On top of that, I was not someone who responded well to old-school teaching methods, which featured a lot of fanciful imagery based on the sensory perceptions of the teacher at hand, some of which even coincided with actual human anatomy and function. During this deeply frustrating time period, if one had asked me if I would ever teach voice, I would have replied, “Are you nuts?!?”, for I knew I did not understand my own voice, much less anyone else’s.

Between stubbornness and the loving support of friends who believed in me – especially my wonderful and talented life partner Aurelius Gori – I was finally able to find dedicated, knowledgeable teachers who helped me untangle the mess of conflicting information in my brain and make sense of my instrument. It is to these teachers – most notably Candace Goetz and the late James McDonald – that I owe a debt of gratitude.

As I learned to understand my own voice better, I became fascinated with the glory of the human voice and the process of exploring it, and decided to become a teacher of singing as well as a professional singer. It gives me great pleasure both to touch audiences with my own voice and to help others express themselves with greater ease, freedom and joy.

I am not a perfect singer, nor am I a perfect teacher, but the quest to become better at both has both defined and enriched my life. It is my hope to continue this journey of understanding, learning and sharing this crazy thing called “Voice” to the end of my days.

[For a more traditional biography of my work as a professional singer, please feel free to visit my Biography and Resume pages here on this website. For more information on my teaching and/or studying with me and my husband Aurelius Gori, please visit www.GoriVoiceStudios.com.]


 
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