Emma Goldberg Liu loves music–and she has the voice and CV to prove it! As president and co-musical director of the Dynamics, member of the Vocal Chamber Ensemble and Skidmore Community Chorus, and previous member of the Cabaret troupe, Emma is no stranger to the spotlight. See her senior recital tonight at 8 p.m. in Zankel, and in the meantime, learn more about her music!
Name: Emma Goldberg Liu
Class Year: 2014
Majors/Minors: Music and French double major
Have you always been interested in music?
I have always been interested in music, ever since I was three years old singing with my brother for our nightly performance hour for our parents!
What are your musical specialties?
I “specialize” or have a concentration in classical voice and opera. I’m a soprano, specifically have been categorized as a “lyric-coloratura,” but I’m not really sure yet because my voice will mature even more until I’m about 28.
What kind of music do you enjoy singing? Is it different than the music you like to listen to?
I love singing classical music of course haha but I also love to sing standards, musical theater, and pop songs, anything and everything, but I don’t always sound too good on them! I listen to a really wide variety of music. I listened to a lot of heavy metal and singer-songwriter angst-y stuff in high school (puberty am I right?). I still listen to a lot of different varieties of music, was just listening to Zac Brown Band this morning and a lot of John Legend yesterday, so it varies from mood to mood.
You have your senior recital tomorrow night. Can you give us some spoilers about the show? What can we expect?
My Senior Recital, Mama’s Sunflowers, is tonight. I’m really happy that some of my friends from the music department agreed to perform with me. I wanted to make my recital enjoyable to a wide range of people, some who don’t like standard classical music will definitely enjoy parts of the recital, but there [are] still some pretty ‘classic’ pieces. I try to pick music that I connect with emotionally before anything else.
This past summer you participated in a musical program abroad. Can you tell us more about it? What did you like about it?
This past summer I participated in a program called AIMS, the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria for two months which was an amazing experience for me. I was in the German Lieder section, which focused on German art songs (shorter pieces that do not have any connection to an opera) and had an amazing experience performing in a castle, churches and a beautiful performance space at the end of the program. I was also really lucky because I was able to sing for a woman named Barbara Bonney who is an amazing singer and coach and teacher; [she’s] American and lives in Germany.
Graduation is looming around the corner—eek. What are your plans for post-grad life?
Last semester I began the graduate school application process and had auditions in New York during this semester. I heard a couple of weeks ago that I have been accepted to one and am still waiting to hear from another. The graduate process for singers is very different than taking the GRE; there are pre-screening CDs and essays involved in the process.
Do you envision yourself being involved in music for the rest of your life?
The one place that I can see myself in life has always had something to do with music, but I have no idea what kind of path that will be.
What advice do you have for someone interested in pursuing a career—on campus or in life—in music?
Personally I have been taught that patience is the biggest virtue that you can have when it comes to pursuing a career in opera and classical music. I am also extremely fortunate to have a family who has been here to support me for my entire life, which is rare for this profession. I would also say that finding a teacher who you trust with shaping you as a singer technically and then letting you be yourself is huge. Lastly, I would say try to take as many opportunities that have to do with music because you never know what door will open.
Don’t forget to show your support at Emma’s senior recital TONIGHT at 8 p.m. in Zankel! See you there!