Cathy Miller

A Tribute to a Complete Artist


Wow, eight years ago. This WAS an iconic recital!
The original time a month before had gotten ripped off due to a paperwork inter-office error. My voice tearch Juliana Gondek got on the horn and sent some commanding emails, but the damage was done and there were a couple of not great choices to reschedule. Of them, my opera director Peter Kazaras offered a posit that the only time viable available, an 11am slot on the very last day of school, would be more of a Viennese Recital.

Apparently the Wieners are so steeped in music that they can take in a pre-matinee show as well as the evening one...
I was proud to bring in my buddy Beau and viola da gamba player friend Victor Penniman and Jamie Chamberlin to create what was a fantastic late morning.
But leading up to the recital I was ushered along by the great Cathy Miller. She was able to run along the fine-edge of being a teacher to me, and a collaborator WITH me.

Her Italian, sure. It's perfect, but her Deutsch(German) is superlative, able to give even the most sophisticated romantic period Germanic lyrical strophe a proper read.

We worked incessantly on two Brahms pieces. Both challenging to sing and play, but even at the start she rode roughshod over the difficulty, allowing me the chance to learn and ultimately memorize the works.

I had done thirteen separate performances that year, as well as finalizing my academics. I was at the end of my limits. I mean, that's a LOT of learning and writing. Don't get me wrong, I brought it upon myself. But I got to meet and perform in the same space with Gloria Gaynor, Reba McIntyre, Josh Groban, Kelley Clarkson, Sinbad, Baby Face, Kenny G (lol), and so many others, In addition to performing some intensely amazing pieces with my beloved cohort.

I'll go into all of that later, but suffice it to say that it was busy!

Cathy was there for me in subtle ways, as well as overt. I first noticed this when we recitaled in El Dorado, CA. Her ability to match the intensity and volume of my performance, to heighten the drama, to smooth thhings out when the music dictated, and to give POWER when it was needed. I've not met many players who could give the equivalent of an orchestra sound with a piano.

The masters recital wasn't the start oof our colllaboration to be sure, but as a career singer, I would be lost (and I know many others feel the same) without her comet-like personality and talent.

Indeed, as the Artistic Director of the Pasadena Vocal Competition, Cathy has become even more of a cornerstone in the opera world of Los Angeles and Southern California. She FIGHTS for opera singers. Putting in literally countless hours, with barely a thanks.

I know she is most proud of being a mom though and she's right!

I just wanted to give an appreciation of this great artist today.

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Here's to you, Cathy! Thanks from me, Jamie and all of the rest of us, who love your work and are part of the fanbase you have created with your passion and heart.