We are so glad to have Linda Strummer as one of our Teaching Artists with FACP. A soprano, Ms. Strummer is in her fourth year teaching at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Before teaching, she enjoyed a career as an international opera singer for over 35 years (read more on her website, here). After studying at the University of Tulsa, she started working on a master’s degree at SMU, but left the program to launch her professional career. She has also taught as an adjunct and associate professor for 15 years at the University of Tulsa.
How old were you when you started studying voice? I was 13. I also took piano lessons.
Who is your favorite composer to sing? To teach? I can’t actually say I have one. I like almost all of them equally. I sweat bullets when I have to learn Strauss! But once I learn it, I love singing it. The same applies to teaching. I love helping a student learn a new piece and teaching them what I can about the style.
What do you love about teaching high school voice students? I love being the first one to write in their “Singing Book,” metaphorically. I get the chance to help them build a good breathing foundation and formation of vowels and voice placement.
Have you taught other ages? I won’t work with anyone who is under 14. So much changes during puberty – for guys and gals – that it can be dangerous. I have had many calls over the years from parents who want voice lessons for their 6 or 7-year-old. I tell them to have them learn to play the piano first. Then when they are 14 or 15 to call me back.
What is a particularly memorable recital or performance of yours? A few years ago I did a recital of all Fauré music. I loved singing that one! And my debut (after being in Europe for 15 years) at New York City Opera under Beverly Sills with Sam Ramey holds a very special place. And, who could forget La Scala? So many memories.
What piece of advice would you give 16-year-old Linda? Be more curious and don’t assume you know where you are going. An Oklahoma girl of Irish descent, CAN make a career in opera. Learn more!
What’s your favorite sound (musical or non-musical)? Least favorite? My favorite would be a cat purring (especially mine). My least favorite would be an animal in pain.
Once you leave this world and reach the pearly gates, what celestial concert are you looking forward to? I love Bach organ music! I’d love to hear that. Or just about any other composer playing his/her own music: Monteverdi, Schumann, Schubert, Fauré, Debussy. OMG, so many! I would also like to discuss with Puccini why, at the most crucial moments in his operas, he does not leave enough time to get the action done!