February 16, 2003 Vol. VIII, No. 10

Music Alumna Michelle De Young Shares Third Grammy

Artist, Conductor, Producer Earn Honors for Performance of Mahler's Third Symphony

Mezzo-soprano Michelle De Young, an operatic luminary who was a music-voice major at Cal State Northridge from 1990 to 1992, is sharing in a third Grammy Award.

De Young was the soloist in the 46th annual Grammy Award's Best Classical Album selection that includes Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 3" and his "Kindertotenlieder" (Songs on the Death of Children), conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, produced by Andreas Neubronner and featuring the San Francisco Symphony and choral groups.

The artist, whose 2001 Carnegie Hall performance of Mahler's music was described by the Opera News as "wonderfully golden and involved," worked closely with the late voice teacher Curt Allen, former opera program director David Scott and music professor Elmer Heerema during her Cal State Northridge sojourn.

The singer shared both Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording Grammys for her work on a December 2000 London Symphony Orchestra recording of Hector Berlioz's "Les Troyens" (The Trojans), conducted by Sir Colin Davis.

De Young has performed in concert with some of the world's greatest orchestras, including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Houston Symphonies, the Royal Philharmonic and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

Among the many noted conductors--in addition to Tilson Thomas and Davis--who have worked with the Colorado native are Pierre Boulez, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Leonard Slatkin.

De Young transferred to Northridge from San Francisco State in spring 1990, preparing for her remarkable career by taking classes in music, acting and German.

Allen agreed with the local music critic who, in a review of De Young's performance in a Northridge adaptation of Moliere's "Tartuffe," predicted the young woman was headed for the "big time." The voice teacher's encouragement led to his student's winning performance at the 1992 New York Metropolitan Opera annual national audition and, ultimately, to the three-year stint in the organization's Lindemann Young Artists Development Program that prompted her early departure from Northridge.

The Grammy winner has remained close to campus friends such as Heerema, as well as his daughter-in-law Sarah Joy Heerema, like De Young a CSUN alumna. Heerema, a high soprano who this month will reprise her Broadway role of Mimi in the Los Angeles production of Baz Luhrmann's "La Boheme," considers De Young a valued mentor.

In addition to the Grammy winners, De Young's discography includes Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1, "Jeremiah," with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, "Das Lied von der Erde" with the Minnesota Orchestra, and other recordings.

@csun | February 16, 2004 issue
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