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Grammy-winning baritone to serve as artist-in-residence

| Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Notre Dame Department of Music will welcome Grammy Award-winning baritone Nathan Gunn as artist-in-residence next week as the beginning of a four-year stint during which the acclaimed musician will perform for the Notre Dame community, instruct students and collaborate with faculty, department chair Peter Smith said.

Gunn, who grew up in South Bend, felt drawn to Notre Dame not only because of his ties to the city, but because of his past interactions with the University as well, Smith said. gunn_300

“The idea of … this artist-in-residence position was an outgrowth of those two components — that [Gunn] had gotten to know some of our faculty members, he had worked with some of our students, he had performed here and his family was here too,” he said.

Smith said Gunn would participate in the standard responsibilities of an artist-in-residence — giving performances as well as conducting master classes, which allow one student to receive voice instruction while others look on. However, Gunn will approach the position far more personally than past artists-in-residence, beginning next week when he will provide one-on-one voice lessons to five students, Smith said. Gunn will also visit classes and work on scholarly pursuits with faculty.

Fifth-year senior Elizabeth Curtin, one of the students who will work one-on-one with Gunn, said she is looking forward to the opportunities a Grammy Award-winning artist can provide to students, many of whom have heard Gunn perform before.

“I couldn’t be more excited about Nathan spending some time with us at Notre Dame,” Curtin said. “I have had the privilege of watching him perform several times, and actually having the opportunity to interact with and learn from him will just be fantastic for the music students here, especially those studying voice.”

Curtin said Gunn will be effective in helping music majors develop their talents.

“Nathan Gunn, besides being an expert in his field, is also extremely approachable and down-to-earth,” Curtin said. “I anticipate that the students will find it easy to work with him and that he will be able to offer insight in his coaching sessions that is accessible and relevant to the aspiring musicians of today.”

Gunn’s activities will impact not only music students, but also the campus community as well, Smith said.  Gunn will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’ for the University and South Bend communities March 1 of next year.

“For the campus community, having someone like [Gunn] doing public events and performing is of course an enrichment,” he said. “If [students] went to hear Nathan sing at the Lyric Opera in Chicago and they wanted a reasonably good ticket, it would cost several hundred dollars. Whereas here, the student price is probably $20.”

Overall, adding Gunn to the Department of Music’s programs and plans is an incredible opportunity, Smith said.

“Any school of music — Julliard or Indiana University Bloomington, the Curtis Institute of [Music], or the New England Conservatory of Music — any top conservatory or school of music in the country, even the world, would consider themselves fortunate to have this kind of opportunity,” Smith said. “And we’re getting it here at Notre Dame.”

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