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Alfreda Burke

Opera singer Alfreda Burke was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 17, 1961. Her father, John H. Burke, Jr., was a pastor; her mother, Mamie Burke, a church administrator. She received her BM and MM degrees from Roosevelt University Chicago Musical College (1984, 1987).

Burke made her Carnegie and Orchestra Hall debuts in Strauss’ Elektra in 1995 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Daniel Barenboim. She has also performed with numerous orchestras and at various venues in North America and Europe, including the Auditorium Theatre (1995); the Chicago Symphony Center (1997); the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia; the Kennedy Center (1998); the Detroit Opera House/DSO/Rackham Symphony Choir (2002); the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (2003); the Chorus Angelorum (2003, 2010); the Cincinnati Pops Symphony Orchestra (2011); the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra (2004); the Lancaster Festival (2003); the Umbria Music Festival (Italy) (2007); the Prague Philharmonic (2010); the TodiMusicFest (2007); the Millennium Park Gala (2008); the Miss World (China) (2012); and the NATO Chicago Summit (2012).

Burke’s oratorio, opera, concert and musical theater engagements include the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts broadcast on WFMT-FM; Mozart’s Requiem; Handel’s Messiah; Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Beethoven’s Mass in C; Poulenc Gloria; Mahler’s 2nd & 8th Symphonies; Strauss’ Elektra; Puccini’s Turandot; Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta; Barber’sKnoxville: Summer of 1915; Menotti’s Amahl & the Night Visitors; Rutter’s Requiem; Boulez’s Le Visage Nuptial; Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess; Bernstein’s West Side Story; and Kern’s Show Boat (Prince). She was featured in CSO’s Symphony Center Inaugural Festival and Radiothon.

In 2002, Burke and her husband, opera singer Rodrick Dixon, performed in Too Hot to Handel The Jazz-Gospel Messiah at the Detroit Opera House and the Auditorium Theatre (2006). Burke performed with Tenors Cook, Dixon & Young (formerly the Three Mo’ Tenors) as a featured soloist.

Burke’s work in recordings, music video, television, radio, film and commercials, includes Celine Dion and R. Kelly’s I’m Your Angel; The Visit; The Visitors; Unconditional Love; guest soloist appearances on WTTW/Odyssey’s broadcast, 30 Good Minutes; solo CD, From the Heart; the Prague PBS Special Hallelujah Broadway; and the Chicago Olympic 2016 Bid Anthem, I Will Stand. Some of Burke’s other engagements include the Auditorium Theatre & DiBurke Inc. co-produced show “Songs of A Dream,” CD release, and national tour; and Old St. Patrick’s Church production of Siamsa na nGael at Symphony Center.

Burke has taught music and voice at a number of institutions, including Evanston/Skokie District 65 (1985-1996); the CSO Musicians Residency at South Shore Cultural Center (1996-1998); the Wheaton College Conservatory Voice Faculty (1998-2009); the Carl Sandburg High School (2004-2007); the Chicago State University Voice Faculty (2007-2008); the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, Berkeley, California (2009-2012); the Wright State University Music & Medicine Symposium (2009-Present); and master classes throughout the US.

Burke is a Roosevelt University CCPA Advisory Board member and served on the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Arts & Culture Advisory Committee. In 2005, Burke was an Alumna Ambassador for Roosevelt University's 60th Anniversary.

Opera singer Alfreda Burke was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 20, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.231

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/20/2013

Last Name

Burke

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

"Freda"

Occupation
Schools

Roosevelt University

Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School

Rudyard Kipling Elementary

Mary Church Terrell Elementary School

First Name

Alfreda

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BUR20

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy, England

Favorite Quote

What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/17/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Greens (Collard)

Short Description

Singer Alfreda Burke (1961 - ) has performed with a number of symphony orchestras, as well as performing with her husband, Rodrick Dixon, in productions of Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, and Prague PBS Special, Hallelujah Broadway.

Employment

Wheaton College Conservatory

Chicago State University

CSO Community Outreach

Dr. Martin Luther King Experimental Lab Schools

Young Musicians Choral Orchestra

DiBurke, Inc.

First Mennonite Church

Favorite Color

Melon

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117482">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Alfreda Burke narrates her photographs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117483">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alfreda Burke lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117484">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alfreda Burke lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117485">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alfreda Burke describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117486">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alfreda Burke talks about her mother's childhood and education, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115158">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alfreda Burke talks about her mother's childhood and education, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115159">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alfreda Burke talks about her mother's childhood accident</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115160">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alfreda Burke talks about her mother's college education and move to Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115161">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alfreda Burke describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115162">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alfreda Burke describes her father's experiences as a musician before his call to the ministry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115163">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alfreda Burke talks about her father's call to the ministry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115164">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alfreda Burke describes how her parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115165">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alfreda Burke talks about which of her parents she takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115166">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Alfreda Burke talks about her sister and their experience as preacher's kids</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115167">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Alfreda Burke describes her childhood in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115168">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Alfreda Burke describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117487">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alfreda Burke describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117488">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alfreda Burke talks about her experience at Mary Church Terrell Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117489">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alfreda Burke describes her experience at Rudyard Kipling Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117490">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alfreda Burke describes her academic and artistic interests in school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117491">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alfreda Burke describes her interests at Lindblom Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117492">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alfreda Burke talks about the congregation at her father's First Mennonite Church in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117493">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alfreda Burke describes her experience at Lindblom Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117494">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alfreda Burke describes her graduation from Lindblom Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117495">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alfreda Burke talks about enrolling at the Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt University in 1979</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117496">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alfreda Burke talks about her musical abilities in high school and some of the ensembles she sang in</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117497">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alfreda Burke talks about her voice teacher at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois and the Alexander technique</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117498">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alfreda Burke talks about vocal health and taking care of her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117499">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alfreda Burke talks about some of the technical elements of her musical education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117500">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alfreda Burke talks about the factors that inform a musician's interpretation of a piece of classical music</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117501">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alfreda Burke talks about how music history informs performers' musical interpretations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117502">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alfreda Burke talks about famous black sopranos and the different types of operatic sopranos</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117503">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alfreda Burke talks about the power of children's singing voices</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117504">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alfreda Burke talks about maintaining a healthy voice while crossing musical genres</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117505">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alfreda Burke recalls meeting Chicago Mayor Harold Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117506">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alfreda Burke talks about beginning her career in music education at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Laboratory School in Evanston, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117507">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alfreda Burke describes her experience teaching music at Martin Luther King, Jr. Laboratory School in Evanston, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117508">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alfreda Burke describes her graduate recital at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois in 1987, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117509">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alfreda Burke describes her graduate recital at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois in 1987, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117510">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Alfreda Burke talks about her voice teachers, mentors, and inspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117511">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Alfreda Burke talks about vocal phrasing and the importance of acting in opera</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117062">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alfreda Burke describes her experience singing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117063">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alfreda Burke talks about her experience singing oratorios</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117064">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alfreda Burke describes her experience singing in Richard Strauss' "Elektra" with Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117065">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alfreda Burke talks about studying foreign language pronunciation as a singer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117066">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alfreda Burke talks about the differences in singing technique between opera and gospel</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117067">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alfreda Burke talks about joining the cast of "Show Boat" in 1995 and leaving her job as a teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117068">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alfreda Burke describes her experience performing in "Show Boat" in 1995, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117069">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alfreda Burke describes her experience performing in "Show Boat" in 1995, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117512">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alfreda Burke reflects on the message and music of "Show Boat"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117513">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Alfreda Burke remembers meeting her husband, HistoryMaker Rodrick Dixon</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117514">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Alfreda Burke recalls her wedding to HistoryMaker Rodrick Dixon and their careers in 1998</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117515">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Alfreda Burke talks about teaching at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music from 1997 until 2009</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117516">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Alfreda Burke talks about performing "Too Hot to Handel," pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117517">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Alfreda Burke talks about performing "Too Hot to Handel," pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117518">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Alfreda Burke talks about the creation of DiBurke, Inc. and her album "From the Heart"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/117519">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Alfreda Burke describes the scope of DiBurke, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115202">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Alfreda Burke talks about serving as an alumni ambassador for the sixtieth anniversary of Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115203">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Alfreda Burke describes her work with the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra in Berkeley, California, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115204">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Alfreda Burke describes her work with the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra in Berkeley, California, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115205">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Alfreda Burke describes recording "Hallelujah Broadway" in Prague, Czech Republic in 2010</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115206">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Alfreda Burke talks about performing "Hallelujah Broadway" in Cincinnati, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115207">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Alfreda Burke describes performing in "Siamsa na nGael" in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115208">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Alfreda Burke describes her "Songs of a Dream" concert, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115209">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Alfreda Burke describes her "Songs of a Dream" concert, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115210">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Alfreda Burke talks about her future projects</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115211">Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Alfreda Burke lists the organizations she is involved in</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115212">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Alfreda Burke talks about orchestras she has performed with</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115213">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Alfreda Burke describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115214">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Alfreda Burke reflects on her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115215">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Alfreda Burke reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115216">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Alfreda Burke reflects upon the label of "crossover artist"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115217">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Alfreda Burke talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115218">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Alfreda Burke reflects on how she would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$8

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
Alfreda Burke talks about how music history informs performers' musical interpretations
Alfreda Burke describes her work with the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra in Berkeley, California, pt. 1
Transcript
Okay, so there's a certain amount of latitude even within classical music in terms of the interpretation of a piece.$$Right because you're--you're gonna do the research. You have to do the history, you have to find out the, the year this piece was con--'cause I love just the fact we do "Too Hot To Handel" and we do [George Frideric] Handel's Messiah" the traditional, the version of the classical oh it was baroque, but you know what I mean when I say that the traditionally sung one, performed one, and I am amazed that Handel was inspired by God and [Wolfgang Amadeus] Mozart was, all of these masters of music, you know [Franz] Shubert, [Robert] Schumann, [Gustav] Mahler all of these-- [Ludwig van] Beethoven, and on and on. They all have their moments and their stories of inspiration but with Handel's Messiah, he composed that piece in twenty-four days and it is a monumental work that is done now. It was composed in the 1700s [1741] and he did it in twenty-four days and it is, it's--I can't believe three parts to that piece and if you were to do all of the movements then the audience would sitting there for quite a while and it's the, the birth, life, death, resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ and it speaks to people in different ways. It's, it is just a very uplifting and inspiring piece and the music is very powerful and very beautiful and it is said that he wouldn't even eat for much of that time while he was composing this piece and he just felt the glory of God in the room and he was writing and writing, he even fell ill but he just said I have to continue writing, so he may have rested a while in there but it was done rapidly, twenty-four days is not a long time, less than a month to do such a loved, adored piece. Love it and, and frequently performed, the piece to this day.$$As a performer then you have to immerse yourself into some sort of cultural education to be able to really perform the music on a high level.$$And it's the stylistic right, because you can't, you're not just gonna sing it like you would an R&B piece or, or--and it's early music, it's baroque so we're talking about the traditional and original [George Frideric] Handel's Messiah, not the offshoots from it which are different interpretations in our day and age now, which I think they have their place too, and Handel would probably be tickled pink knowing because he's said to be a man of the people.$$Now just to be simple here what, what does "baroque" mean?$$The, the, the 1700s, let's see, 1685 to--it is a period from the, I don't wanna say it wrong, but it is the in the 1600s to the 1700s, and so you have like the "Baroque" period and then you go into the "Classical" period in the 1700s and then the "Romantic" period in the 1800s then "20th Century music" in the 1900s, and now we are the "21st Century."$$So these, these periods of music.$$They have different stylistic and a different set of rules, different set of tendencies and ways that the music is to be performed. So I, you know I if I would bring portamento into you know Handel's "Messiah" (laughter), that's wrong 'cause that's later on in the you know where we have the Romantic era where you can do that in arias and in opera and that's-- and even in later music you can so, but it's more clean, and you have the figured bass and you have the harpsichord. You even have instruments according to that period, early instruments like the harpsichord which is not gonna be the full sound of the piano that we hear later, in later periods as we get closer you know, 1700s, 1800s--1800s is when--and then you see these instruments evolving and getting--they really begin to have more tone, more resonance. You have--the, the orchestras are even extended to have more orchestral members and you know the brass section is larger, the string section is expanded so, so now a composer like [Ludwig van] Beethoven can and [Gustav] Mahler can really go, you know and they use dissonance quite a bit and have a deceptive cadence so you're expecting this chord to resolve one way and then they fool you and it goes in a totally different direction so that, you can have that back in the early periods, the Baroque and Classical periods where things are sort of more in the box.$Tell us about Daisy Newman's Project in, in University of California at Berkeley [Berkeley, California]. Is that?$$Oh, yeah, oh yes the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra and it was formerly "YMPA" Young Musicians Program and she founded this instead, well no she did not. She came on board and really took it to the next level and, and this it was on the campus of U.C. Berkeley and she being a stellar soprano and performer herself who worked with Leonard Bernstein, she could certainly--it takes one to know one, 'cause she could certainly spot the use and the talents for this program and they were wunderkinds, they were genius, brilliant, talents but her program was centered around those that were under privileged or children or risk or you going through all kinds of adverse circumstances in their lives and their homes and may not be able to get that type of training that she offers, and the type of training she offers for master teachers, and she had a staff of teachers that taught the students around the year, through the, the summer they were learning musical instruments, they were learning vocal, they had voice lessons and training as well as choral rehearsals, so they had to be able to be proficient in more than one instrument. She wanted them to sing as well as to play their instruments and they--and academic subjects they also had to main a certain GPA and they also had to be students of excellence and respect one another and the campus and the opportunity. So she has her program set so she could talk to you on more about more eloquently about Three Tier. The, the rate, rate of the students leaving her program by the time they're ready for college they--100 percent acceptance rate. They were accepted by and some of the leading music conservatories and schools and institutions in our nation, Juilliard [The Julliard School in New York City, New York], Manhattan School of Music [New York City, New York], on and on you know all over the nation, some of our leading institutions for music; and many times they were receiving full rides, full scholarships or partial scholarships but because her, she raised the bar and because of her own standards and what she had achieved in real life. She also worked for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra [Detroit, Michigan], she worked for other New York Philharmonic [New York City, New York]--you know as far as an administrator with educational outreach tentacles that as well as having been a perform--an international performer so she had auditions and interviews, interviewed the parents, interviewed the stud--the children, the students and there were times when she--she had an age group that she wouldn't go lower than but there were times when she even had to take young ones you know, eight year olds, nine year olds, because they just exhibited such extremely genius ability and the capacity to go through her program and to be able to digest and process all of these great people that are in front of them. I mean she even has a jazz group, so we're talking classically at first and operatically and then they're learning German lieder, they're speaking foreign languages, they have to know their theory as well, they have to read and then they have wonderful proficient voice teachers, prolific staff of people that really can produce abundance you know--$$So that means you right, you're part of the staff that teaches voice and--$$Well we [Burke and her husband, HM Rodrick Dixon], well thank you for that (laughter), we're honored to be part of that but we come two weeks in the summer and this is the first time that we didn't because the program is transitioning off-campus to its own location now and she has a board of directors and donors and sponsors, supporters. So she has a lot of support, she knows a lot of people and she you know she's had people like Martin Katz who is known concert pianist and a recitalist, come work with her students, Frederica von Stade, a world class mezzo-soprano from the Metropolitan Opera [New York City, New York] and other venues around the world, all of kinds of people and for the jazz, Patrice Rushen, and she her staff oh, they are, they're just amazing what they are getting out of those students, those children and they--plus the students come to work and she provides two meals for them. So I just think there is a special place in heaven for her.

Rodrick Dixon

Opera singer Rodrick Dixon was born on June 22, 1966 in Queens, New York. Dixon attended the Mannes School of Music and graduated with his B.M. degree in 1989 and his M.M. degree in 1991. During each summer while at the Mannes School, Dixon also studied at L’Academia Musicale Ottorino in Assisi, Italy and l’Ecole d’Art Americain-Palais de Fontainebleau, France.

Dixon trained in the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, where he appeared in many productions, most notably as the Prince in the 1992 world premiere of Bright Sheng’s The Song of Majnun. Other notable operatic debuts were with the Portland Opera Les Contes d’Hoffmann (1995); the Columbus Opera’s world premiere of Vanqui as Prince (2000); the Virginia Opera as Sportin’ Life in Porgy & Bess (2000); the Michigan Opera Theater as Tonio in La Fille Du Regiment (2005); and the Todi Music Festival as Lenski in Eugene Onegin (2007). Under the baton of Maestro James Conlon, he debuted at the Cincinnati May Festival (2005); the Los Angeles Opera in Tannhauser (2007); the filming of Der Zwerg (2008); and the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (2011). Dixon’s orchestral debuts include: the Chicago Symphony Millennium Park (2004), May Festival (2005), Philadelphia Orchestra (2008), the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the title role of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex (2009) and Atlanta Symphony (2010). He then joined the Metropolitan Opera roster for Armida (2010-2011) and Rodelinda (2011). From 1998 to 2013, Dixon performed with the Tenors Cook, Dixon and Young (formerly of the Three Mo’ Tenors), filming multiple PBS-TV specials and touring the U.S.

In 2002, Dixon and his wife, opera singer, Alfreda Burke, performed in “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah” at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre and the Detroit Opera House. Other performances by Dixon and Burke include PBS specials Hallelujah Broadway (Prague, 2010) and Miss World 2012 from Inner Mongolia, China. They have appeared as regular guest artists in Old St. Patrick Church’s (Chicago) production, Siamsa na nGael, at Symphony Center and Deck the Halls Christmas Concerts. In 2013, Dixon and Burke co-produced and recorded the new show,Songs of a Dream, with the Auditorium Theatre for a U.S tour.

Dixon’s musical recordings include: Arthaus Musik Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg; Recorded Music of the African Diaspora and Hallelujah Broadway (2010). He has also appeared on numerous television programs, including My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs at City Center (2000), The Mark Twain Awards Honoring Whoopi Goldberg at Kennedy Center (2002), the United States. Air Force 60th Anniversary Gala (2007).

Dixon received a number of grants, scholarships and awards, including the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, the Jan Peerce Scholarship, Links Foundation Scholarship, a multi-year grant from the Osceola Foundation and the Mary Dawson Art Guild “Tenor of the Year” Award (1991). He has served as a consultant with the Cincinnati Symphony and Old St. Patrick’s Church (Chicago), and been on several boards including the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Committee (Arts and Culture Advisory Committee).

Opera singer Rodrick Dixon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 20, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.230

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/20/2013

Last Name

Dixon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Edward

Occupation
Schools

Mannes College of Music

Harlem School of the Arts

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

First Name

Rodrick

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

DIX03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

London, England

Favorite Quote

The Truth Is What It Is And What It's Not.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/22/1966

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fruit

Short Description

Opera singer Rodrick Dixon (1966 - ) has appeared as a soloist in a number of operas, as well as performing with the tenor group, Cook, Dixon & Young and his wife, concert artist, Alfreda Burke.

Employment

DiBurke, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115546">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rodrick Dixon's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115547">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rodrick Dixon lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115548">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rodrick Dixon describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115549">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his mother's childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115550">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his mother's education and her desire to become an opera singer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115551">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rodrick Dixon describes his father's family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115552">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his father's childhood and careers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115553">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his father's education and ministry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115554">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rodrick Dixon describes how his parents met, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115555">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rodrick Dixon describes how his parents met, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115556">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rodrick Dixon describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115557">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115558">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rodrick Dixon describes the South Ozone Park neighborhood in Queens, New York where he grew up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115559">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rodrick Dixon describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in South Ozone Park, Queens, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115560">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rodrick Dixon describes how his parents influenced him musically, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115561">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rodrick Dixon describes how his parents influenced him musically, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115562">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his early exposure to famous black classical musicians</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115563">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Rodrick Dixon describes his experience in elementary school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115564">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his passion for baseball and the players who inspired him</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115565">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Rodrick Dixon talks about playing baseball during his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113769">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rodrick Dixon talks about how music, baseball, and church life shaped him as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113770">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rodrick Dixon talks about some of his baseball mentors and himself as a student</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113771">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rodrick Dixon describes learning to play the piano</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113772">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rodrick Dixon talks about attending the Brooklyn Boys Chorus at Long Island University in New York City, New York in 1977</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113773">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rodrick Dixon reflects on his musical education at P.S. 124 in Queens, New York and the Brooklyn Boys Chorus at Long Island University in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113774">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rodrick Dixon describes his experiences in the Brooklyn Boys Chorus at Long Island University in New York City in 1977</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113775">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rodrick Dixon recalls having an epiphany about his musical talent in junior high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113776">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rodrick Dixon recalls enrolling at the High School of Music and Art in Harlem, New York in 1980</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113777">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Rodrick Dixon reflects on his voice teachers and the value of classical voice training</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116819">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rodrick Dixon describes his development as a singer at The High School of Music and Art in New York City, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116820">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rodrick Dixon recalls enrolling at the Mannes College of Music in New York City, New York in 1984</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116821">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rodrick Dixon describes his experience at Mannes College of Music in New York City, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116822">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rodrick Dixon describes his experience studying music in Fontainebleau, France and meeting Leonard Bernstein</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116823">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rodrick Dixon recalls a conversation he had with Leonard Bernstein in Fontainebleau, France</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116824">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rodrick Dixon recalls performing five songs in Chinese by composer Bright Sheng in Fontainebleau, France</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116825">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rodrick Dixon talks about learning foreign languages as a singer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116826">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rodrick Dixon talks about the role of dialect in operatic singing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/116827">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rodrick Dixon describes how learning foreign cultures and traditions affect his performance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113787">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rodrick Dixon shares his philosophy of musical phrasing, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113788">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rodrick Dixon shares his philosophy of musical phrasing, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113789">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Rodrick Dixon shares his opinion on the label "crossover artist," pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113790">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Rodrick Dixon shares his opinion on the label "crossover artist," pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113791">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Rodrick Dixon describes his audition for the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists in Chicago, Illinois in 1991</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113792">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Rodrick Dixon recalls performing Bright Sheng's opera "The Song of Majnun" at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Illinois in 1992</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113793">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Rodrick Dixon describes the importance of classical music in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113794">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Rodrick Dixon describes his decision to study at the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists rather than performing in higher-paying opera roles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113795">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his experience at the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113796">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Rodrick Dixon describes his career as a singer and a substitute teacher after leaving the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113797">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Rodrick Dixon recalls meeting his wife, HistoryMaker Alfreda Burke</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113798">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Rodrick Dixon talks about courting HistoryMaker Alfreda Burke while they each performed in different cities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113799">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Rodrick Dixon talks about the stamina and technique required to perform on Broadway and in opera</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113800">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his experience in the ensemble of "Ragtime" on Broadway</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113801">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Rodrick Dixon describes returning to Chicago, Illinois to sing the role of Booker T. Washington in "Ragtime"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113802">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Rodrick Dixon describes the origin of the Three Mo' Tenors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113803">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Rodrick Dixon describes his experience performing with Victor Trent Cook and Thomas Young as the Three Mo' Tenors, and as Cook, Dixon and Young</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113804">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Rodrick Dixon talks about The Three Tenors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113805">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Rodrick Dixon talks about the success of the Three Mo' Tenors, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113806">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Rodrick Dixon talks about the success of the Three Mo' Tenors, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113807">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Rodrick Dixon shares his opinion about why the Three Mo' Tenors cannot be duplicated</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113808">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Rodrick Dixon talks about the success of "Too Hot to Handel"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113809">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Rodrick Dixon talks about "Hallelujah Broadway"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113810">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Rodrick Dixon talks about how he avoids stage fright</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113811">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Rodrick Dixon describes meeting James Conlon and returning to a career in opera</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113812">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Rodrick Dixon talks about performing in Alexander Zemlinsky's "Der Zwerg"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113813">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Rodrick Dixon talks about James Conlon's Recovered Voices Project</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113814">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Rodrick Dixon describes the different types of operatic tenors, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113815">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Rodrick Dixon describes the different types of operatic tenors, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113816">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Rodrick Dixon talks about the reception to his performance as the title character in Alexander Zemlinsky's opera "Der Zwerg," pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113817">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Rodrick Dixon talks about the reception to his performance as the title character in Alexander Zemlinsky's opera "Der Zwerg," pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113818">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Rodrick Dixon describes his work with the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113819">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Rodrick Dixon describes his work with the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113820">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Rodrick Dixon describes his experience at the Music and Medicine Symposium at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113821">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Rodrick Dixon talks about "Siamsa na nGael" in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113822">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Rodrick Dixon talks about Daniel O'Connell and Frederick Douglass</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113823">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Rodrick Dixon reflects on the travel opportunities that he has had in his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113824">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his career plans and Nathaniel Dett's "The Ordering of Moses"</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113825">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Rodrick Dixon describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113826">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Rodrick Dixon reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113827">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Rodrick Dixon talks about professional organizations for black musicians and how African American musical traditions are viewed within the classical world</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113828">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113829">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Rodrick Dixon talks about his marriage to HistoryMaker Alfreda Burke</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/113830">Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Rodrick Dixon talks about DiBurke, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115575">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Rodrick Dixon reflects on how his parents feel about his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115576">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Rodrick Dixon describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/115577">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Rodrick Dixon narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

7$2

DATitle
Rodrick Dixon recalls having an epiphany about his musical talent in junior high school
Rodrick Dixon shares his philosophy of musical phrasing, pt. 2
Transcript
Okay. So now how long did you, now did you do all of junior high school at--$$No. I was only in Brooklyn Boys Chorus [at Long Island University in New York City, New York] for one year.$$Okay.$$My voice changed at thirteen. I was back in junior high, I was back in junior high school, I wanna say P.S. 226 [sic, J.H.S. 226 Virgil L. Grissom in Queens, New York City, New York], is that where I went to junior high school? I can see the school but I'm not sure 'cause--(unclear) (simultaneous)$$I can tell you.$$(Unclear) (simultaneous)$$In a second here. Let's see--$$Yeah.$$One, yeah, 226.$$Yeah, there you go.$$Yeah.$$Yeah, right off the conduit. House, Howard Beach.$$Okay.$$Yeah. Cross Bay Boulevard, 226, number 7 bus.$$Okay.$$Ride it right past Aqueduct Racetrack. Yeah, my voice changed at thirteen or was beginning to change, and then all of a sudden grades seven it was changing, grade eight something happened. A chorus, Mr. Vecchioni [ph.] heard me singing in the tenor section in chorus. And he walked up to me while we were singing and warming up and he stood next to me and he listened to me and he singled me out and he says you have a very beautiful voice. My voice had already changed at thirteen. And let me say something about that. I sang throughout the whole vocal change. I was a boy soprano, the voice changed and it dropped and I kept singing through church so I would crack while I was doing my solos. The solos I used to sing as a boy soprano now my voice wasn't acting right but I never got discouraged because they never said anything negative about my voice cracking at church services. So it seemed normal to me. But I always had my baseball glove and my hardball in it, with my little rubber band wrapped around it when I went to church. So I would sing, crack all the time I was thirteen and it was horrible. I can remember now, it was just horrible, but I never was discouraged 'cause I, you just get up and sing and then you sit down. Then I would go play the piano during service and didn't think anything about it, and never got discouraged. But at 17 at 226, Vecchioni heard me and he said I had a, a beautiful voice and they gave me this torch song that Frank Sinatra used to sing, "My Way". And I sang that at one of the concerts and that was grades, grade, eighth grade 226 choral concert, I sang "My Way." Then all of a sudden the light bulb cut on. It's funny it didn't really cut on at Brooklyn Boys Chorus 'cause I was still being talented and a boy soprano was just normal to me.$$So you, you considered that was just part of the chorus--$$Yeah. I was just--$$--and not a, not having an exceptional voice necessarily.$$I had an exceptional voice 'cause I had solos.$$Okay.$$But the light bulbs weren't on. I was just doing what I do, you know, what I mean.$$Yeah.$$I didn't, I, it was until Vecchioni singled me out in eighth grade, then he said, "Sing 'My Way'", that I, that all of sudden something flipped. You would think that it would have flipped at Brooklyn Boys Chorus with all the traveling, the movie, singing the solos, singing "Soon and Very Soon" and sitting down playing the key of F with the Brooklyn Boys Chorus while we were traveling doing concerts, it didn't happen when I was twelve. It happened when I was fourteen at 226, ""My Way" in that moment, light bulb cuts on. And maybe because I was two years older and I realized something special was happening.$Did, did you, what, what, what was your first formal training I guess in, in phrasing and in interpreting a song?$$It was something that my parents [Dorothy Jean Black Dixon and Samuel Edward Dixon] were doing, and my father sometimes would talk about it but as far as I can remember, it had something to do with the divine intervention. He would always say that. And, of course, my, and my mother was always divine, (laughter) you know. So that terminology would always follow me every time I walked into a musical environment. Where is the divine intervention? So I developed a sense of this because I, this is the paradox for me right now. As a classical, operatically trained artist, I am taught to sing legato at all times because that's the, that is the way in which one can actually be heard past an orchestra because once that, people in the house hear your sound, you don't want your sound to stop, you want it to continue to carry in the hall because you have many different instruments with many different colors coming and girding up, girding the sound as it moves forward into a house if you're singing acoustically and you're singing classical repertoire in a foreign language.$$And just, just for the record "legato" means?$$Legato means a continuous sound that doesn't stop.$$Hmm.$$Just straight line of sound that just doesn't stop. You can do this, this would not be legato: ah-ah-ah-ah, those are just different notes with spaces in between. (Singing) just continuous sound. And that sound travels. And once people hear your voice they can distinguish it from all the other seventy instruments if they're all playing at the same time, or pockets of instruments that are playing at the same time, strings or woodwinds, so forth and so on. We're taught to sing legato because we wanna have a legato line in all the languages in classical music because that's the essence of beautiful singing. Round sound, supported sound, with the body under the sound, the diaphragm, sing legato. But what I've discovered, and which is what my father would talk about, is that the divine intervention, you say well that's nice if you wanna be technical, but if you wanna move people, you have to figure out where the pauses are. And you can't sing all the notes because if you're speaking to people in English, you don't have to sing legato to move them, you just have to move them. So you take pauses, you think more like an actor. You, you, you find in a line like, 'Somewhere' [from "West Side Story" by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim] that I sing in "Hallelujah Broadway". He sings a line, (singing) "There's a place (pauses) for us," but that's not legato, you took a break and there's no legato line. But for the camera, that's special because the camera captures the gleam of the eye. Opera singers will do this, (singing) "There's a place for us, somewhere a-" that's the operatic tradition of singing sounds and creating of a legato line. But (singing) "There's (pause) a place for us," and that's the paradox because the more you become keen on the eighty percent which is nonverbal and you learn that from the English side of your artistic gifts, then you have to then transfer pauses and pregnant pauses and lift pauses in classical music, which is a slight lift of silence into the next line, into the classical tradition then you have to hide it and be very careful 'cause you still have to sing legato but you have to break up where you're gonna not sing legato to become more influential in the moment to move people. And that's where you have to be very artistic with the European side and their traditions and, and, and connect your artistic growth as a human being moving people as an artist in whatever you do, whether it be classical, jazz, blues, or gospel. And that's where the geniuses live. They live in the pockets of silence. They move space where there's nothing going around, and then reformulate their idea in such a way to get you the pitch emotionally or mentally, one way of the other, and then they get you to open up. And all of a sudden you become engrossed in the moment artistically. And that's what my father calls the divine intervention. And that's the paradox, technique against the organic. But the organic is technical because it's like jazz, its improvisation. You don't know where you're going but you know that whatever you're doing matters. Technique means everything is planned, it matters because it's planned and it's serious. But somewhere in the middle, there has to be moving people and that's the divine intervention of marrying the two. So for me, we spent a lot of time accepting that I'm no longer calling it breaking the rules, I'm just calling it being a mature musician who's serious about trying to take the moment to the next human level of experience.