Soprano looks for ‘victims’ to critique as guest vocal teacher

Shortly after noon on a Friday, University of Miami music students are greeted by an unfamiliar face as they enter Clarke Recital Hall to begin class.

“We will just throw ourselves into the thick of it,” said Measha Brueggergosman, the grand prize winner at the 2002 Jeunesses Musicales Montreal International Competition and guest teacher at UM. “Who is my first victim?”

Measha is referring to the first of the two graduate students whose performances she is about to watch and critique. She has come to campus with the Cleveland Orchestra as part of the orchestra’s two-week stay in Miami. During these two weeks, performers such as Measha will teach master classes at the Frost School of Music.

In addition, the Cleveland Orchestra will perform new music written by music composition students, giving the students a chance to hear their work performed by a group of internationally-recognized musicians.

“This is a wonderful interaction,” said James William Hipp, dean of Frost School of Music. “It would not work without this school and its students being at the level that it is. We are at the level where we can benefit from these activities.”

Hipp said the Cleveland Orchestra came to UM because of the music school’s reputation of fostering talented musicians. While at UM, the guest professionals plan to present educational activities to the students.

“I had amazing mentors and teachers growing up, so the need to be that for someone else is very strong for me,” Measha said.

Music students at UM said they appreciate and look forward to the chance to work with and learn from the visiting musicians.

Joseph Szalay, a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in vocal performance, was one of the two graduate students that Measha worked with Friday. He sang “Chanson Ramanesque,” an operatic piece that emphasized the importance of acting as much as singing.

“It was wonderful looking at [Measha’s] take on the character,” Szalay said. “She’s very energetic.”

Undergraduate students in the music school also had a chance to benefit from Measha’s visit by observing the Master’s class.

“I thought it was awesome,” said Kate Liggett, a music business major and pianist. “She seemed like she really knew her craft and she was really comfortable with critiquing other people.

Of the Master’s classes that I’ve been to, I thought it was amazing.”

In addition to observing the Cleveland Orchestra, a select group of music students also had the chance to perform with the orchestra. The 50-member Frost Chorale joined the Cleveland Orchestra and the Master Chorale of South Florida and performed Beethoven Symphony No. 9 on Jan. 19 and 20 at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Miami.

“The level of performing here is remarkable,” Hipp said.

Hipp says he encourages students outside of the school to come to recitals and take advantage of the music program on campus.

“There are probably 130 or 140 performances a year,” he said. “People should give it a shot.”

More information about musical performances on campus may be found at

Karyn Meshbane may be contacted at