Jess Isgro ’15 Shares Some Information About Her Upcoming Senior Recital
Looking for a place to get your music fix this coming weekend? Come out and support Bucknell senior, Jessica Isgro ’15 on Saturday, November 8th at 4:00 p.m. in Rooke Recital Hall where she will be performing her senior voice recital. The recital is culminating event for music majors here at Bucknell, and Jess was nice enough to answer some questions for Campus Vinyl just before hers—read on to learn more about what she plans on performing and some more about her musical interests! (CV): To start, what do you plan on performing at your upcoming recital?
J: I’ll be performing with Amy Graham, who is a wonderful pianist from the area. The recital is free and open to the public, so the more the merrier! I’ll be singing pieces by Mozart, Gabriel Fauré, Giacomo Puccini, Richard Strauss, Libby Larsen, and Douglas Moore. There will also be a reception to follow in the lobby.
(CV): What was the inspiration behind choosing the pieces you chose to sing?
J: At the end of last semester, I sat down with my voice teacher, Dr. Emily Martin-Moberley, and we discussed options. She gave me a lot of great pieces that I’m excited about sharing with the audience! The rationale behind selecting most of them was finding repertoire that I could learn from, as well as repertoire that was appropriate for my voice type and range. We tried to include a variety of languages as well – English, French, Italian, and German.
I went home for the summer with a few definite pieces and some choices to make. “The Silver Aria” from The Ballad of Baby Doe by Douglas Moore, for example, was something I worked on last semester and I really enjoyed. I also worked on “Toujours”, the second movement from Fauré’s Poème d’un jour, during the spring semester. We decided to include the first and third movements in my recital to round out the piece.
One of the song cycles I’ll be singing is Libby Larsen’s Cowboy Songs. I actually began learning these pieces as a freshman at Bucknell when I was studying voice with Dr. Kay Payn. Unfortunately, she lost her battle with cancer last year. Since we began learning these pieces together, they hold a special place in my heart. It felt appropriate to include them in my senior recital, and it’s been a great way of seeing my own progress as a student and as a musician over the past few years.
(CV): How long have you been singing, and what's the story behind when it all began?
J: I’ve been singing probably as long as I’ve been talking, but I didn’t start singing “formally” until third grade. My teacher sent me home with a flyer advertising auditions for the New Jersey Conservatory of Fine Arts’ choirs. I began singing with them that year. That experience sparked a stronger interest in voice. From there, I sang in various groups in and out of school for years, and I began playing piano. I didn’t begin voice lessons until the summer before my senior year of high school. That is when I knew I would pursue music in college.
(CV): What is your favorite genre or style of music to perform? To listen to?
J: I know it sounds like a cop out, but honestly, anything! I’m the kind of person that begins to enjoy a piece once I learn it, even if I did not enjoy it from the start. For my junior recital, I performed Dominick Argento’s Songs About Spring. This cycle was incredibly challenging for me. When Dr. Martin-Moberley gave them to me during my sophomore year, I was fascinated by the poetry but the music intimidated me. It was weeks before I began to recognize and enjoy the melody of each piece. But as soon as I began to feel secure in the notes and rhythms, I fell in love with the set. For me, familiarity breeds interest. I need to live with the pieces for a bit to become attached.
In terms of listening to music, my preferences are entirely dependent upon my environment. If I’m doing work, I’ll put on something relaxing and repetitive. If I’m driving, I need something catchy and upbeat, so I bop between radio stations. I’d like to think I’m not too picky.
(CV): Do you play any other instruments?
J: Yes. Piano is my secondary instrument and I play a little bit of guitar for fun. As part of my music education major, I take methods classes in all of the other instrument groups, so I have some experience with percussion, strings, woodwind, and brass instruments as well.
(CV): If you were only able to either sing in the shower or sing in the car for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
J: That’s a tough one! They’re both such great venues. I’d have to say I’d choose to only be able to sing in the shower. I just love that acoustical sweet spot where open your mouth to yawn and it feels like opening night at the Met.
(CV): Do you have any future plans for your music?
J: Absolutely! Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and I don’t intend on changing that. I’m still in the midst of figuring out my plans after graduation, but regardless of where I end up I know that there will be music.
Given the pieces that Jess has been working on since her first-year at Bucknell, as well as the multi-linguistic composition of them, her voice recital this weekend will undoubtedly be an extraordinary event to attend. As a reminder, her senior recital will take place this Saturday, November 8th at 4:00 p.m. in Rooke Recital Hall. See you there!