April 17, 2010

Shirlee Emmons

I got an email this morning informing me that Shirlee Emmons died, and my mind immediately recalled meeting her at the New York Singing Teachers Association Centennial Gala in the Spring of 2006. As editor of NYSTA's journal VOICEPrints, I had asked Shirlee to write a piece about her voice teaching and life, and she did a bang up job. We hadn't actually met yet, having communicated via email, so it was a joy to turn around at the reception and meet her face to face.

What a lovely and charming woman! We stood there and chatted like old friends. I thanked her for writing for VOICEPrints, and she thanked me for the opportunity to write about her life, something she hadn't done despite authoring three books (you can read her piece here). My impression was that of a generous, inquisitive and thorough person. Her presence telegraphed that she put her life-long experience to excellent use, constantly thinking about the voice and her students. In short: she knew what she was doing!

Shirlee Emmons life was all about great singing and singers. She will be much missed.  

Lauritz Melchior and Shirlee Emmons


  1. I had the privilege of taking a couple of lessons with Shirlee some years ago. What an excellent voice teacher; I can't believe she died.....

  2. Shirlee was my beloved voice teacher, and the most lovely darling woman. I miss her every time I sing. The day after she died I sang a recital and dedicated "Summertime to her". I realised while singing "one of these days, you're going to rise up singing, spread your wings and take the sky" -- how painfully perfect the words were, how much that was her role, to help us spread our wings and take the sky. Darling Shirlee I shall always have you in my heart.

  3. What a great and for real person this gifted teacher was. I'd read her articles for a long time and got to meet Shirlee at the 2008 NATS conference.


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