November 7, 2017

Remembering Margaret Harshaw

She died 20 years ago today, on the 7th of November, 1997. Remembered and mourned by countless students, colleagues, and the listening public, Harshaw was known for her full-throated, gleaming, silvery voice—the likes of which this listener has yet to hear again—and her strong influence on vocal pedagogy as the doyenne of voice teachers. Controversial, intelligent, quick-witted, authoritative, and possessing the best one-liner ever heard, she embodied the teaching of the Garcías through her studies with Anna Eugénie Schoen-René, who had been the student of both Pauline Viardot-García, and her famous brother, Manuel García—the first person to use the laryngoscope to view the vocal folds in action. Harshaw's strong influence ripples throughout the community of singers today; a bulwark against the boys with toys, teachers with credentials but no voice, voce-vista mad world we live in. A singer and teacher who lived and breathed bel canto, she was the pole star by which many found their way.

Photo Credit—Shigo Voice Studio, 1957 headshot. 

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