Faculty member, voice

My name is Amelia Spierer, and I'm a soprano here in Milwaukee. I grew up in Cedarburg, Wis., and undertook studies at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and Rutgers University where I studied classical voice. I love singing all kinds of classical music, but especially music from the baroque period.

When people hear "classical singer" they usually think of opera. I have sung in operas, but more often I perform in recital and concert venues. I sing in many different languages – Italian, French, German, Latin. I enjoy solo performances, but especially love having opportunities to sing with a chamber group or even a larger group of voices.

I perform with "Collegium Ladyes" which is a local group of women who sing music from the medieval and Renaissance periods. It is an amazing group of women who are all so talented as solo singers in their own right, but who also know how to work together to achieve a coherent, beautiful sound. We have upcoming performances this fall and winter at the Polish Center in Franklin, and St. John's on the Lake, on the east side.

I also perform on a regular basis here at Stritch, which is a great chance for the musicians who teach here to collaborate and perform together. I'll be performing here in February as part of the faculty chamber concert that happens every year, singing a set of songs by Ibert with flute, and also a chamber piece by Schubert with piano and clarinet.

I have early musical memories of listening to my parents' vinyl records. My father especially loved classical music and was a big fan of Luciano Pavarotti. In fact, I used to think my Dad looked a little like him. It was my first taste of the operatic vocal style, and I loved to hear my Dad sing along with Luciano. I also loved to listen to orchestral recordings and pretend I was a ballerina, dancing along.

My "day job" is actually right here at Stritch! I teach voice lessons and ear training, and direct the choir group. I love interacting with the students here at Stritch, especially those people who may not be music majors, but who are very passionate about making music and want to hone their skills. My real job, however, is being a mom to my three-year-old daughter. I'm lucky that I get to spend lots of time with her, exploring the world together, and seeing life around us through her eyes. It is a joy and a privilege.

I once sang as a soloist in a performance of Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater" at a church here in town. I hadn't slept well the night before, and showed up for the performance feeling exhausted and a little panicked about how little energy I had. We rehearsed with the strings for the first time only once, just an hour or so before the performance. That was already a little nerve-wracking, but then, when it came time for the performance, the electric harpsichord we were using mysteriously stopped working. We all panicked, as most of us were used to finding our pitches and getting musical cues from the harpsichord. Somehow, we made it through the piece and sang with more energy and focus than ever. I like to remember that night when things get rough, because sometimes when the craziest things happen during performances, the best singing and creating is also possible.

I am especially fond of music by J.S. Bach. That might sound cliché, but he truly gave us the underpinnings for Western music. I've learned so much by performing his very challenging vocal works. I've learned more about phrasing, harmonic structure, and counterpoint from Bach than probably any other composer.

I'm also a fan of music by French composers. I really love the French language and singing in French is a joy. Debussy and Ravel have both challenged and delighted me.