Music moves my soul

April 11, 2013

When I mention that I studied opera and classical piano in school, but am currently pursuing a career in theatre, people often ask which genre I prefer. I respond, and truly believe, that whatever project I am working on is my favorite. This answer has seemed unsatisfactory to some, as though I must have a deep-seated passion for one thing only. In the last few sentences of Master Class, Maria Callas presents this argument: "You must know what you want to do in life, you must decide, for we cannot do everything." Ok, Maria Callas and everyone else, I have chosen music. Music is my absolute favorite thing. I love to listen to it, dance to it, cry to it, sing to it and perform it. Music moves my soul.

But when people ask what I do for a living, I cannot say that "I do music". Therein lies the problem. So now what? I'm back to choosing which part of the vast world of music I'd like to pursue as a career. Careers, of course, have their own complications. When I studied opera in graduate school, teachers always presented the goal-the ultimate career-to be singing lead roles all over the world, strictly at "A" houses, hopping from one gig to the next garnering international acclaim. But then I landed my first theatre job and learned that, in that field, the epitome of a great career is to have continuous work solely in New York City. Both of these sound like the best ideas ever when you are a young, ambitious student. But as life settles in and priorities begin to shift, it turns out there are an infinite number of paths to having a successful career. Without anyone standing over you telling you what you should be doing, you're only left with yourself to decide what will truly make you happy.

For me, the perfect career is a blend of all of the above, because most of all what I want to do is make music. I, of course, want to have a steady career with consistent work, but I also love having a permanent address and a place I call home. So far in my career, I have worked primarily in New York City for theatre, but have mostly traveled for my opera engagements. I have been lucky enough to work on many different styles of music that range from obscure Baroque operas to beloved musicals to brand new compositions. I've also presented in many different facets of performance from table readings to fully staged productions to symphonic concerts to recordings. Each of these experiences has taught me something new, introduced me to interesting people and enhanced my understanding of music.

To some, a career as a musician isn't even considered a real job. I feel incredibly fortunate that I was born with the soul of a musician. If I can spend every day feeling enriched by or enriching others with music, that, to me, is success.

© Leah Edwards 2018