Aaron M. Villalobos Executive Director Nicole Belmont rounds out her administrative staff with the addition…
We are excited to introduce our newest tenor Luke Lusted who’s first concert with us was the “BRAHMS Requiem.” Luke holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Master of Music in Choral Conducting, both from the University of Arizona, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Louisiana Tech University. Read below for a Q&A with Luke!
When did you decide that you wanted to start singing professionally and why?
I’ve always enjoyed singing in choirs, so it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to sing professionally with others who have the same passion for the choral art. I think in middle school is when I started doing mixed chorus repertoire and realized all of the different sounds and colors a choir could create.
What singing accomplishment are you most proud of?
I would have to say singing on international tours and getting to experience different cultures and musical venues such as Ely Cathedral and Winchester Cathedral in London, Wiener Musikverein in Vienna, Rudolfinum’s Dvořák Hall in Prague, and most recently Alice Tully Hall in the Lincoln Center.
How is singing important in your life?
The art of choral music and singing is extremely important to me. It encompasses so many different aspects of life such emotions expressed in a certain piece, historical context of the composition or text, and most importantly sharing in an artistic experience while reconnecting with friends (some of which I’ve sung with for years), while inspiring and often challenging audiences.
What is most exciting to you about joining the Phoenix Chorale?
This is difficult to answer. I would have to say working with Charles has always been a life goal of mine. I first heard the album “Eternal Rest” and was mesmerized by the nuance and sound of the ensemble. I noticed that Charles was teaching a summer conducting workshop in Princeton and I attended to meet him and learn some of his techniques. After that, I knew that at some point in my career, I wanted to work with him in whatever context I could. I am honored to be in the Chorale, work with Charles, and stand next to such fine musicians.
If you were stranded on an island and could only have three albums to listen to, what would they be and why?
I think that I would need three different genres to keep me content: 1) “Solo” by Oscar Peterson for his incredible chord voicings and impeccable harmonic progressions, 2) Eternal Rest by the Phoenix Chorale for the transcending power and sheer beauty it contains, and 3) Simon Rattle’s interpretation of the Brahms Symphonies or Renee Fleming’s album Strauss: Four Last Songs.
What musician inspires you?
Any musician who brings passion, talent, knowledge, experience, expertise, and a superior work ethic to their field while promoting the accessibility of “classical” music. When I see these things combine from fellow friends and colleagues, and I have the pleasure of working with such remarkable people, I am inspired by them and humbled to be working alongside them.
What was your first concert?
The first in which I performed was probably a preschool program. The first I vaguely remember attending was Itzhak Perlman in elementary school. My parents and sister are all professional musicians and it was important for them to expose me to as much good music as possible. Over the years, I’ve been to Broadway performances, the Met, tons of symphonic and choral concerts. Some highlights would be Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Renee Fleming, Placido Domingo, Kansas City Chorale, and many others over the years.
What is your pre-performance routine, if any?
I always have to have a warm glass of herbal tea with honey and lemon. Warming up is a must and looking over any difficult passages that need special attention. Other than that, I enjoy listening to music other than what we are performing so that I am fully engaged in each performance.
What is the strangest or most random talent you have?
Aaron Neville impression…Let’s just say karaoke in undergrad was always a blast.