Robert (Rob) Istad is one of my favorite folks. We were housemates in college… I can still remember his audition at CSUF, and boy, has he come up the ranks. He is the current head of choral studies at Cal State Fullerton, Artistic Director of the Long Beach Camerata Singers, and soon-to-be Artistic Director of the venerable Pacific Chorale. All that being said, as you’ll hear in my intro, I wanted to hear stories. Stories that have nothing to do with his life in music, but the stories that split my gut way back when. You can Google his name for all that other stuff. Enjoy.
Like many of my guests, I met John Holiday at LA Opera. We happened to be staged together, and every night we’d exchange pleasantries before the curtain rose. We hit it off and managed to keep in touch here and there, mostly through Facebook. I greatly admire his talent, work ethic and attitude, but mostly, he’s an easygoing and very decent human being. Enjoy.
Hila Plitmann is a Grammy award-winning soprano, and one of my closest friends. Full disclosure: she’s married to Eric Whitacre, who is also one of my closest friends. She and I have a lot in common, but she’s just a lot more interesting. A great thinker, shrouded in modesty- she’s truly one-of-a-kind, as far as I’m concerned. I hope you enjoy our chat, because I’m sure there are many more to come.
What can I say, I messaged Ben about being on this brand-new, nothing-yet podcast and he basically came right over. That’s the kind of guy he is. A supportive colleague, funny, kind and an amazingly hard-working and talented guy. That’s Ben Bliss, and I was so happy to get the chance to chat and get to know this fine, gentleman-singer.
Eric Whitacre is one of my oldest friends, so why not give it a shot with him early on? It was his idea, anyway. All the things you hear about him are true- he’s a sweet guy, for real. He’s super-smart, interesting, funny, candid and an extraordinarily considerate friend. And handsome. Eric is really, really fucking handsome. I suspect he’ll be a returning guest, especially if it’s an excuse for us to hang out in the middle of the day again.
For my pilot episode, I picked James Martin Schaefer. I’ve known Marty for twenty years and we’ve been through a lot together. We both perform regularly at the Los Angeles Opera Company as soloists and choristers. This was my first-ever in preparation for this podcast series, so it’s weird and sometimes not-so-great. I’m posting it anyway.