Daniel Bubeck, an acclaimed professional singer who earned his bachelor’s degree in music
at the University of Delaware in 1997, returned to campus this week to
teach a master class, telling students that singers “are servants of the
music, but we have to make it our own.”
At the master class on Monday, the day after Bubeck performed an
alumni recital at UD, five students performed for him and an audience in
the Roselle Center for the Arts’ Gore Recital Hall.
When each singer finished a selection, Bubeck offered an assessment
and worked with the student on suggestions for improvement. His
critiques focused on a range of elements, from diction and the
pronunciation of foreign words, to the singer’s body language and
emotional connections with the audience.
More than technique, he emphasized performance as a way of communicating the meaning of the music.
“You always have to be thinking ahead about what you’re going to say,
and we always lead with our eyes,” he told student Emily Rickert,
urging her to infuse her performance with emotion. When she sang a
section of her piece again, Bubeck offered praise: “It sounded like it
was yours … like you were just extemporaneously creating this
He encouraged students to sing in front of a mirror in the practice
room, to observe what they are conveying to an audience. Performances
are never perfect, he told the class, but musicians always strive to
make small changes to continually get better.
“Each year it gets easier,” he said in answer to a question about his
own career. “Just do it, do it, do it. Every time you get a performance
opportunity, take it. … Choose music that you love, and share it.”
ck was invited to teach the master class by Melanie DeMent,
associate professor of music, who was his teacher at UD when he made the
change from singing as a tenor to a countertenor, a higher vocal range.
He has since earned master’s and doctoral degrees in voice from
Indiana University and a Performance Diploma and Opera Certificate from
A singer who has won international distinction, Bubeck made his professional debut in the world premiere of John Adams’ El Niño at the Théâtre Musical de Paris-Châtelet, and has performed El Niño in more than 20 productions on four continents. In 2012, he premiered another role, in John Adams’ Passion oratorio, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and reprised the role during an international tour with the orchestra in spring 2013.