“I didn’t realize I would be living in poetry so much,” says vocalist Carla Connors.
As the long-standing president of the Board of Directors for the Artist Series of Tallahassee, Connors is tasked with bringing classical musicians and vocalists to the city. A singer for many decades, she continually seeks inspiration for herself and audiences. Connors is looking forward to the series ringing in its 25th season this fall with “Vocal Tapestry” on Sept. 15.
As a performer, Connors understands the importance of experiencing live classical music. Her own standout operatic role occurred while touring with the New York City Opera National Company’s production of “Le nozze di Figaro.” Taking on the part of Mozart’s Susanna, she recalls singing in Florida State’s Ruby Diamond Concert Hall in 1991 as a part of another presenting series.
“I have performed in series like this and that experience isn’t just fabulous for the audience, but for those performing as well,” says Connors. “It’s incredibly energizing to be in a place where there’s an audience really listening and absorbing.”
Connors caught her first glimpse of a professional performance after graduating with her BFA from the University of South Dakota. She attended the Metropolitan Opera on tour in Minneapolis as a graduation present. Though she was both a flutist and singer growing up, Connors made the decision to follow singing after falling in love with the words that accompanied the music.
“I craved storytelling, character creation and acting on stage,” says Connors. “Whereas you can tell a beautiful story on a flute you don’t have real words. I discovered I desperately needed words as part of my artistic output.”
She earned a master's and doctorate degree from the University of Michigan and launched into a career touring the United States and Europe with a multitude of symphonies and orchestras. Connors earned acclaim for her roles in reviews by the Detroit Free Press and the New York Times, and made a Carnegie Hall debut in 2001.
While Mozart tops her list in terms of favorite works to perform, he keeps good company with the music composed by her husband, pianist and FSU professor Dr. Timothy Hoekman. Connors appreciates the attention to detail Hoekman demonstrates when writing for voice. She also treasures the opportunity to collaborate and ask questions in real time — a rarity with classical music given that many popular compositions are centuries old.
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