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MasterClass Monday: Two Legends – Barbra And Billy – Inspire With A New York State Of Mind


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Barbra Streisand released a record-breaking CD in 2014 – Partners – pairing her with arguably some of the best male artists in the music business.

The CD is on my iPad and I never tire of listening to the collaborative work between Barbra and her Guest Artists. The creativity and vocal power exuded by the singers are enormous – and yet a couple of tracks rose to the top of the pack.

One was her duet with one of my favorite singers, Michael Buble. It was full of natural enthusiasm and seamless musicality.

But, as good as this duet is, her pairing with Billy Joel almost literally took my breath away. Of course, Barbra’s voice always touches me to the core – it is a special instrument and she always uses it with ingenuity and creative freedom.

Similarly , when Billy waltzes in with his first note, I could not help but be strucke by his nuanced, fully expressive vocal approach.

And the confidence!

He is a genius at his craft and every word, every phrase, are beautifully shaped with finesse. Like Barbra, he encompasses a committed narrative approach to his vocal music and, in many ways, this cannot be taught. It just “IS”.

It is what makes artists rise to the top of the pack and no one, no how can imitate them. One can only strive to be the best one can be because this is what both Barbra Streisand and Billy Joel do every time they perform. There is no middle ground and attention to the details is what sets them apart.

MasterClass Tip: Billy Joel said that Barbra Streisand almost sounds like a kid when she sings and he meant this in a good way. Her voice does sound youthful and the reason it does so is because she taps into her head voice at every opportunity. It is always an integral part of her vocal component. Head voice is similar to a bell-like sound, one that you often hear in children’s singing voices.

Here is a a promo clip of their “New York State Of Mind” Collaboration. This should be required listening for aspiring musicians everywhere. It does not get better than this.

You can download “New York State Of Mind” here and the complete “Partners” CD here.

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About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

2 Responses to “MasterClass Monday: Two Legends – Barbra And Billy – Inspire With A New York State Of Mind”

  1. In 2002, I went to the “Piano Man” tour with Elton John & Billy Joel. To be honest, I went to see Elton but always loved Billy’s music so to me, pre-concert, it was “icing on the cake” so to speak. Elton was great but Billy blew me away. He had such stage presence and energy as well as a wonderful backing band. People were standing and dancing when he played “Allentown”. He is an amazing artist. Thanks for letting me know about this wonderful pairing :)!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No one compares to Billy. Not even Sir Elton. Billy wrote and performed his music AND lyrics and with a diversity of styles and genres. Pure genius. Thanks for dropping by jrz.

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