Behind the Music: Malcolm Ulbrick

What's your favorite piece by Beethoven? Why?

I love his Choral works, especially the 9th and the Missa Solemnis, mainly because I love how he integrates the voice as an instrument so fluidly and passionately.  I also enjoy his Piano sonatas, mainly because I can't play worth a darn and they're captivating to me a listener.

What's your favorite repertoire to sing?

Really anything that appeals to me and speaks to my heart.  I'm fond of Mozart but I love to sing Handel and other Baroque composers as well.  I've been equally moved by hearing and performing Schubert lieder and Rodger's and Hammerstein show tunes (particularly Carousel).  

Is that different from what you like to listen to? What do you listen to in your non-working time?

Absolutely,  I enjoy listening to a variety of classical instrumental works because I'm always hearing something that's new and profound to me.  But I have a serious soft spot for classic rock and roll, 60s, 70s and 80s, particularly bands like Journey, Boston, Yes, ELO, and Tom Petty.  Great song writings, powerful music, and sincere text still gets the job done as it has for centuries.  If I wasn't on stage singing classical then I would seriously try to be a Rock Star :-) 

What message do you take from the Ode to Joy?

For me it's a pure and raw celebration of brotherhood and unity, an overwhelmingly hopeful anthem that emerges from a chaotic stew of notes.  It's a reminder that in the complex and daunting tapestry of life, clarity and a way forward is often profoundly simple and direct (perhaps this was the revelation in Beethoven's mind as he composed it.)  It's no wonder that the 9th has been adopted by so many to represent this Joyous, unifying, victorious quality.

How do you feel about the Unity Concert? (10% of net ticket proceeds from the Boulder Concert will benefit Out Boulder County, Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA), and the local chapter of the ACLU. Audience members will determine the proportions of the donation and can abstain if they want.)

This is very much in the spirit of the Arts and of the 9th.  That music, a performance, can lead to action and empowerment beyond those who are witness to its performance demonstrates the transcendent and altruistic power of the arts that is too often not followed through upon (mainly because the dire state of funding and support for the arts forces a hand to mouth existence among organizations that are already spread thin).  The future of the arts lies in cross-cultural and cross-disciplined support like this, and we are fortunate enough to have such strong support within our community and foresight of local organizations to make this happen here and now. 

How do you feel about being featured as a Barihunk? (For those wondering, Malcolm was featured last year -  http://barihunks.blogspot.com/2016/03/introducing-barihunk-malcolm-ulbrick.html )

I love it!  I make sacrifices for the art form and routinely have shirtless scenes in shows (not that I mind it :-) It's nice to have the promotion and support of Barihunks, for both myself and many other established and aspiring singers.  It's just another example of artists supporting one another, and having fun while we're at it.

Come see this Barihunk in action on May 5, 6, and 7!

http://www.boulderchamberorchestra.com/ode-to-joy