FACULTY PROFILE Q&A with faculty member Kenneth (Ken) Amis
A MEMBER OF THE TUBA AND CHAMBER MUSIC FACULTY SINCE 2006, AMIS IS A MEMBER OF THE EMPIRE BRASS QUINTET AND THE PALM BEACH OPERA ORCHESTRA. AS A COMPOSER HE HAS HELD RESIDENCE AND PERFORMED COMMISSIONS WITH THE BOSTON CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA, THE MASSACHUSETTS INSTRUMENTAL CONDUCTORS ASSOCIATION AND PRO ARTE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA OF BOSTON.
Q: What is the favorite moment of your career?
KA: My favorite onstage moment was an Empire Brass performance in Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. What a fantas- tic space that is to perform in!
Q: What do you enjoy about teaching at the Conservatory?
KA: The atmosphere. When you’re giving a lesson you’re just as likely to hear a Bach cello suite sounding through the wall as you are a Rodgers and Hammerstein tune being sung.
And I enjoy helping young tuba players discover the vast scope of musical expres- sion. Most tuba writing is quite limited in this respect and it is always gratifying to see a player’s ears slowly attune to the possibilities that lie before them.
Q: What was it like conducting The Boston Conservatory Brass Ensemble this past fall?
KA: Conducting was a fun experience. I got to know many of the brass and percussion players much better and it was both tiring and energizing helping
Q: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in opera?
SPE: I saw my first opera, Dido and Aeneas, as a freshman at The Boston Conservatory. My then boyfriend, now husband, Bill Eddy, was in the chorus and I was just struck by the music and drama of the piece and wanted to be a part of it.
Q: How was your Boston Conservatory experience unique?
SPE: As a music education major, I felt completely ready to take interviews for
them prepare a concert where they had the pleasure and responsibility of being the featured artists.
Q: What is the most important thing you try to instill in your students?
KA: I try to train my students to think analytically through everything, even the things that they know. This not only gives them the comprehen- sion of a decision or process but provides them with a skill that they can apply for the other 167 hours a week when I am not with them.
a full time teaching job at the end of my senior year. On graduation day, I accepted my diploma and had already landed a job. On another note, I was welcomed into the opera department and was given the opportunity to sing a role in their main stage production—a rarity for a non-voice major.
Q: Who at The Boston Conservatory inspired you?
SPE: Sara Goldstein [voice faculty] once wrote me a lovely note that had the quote, “May your reach always exceed your grasp.”
She believed in me from the very beginning and she is still a source of support to me now.
Q: You have a very demanding career and have performed all over the U.S. What is your favorite memory?
SPE: The one experience that sticks out has to be singing the role of Cherubino at the
Metropolitan Opera. What a rush to sing Mozart with the incredible Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and to share the stage with such wonderful artists!
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