Tasha Koontz
It Could Be a Renaissance

The purpose of this project is to provide a collection of transcriptions from the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. This project seeks to give a platform to all parts of the vocal performing arts to better understand the lived experiences and mentality of those professionals. In collecting stories from the COVID-19 pandemic, Tasha Koontz, soprano, chatted with me about the diverse effect that this has had on her life. Not only does she explore the reality of being a church musician and director, but also the effect that this has had on and emerging opera professional.

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Tasha Koontz, soprano
Interviewed May 16, 2020

 TB: First off, I always like to start the interview with something positive. So what is the best thing that’s happened to you in the last week?

TK: Oh, I successfully edited my first choral project—my first virtual choral project. I haven’t done audio editing in a number of years, and video editing is a very new skill. I got to actually show it to people and see the reactions on their faces over Zoom, which was incredible. So much better than just a comment or a like on Facebook.

TB: How long did it take you to do that?

TK: The editing? It took me about seven hours to do about 16 audio tracks and 12 video files.

TB: How long is the video that was your final product?  

TK: I think it’s about two and a half minutes.

TB: So seven hours for about two minutes of music. Wow!

TK: It’s the [Thomas] Tallis, “If Ye Love Me,” it’s an old goodie for the church folk, but yes, I took quite a bit of time. Some of that was from me learning new software, and fighting with it a little bit and getting a feel for how it works. Some of it was just because there’s so much you have to do in real time.

TB: Wow, that’s crazy! So, for those who aren’t familiar with your career and about where you are in your life, would you mind giving a brief background on what you are doing now?

TK: So pre-COVID, I had a variety of musical jobs. I am the music director at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church of Del Mar, California, which is a full-time job. I am also an Associate Professor of Voice at MiraCosta Community College and am a private voice teacher as well. So my studio, including my college students, is about 15-20 students every week. Plus, I am an opera singer and professional singing musician; doing professional chorus work, as well as doing my own solo work. So competing and doing a variety of levels of contracts, many of which have been with San Diego Opera.

TB: You’re at that—may I call it emerging professional level? Where you're past the young artist programs, and you’re beginning to make some headway in the operatic community?

TK: Yes, exactly. I think that’s a really good way to put it. I’m definitely finding myself getting out of the young artist realm. Other than maybe the occasional prestigious young artist contract for a summer program. Like, I did Central City a few years ago, and I still think being a young artist somewhere like Santa Fe or Glimmerglass would be appropriate and great. Other than that, I’m getting more work in terms of principle contracts and solo concert contracts.

TB: So diving into the pandemic, could you tell me a little bit about where you were and how you first realized that your life was going to be directly affected by this situation?

TK: There were a couple of instances. I’ll confess I’m not a person who really keeps up with the news so much, partly because my work schedule is so full most of the time. So, I had heard about COVID, but not really thought about it, because it was something that was happening in other places and not really as much in the U.S. The first moment I really interacted with it and realized it was going to affect me and the people around me, was actually at my weekly staff meeting. I guess that was March 10th. We had about a three hour-long meeting, which is quite long for us. Mostly talking about what our plan was for how we were going to move forward and starting to make some plans and decisions about how we could possibly move forward with things, such as our church choir and worship.

      One of my first priorities in that meeting was making sure that my staff was taken care of. I consider myself very luck: I have a really fantastic employer. The Rector of my church started the meeting telling us all, “First of all, you all have unlimited sick leave, and I want you all to work from home as much as possible. Just getting that out of the way.” She was making sure we were taken care of and protected. Then my question became, what if we get to the point—which we did rather quickly—of not being able to have any in-person worship, in-person choir rehearsals, all that stuff? I still want to be able to pay my staff, because it’s not their fault that we’re not able to meet in person. Luckily, the immediate answer was “It’s already been budgeted for. We have the money to do it, so let’s continue to pay them for their full hourly pay every week.”

      At first, the plan was, we’re just going to proceed with caution and see how things go. The next day, I ended up having another meeting with the Rector and Associate Rector, where it became clear that the Bishop of our Diocese has said that she wanted only essential church gatherings. So, we had to figure out what that meant. At the end of the day that became that our actual church worship service was the only thing that could be called essential. So, I cancelled all of our choir rehearsals. I am so grateful that I did that, because of course, not long after that the article came out about the Seattle choir. [Coronavirus Choir Outbreak LA Times ] My reasoning for that—because that decision was left up to me—was that I could not live with myself if we had rehearsal and something happened to one of these people that I care about and who are my responsibility.  

      It seemed like that week every 24 hours was a new reality. You would make a plan and then have to change the whole plan again and come up with a new plan, it was incredibly stressful. I taught my last in-person lesson in my home on that Wednesday. Then I spent all day Thursday in my office packing up everything that I would need to be able to work from home. I took a single copy of every piece of music from our 800 piece plus music library, so that I could try to program services. I told all of my students by that Friday that I was going to move to an online-only lesson model. The research hadn’t really come out by that point, but anybody who sings knows that you just spit on each other all day long when you’re singing in close proximity. You’re moving air around and breathing on each other, so that just seemed like a bad idea at the time.

      I was very concerned about what the response would be from my students [about] moving to an online model. Again, I was very lucky. I really didn’t lose any students at first. Even from the beginning, I’ve only lost, I think, a total of four students out of twenty. So basically, I have been continually employed since this happened.

      Of course, all of my contracts were cancelled. I had a number of concerts lined up for March, April, May, and June, that were slowly cancelled one by one. Some of them were things that I was producing, so I cancelled them really early, knowing that it just wouldn’t work. I actually had one contract where I never formally got a cancellation notice, it was just assumed that it was not happening. Actually, that was supposed to happen today [May 16]. But, I feel like my quarantine experience has been really different from a lot of other people that I’ve spoken to, in that I feel like I’ve been working harder than I ever have in my whole life during this time.

TB: So let’s divide up the job: Voice studio has been going, not perfectly, but well?

TK: Yes, I’ve even gotten a couple of new students since this started. So it’s certainly remaining stable.

TB: Okay, and then church musician, you are doing probably even more work than you’ve done before?

TK: Yes, and my job there has changed quite a bit, because we can’t have our weekly rehearsals. I normally have two adult choirs and two children’s choirs that I’m in charge of at the church, with four services every weekend. Early on, I decided I wasn’t going to try to have weekly rehearsals online. Really, I wanted to have a weekly check-in and make sure that we’re staying connected and that we’re okay. So once a week, I meet with my adults for about an hour and we talk about a wide variety of things from, “Where are you getting your groceries from this week?” to, “Did you see that funny YouTube video?” I ask them a question every single week, which is, “What is something that made you happy this week? What is something you found joy in?” Because, I think it’s really easy for all of us to get caught up in all of the negative and very depressing feelings. I know I’ve been finding these really unique moments of joy from really small things that I would never have thought would bring me that much of a feeling before. Small things like, I got groceries delivered and had cheese in my house for the first time in weeks, or I saw a lizard when I was out on my run and it was cute.

      So my job there [at the church] has changed quite a bit and I’ve also taken on the task of recording and editing. I’m putting together all of our services, because we’re still doing all four services every weekend. We record them over two days, all together on Zoom, so that they still feel live and we can react to each other. I find that I need to do some post-editing work on those to edit out the occasional dog in the background and things that are wrong in the bulletins. I’ve been struggling a lot with how to get the audio quality to be exactly what I would like it to be for it to be consumable by the world at large. So I usually have to go through and mess with that a bit. A lot of my job in the service itself, for the most part, is that I am the one who’s singing all of the music. Up until this week, I really haven’t started to let go of that control and let other people do things, in terms of music. I didn’t want to do that until I felt like I could really explain what was needed. So now, that’s starting to happen more.  

TB: The third part of your work life is the professional singer portion. Can you tell me a little bit about those cancellations and what they mean to you? Obviously, financially, but also professionally, because when we aren’t working, we aren’t pushing into that next boundary.

Official NATS · Koontz Interview Portion 1

TK: Pretty much everything that was cancelled was a concert of some kind. Although at this point, I’ve actually also had one of my 2021 opera contracts pushed to 2022. At this point, it’s still up in the air about whether the second 2021 contract will even happen. Of course, those were my two best contracts that I had managed to land yet, breaking through to new tiers in terms of the AGMA or American Guild of Musical Artists’ Schedule C. I was doing my first featured role, finally in a larger house. The other things that were cancelled these past couple of months, I was very excited about doing my first Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. That was going to be here locally and it was a collaboration amongst all of the community colleges, actually, coming together with their orchestras and their choruses for this major work. I was really excited to do something that I had never done before, have an excuse to learn it, and do it in a fairly low stress setting.

      One of the other projects, I was very excited about was premiering a set of three Lewis Carroll pieces, that were written by a friend of mine who’s a composer here in Del Mar. They have been performed before, but this would have been the first time doing them with orchestra. I rarely get to perform brand new work with newly orchestrated pieces. So, I was really looking forward to that and finally dipping my toe into the more contemporary classical music realm. Also, I had a recital that I was scheduled to do with the Musical Merit Foundation here, as well. I won first place in their competition last year, and they often rehire their competition winners to do performances like that. I was very excited to be doing that with Bruce Stasyna, who is one of the conductors with San Diego Opera and who I adore. I was really excited to collaborate with him on that. So, losing out on all that stuff, it just... It felt like all of my momentum was going away. That’s something I’ve really been struggling with on a personal level.

      I’m really worried that after this is over, when we can finally get back to performing in public... I am really worried that because I didn’t already have an agent and wasn’t already the most established artist, that there won’t be a place for me. There was already a surplus of amazing singers and not enough work to go around. Now that’s going to be even more true, because of the companies that won’t be able to sustain remaining open. That’s been a huge hurdle.  

      I do feel very stagnant, in terms of my artistic growth as a soloist. It’s really hard for me to find motivation to practice, and I hate practicing at home. I live in an apartment. I have neighbors. It is small, and I feel like I’m going deaf. When I’m singing my own big repertoire the way it should be sung, it’s just unpleasant. So, if I find myself singing anything for my own soul food, enjoyment, and pleasure, it’s art songs for the most part right now.

TB: How does having these jobs cancelled or moved affect your financial health moving forward?

TK: The concert contracts—because most of them were on the relatively smaller side—weren’t a huge financial impact. The biggest one of those contracts was the recital contract. Again, I am very lucky and grateful that they [The Musical Merit Foundation of Greater San Diego] actually opted to pay us half of our fees now, and reschedule that performance and pay us the other half when we get to perform it. So, that was helpful. I also had applied for the Jensen Foundation and received their $200 grant, which was unexpected. I just cried when I read the email because it was so nice to be thought of and recognized in that way without having to ask.
 
      I am certainly worried about the impact of my opera contracts, those were the big ones. Those represent up to a quarter of my yearly income. For those to now be moved to upcoming years with nothing to replace them is a bit challenging. I keep saying it though: I’ve been on the lucky side. I am employed. I still have my full-time job. And I still have my students, so at the most—if all holds steady—I’ll really only lose out on about a quarter to a third of my income. Which in the grand scheme of things is manageable and I will survive. I’m really grateful for that.
 
TB: So what would you say is the hardest lesson that you’ve learned so far in this situation?
 
TK: In some ways, I think my dream of having my whole livelihood come from singing is maybe not a very financially smart goal to have. Based on what’s been happening [pre-COVID-19], it was inconceivable to me that there would be no performing for any reason, at any point. I’ve never been so grateful that I didn’t just quit all of my jobs and go try to do one of the year-long young artists programs and be completely shut down right now.
 
      Maybe one of the biggest things I’ve been learning in this time of great self-reflecting is that the way I have been living my life before quarantine—which seemed manageable at the time—is really unsustainable in this time. I just don’t have the energy to sustain a sixty to seventy hour work week at all, right now. Fifty hours feels enormous. That’s already taking out things, like weekly rehearsals and practice, quite frankly. So really getting struck in the face with a need for a work-life balance has been pretty illuminating.
 
TB: So, reflecting back on this experience, how different was your life, let’s say nine weeks ago?
 
TK: It was really, really different. I was seeing my friends every day, going out to do things, practicing for upcoming gigs, and planning for the future. I’ve always felt overwhelmed by the amount of work that I have, but it’s all work that I have by choice. It felt manageable because I still had all of the outlets, coping mechanisms, and things that I needed to support that. I think all of us who are musicians, we do it because it’s something we need. I know I feel most connected with other humans when I’m performing; when I’m collaborating and making music with other humans, for other humans.
 
      There’s something about that shared experience that’s just the most valuable. It’s when I feel like I have permission to feel all of my feelings and have them acknowledged by other people. The loss of that has been really tremendous, particularly on my mental health, I guess. I would never have considered myself to be somebody who had any sort of struggle with.. with depression or anxiety outside of normal bounds. 
 
      I just miss the small things. I’m sure you’ve heard this from a lot from people: I miss hugging people and seeing them in real life. I have been very cautious in my quarantine. I really don’t go out. I don’t even go to the grocery store. I haven’t been out of my house—other than to go running—I think two times in the past two months. The first time I got to see actual human beings that I knew in real life, even six feet away with masks on, was life-altering.
 
      I was in the midst of getting ready for a choral concert, right before this happened. We had rehearsal—I think, the day before I had that big staff meeting—and our concert was scheduled for the next week. So, we went from making really awesome, hard music together to just nothing. It’s quite different, quite different.
 
TB: What is one thing that you’re most grateful for in this experience?
 
TK: Weirdly, I think the thing I’m most grateful for is the reset of perspective. I hope that after all of this is over, I will be less likely to take a lot of things for granted; things like being able to see people in person and having shared, real life experiences. I’ve also been really grateful for being pushed to learn new skills, things that I wouldn’t have otherwise taken the time to learn. In addition, finding my work-life balance really unacceptable; and finally becoming okay with prioritizing myself as much as I do my work.
 
TB: So, in reflecting back on this and looking at our industry, how do you think that this is going to change our musical landscape in the future?
 
TK: That’s a great question. It’s been something I’ve been think about a lot, especially since the big conference [NATS Webinar: What do Science and Data Say About the Near Term Future of Singing] that happened: the, “We won’t be able to sing together at all until there’s a vaccine.” It felt like somebody died when I heard that news and it was a real struggle that week. I’m hoping that what’s going to happen with the music industry is that this is going to be a time of huge innovation. Particularly for the classical music industry, which is so dependent on live performance. Frankly, that is what I love about classical music. It is a live art form, but I am hoping for there to be innovation.
 
      I’m imagining that there are going to be a lot of smaller companies that actually will pop up, like small opera companies and small arts organization, who are prioritizing local artists because of not needing to fly them in from anywhere. Who are exploring performance venues that can safely accommodate people. I think we’re going to see a huge surge of outdoor performance once we can have any kind of performance at all. I’m also hoping that science and music will meet in finding a way for singers to sing in close proximity with something that will work without making us feel like we’re going to suffocate.
 
      Under no circumstances, do I think that the arts industry is just going to be gone. It’s completely against human nature. We need art. It’s the number one thing that people are talking about as keeping them hopeful and present in this time. I just think it is going to be different. I think an unintended consequence [the lack of travel] might actually be a big bonus for a lot of the lesser known artists, because traveling from one location to the next is not as safe and advantageous. Companies are going to have to use local, lesser known artists, because they’re there. Especially in places where there isn’t a huge surplus of artists.
 
      I think that as soon as we can be out in public again, people are going to want to be social. People are going to want to go to the theater, go to concerts, go to the opera, and experience new things. I had really mixed feelings about the Met Opera streams, because on one hand, “Yay, we’re still getting to experience a form of this art,” but also, “Boo,” because it’s just presenting something that’s already been done. But frankly, I have friends who were never interested in opera in the first place, now they have been religiously watching those streams. I mean, I know someone who has not missed one. Which I find incredibly admirable, as somebody who has clearly not done that at all. I don’t know if I could sit down and watch the entire Ring Cycle by myself in my living room for fun. It’s giving people more accessibility to these art forms that they might not have otherwise thought to try, because they want something new and might get hooked. So, I think it could be a renaissance for the classical music industry, when we’re done.
 
TB: That’s a really interesting way of putting it, a renaissance for classical music. In looking at the generation of young artists, what would be a challenge that you foresee coming for them?
 
TK: I think that this experience has sort of leveled the playing field a little bit for artists in general, because we’re all stuck. Regardless of what level of artist, when all the people who have been singing at the Met are still home [and] not doing anything, that level of competition is not there. I think for young artists or people that are just starting, it’s going to be even harder to break into the industry in some ways. Managers are going to be less likely to take on a lot of new clients because they’re going to want to try to support the ones that they already have.
 
      I am concerned about funding or lack thereof, for things like young artists programs. I think that the biggest hit to opera specifically, is going to be in the major opera houses. They’re the ones who are going to struggle to remain open, because their budgets are huge and a lot of the people who attend opera are statistically in the higher risk category with this illness. For young artists, I think it’s also going to be a struggle to trust that you will be able to make a living off of singing alone. I’m certainly struggling with that right now. I can’t imagine trying to do that at this moment in time.
 
TB: What would be your advice to them to get through it?  
 
TK: I think my advice would be to embrace career diversification. Actually, I gave a masterclass at MiraCosta, a virtual masterclass, and that was one of the things I was talking about. Of course, you can’t just turn off this switch inside of you that says, “You must pursue this art as your passion and as your career.” In addition to that, continue to think outside of the box about what other skills you have that can support you in that endeavor.
 
      Learn how to see the monetary value in the knowledge that you have. For example, when I was in college, I was the music director for Purple Haze Acapella, which was one of the contemporary acapella ensembles that competed in the big competitions at Lincoln Center every year. Because of that, I had a really unique perspective into this very strange little niche marketplace. When I moved to California and I had no job—literally none, I didn’t know any people other than my husband at the time—I emailed everybody I could find in the music world here and said, “Hi, I exist. I know stuff about singing, and I teach. I also know things about acapella. So, if you want to start something like that, let me know.” That was actually a big way that I got my foot into the teaching scene in San Diego. High school choir teachers were saying, “Oh, here’s this thing that’s really popular right now because of Pentatonix. We want to start an acapella group, and I have no idea how to do that.”
 
So recognizing that really weird skill that I did not get paid for and did for fun [in college] could translate into something of monetary value. Or, for music students who have all taken piano lessons or taken music theory, you know stuff about those things. You can put those skills to use as a tutor and a teacher. There are any number of ways to monetize your skill set. I guess it’s more about recognizing that your primary instrument and your primary skill is not the only thing of value about you.
 
TB: How do you see the situation shaping your next five years?
 
TK: I’m anticipating a pretty major setback in terms of any sort of career development. I think if I am lucky, I’m going to get all of those same contracts that I was supposed to have, and they’ll be postponed to later dates. That’s the current plan. At the most unlucky, I’m just going to lose out on those contracts and then have to start from scratch, which does not sound very fun. Previously, I had been toying with the idea of quitting all my jobs and moving to New York and doing the singer thing. Now, I’m very firmly not going to do that. I have employment where I currently live. I have a support system of people here. I’m actually looking into buying a house this fall because I think the housing market’s going to tank. I want to take advantage of it while I can, and have a solid home base. I might be a little more wary of radically giving up everything in my life to wholly pursue singing, which both makes me really sad that I’ve become a little bit more risk averse in that way. But it’s also making me recognize the value of the things I have currently.
 
TB: Before we close up, I would like to ask if there’s anything else that you would like to add to our conversation?
 
TK: I think the thing I’m going to be curious about—after this is all over and people have gone back to normal—is how people value each other. I want to see what the mental impact of all of this is. I’ve been wondering if the music industry would actually see a lot of people quit out of being faced with this huge amount of instability, which we all already knew existed. But it’s one thing to know theoretically and another to have it become so clear.
 
      I’m also curious to see how the music training programs continue. If music schools are still going to have the same number of students that they always did? Are we going to see a loss of enrollment? Are people going to be less likely to take the risk? Or, is it going to be the opposite? Are people going to have recognized that this was what kept them alive and sane during this time? So, how could they not pursue it after this is over? What’s the impact going to be?
 
TB: This has been a delight and very informative. In closing up, what is your video binge recommendation for the pandemic?  
 
TK: Oh, that’s a great question, I have two categories of TV. There’s my trash TV category and there’s my substantive TV category. So, for the trash TV category, I’m a big fan of things like, Nailed It on Netflix, or if we’re getting really ridiculous, Too Hot to Handle. I could not bring myself to watch Tiger King. I tried, it didn’t work. Now, I have been watching a lot of Vampire DiariesMotherland has been really fun to watch as that’s come out every week. So, I’m clearly very big into the fantasy realm. But for really, really substantive, Unorthodox is so good. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.
 
About Tasha Koontz
 
Recognized by Parterre Box for her “sumptuous, gleaming lyric instrument” and by Opera Wire for her “secure silvery high notes,” soprano Tasha Koontz is an artist garnering attention from coast to coast. Ms.Koontz lends her unique combination of nuanced and vocally exciting performances to a gallery of leading ladies in her repertoire. In the 2019/20 season, Ms. Koontz sang the soprano solos in Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream with the San Diego Symphony, performed the role of the High Priestess in Verdi's Aïda with the San Diego Opera, performed as the soprano soloist in Vivaldi's Gloria with the San Diego Festival Chorus & Orchestra, and performed Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the California Chamber Orchestra. In 2020, Ms. Koontz was scheduled to perform as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Palomar Symphony Orchestra, to sing Lewis Carroll Songs composed by Jordan Kuspa with the North Coast Symphony, to perform a recital with noted conductor and coach Bruce Stasyna for the Musical Merit Foundation of San Diego, to perform the solos in Fern Hill by John Corigliano with the Mira Costa Symphony Orchestra, and to perform the soprano solos in Carmina Burana with the Oregon Music Festival. Those performances have all been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms.Koontz’s upcoming performance of Josephine in the Gilbert & Sullivan classic, H.M.S. Pinafore, with Bodhi Tree Concerts is now currently in the process of being converted into a live-stream only performance in September 2020.
 
In the 2018/19 season, Ms.Koontz returned to San Diego Opera singing the role of Frasquita in Carmen under the baton of Maestro Yves Abel. Broadway World recognized Ms.Koontz for her “accurate powerful voice," and the San Diego Union Tribune followed suit, describing her as a “power soprano.” Later that same season, Ms.Koontz made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra singing the High Priestess in Verdi's Aïda under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Muti. Her performance garnered accolades from the Chicago Sun Times and Parterre Box who said, "Tasha Koontz... showed off a sumptuous, gleaming lyric instrument in her hauntingly beautiful and evocative scene. Hearing her timbrally rich and even singing makes one hope that this soprano of promise can grow into a Verdian of distinction."
 
In the 2017/18 season, Ms.Koontz returned to San Diego Opera to sing Edith in the season’s opening production of Pirates of Penzance, as well as her debut with Central City Opera as the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte with great success. David Marlowe described her performance of First Lady as “nothing short of divine.”
 
 In the 2016/17 season, Ms.Koontz made her San Diego Opera debut as Annina in La Traviata conducted by David Agler and directed by Marta Domingo. Of her performance, Opera Todaydeclared, “Tasha Koontz sang beautifully as Annina.”
 
Additional roles performed include Violetta in La Traviata and Mimì in La bohème with Opera on the Avalon, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Bay View Music Festival, Alice Ford in Falstaff with Indiana University Opera Theater and with /kor/ Productions in Chicago, the Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro with Northwestern University, as well as Woman 1 in Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath with Sugar Creek Opera.
 
Equally at home on the concert stage, Ms. Koontz has performed as the soprano soloist with the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus for their performances of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 , as well as Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Ms.Koontz debuted with the San Diego Symphony in their Jacobs Masterworks: Music and world of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Concert. Additional concert repertoire includes Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem, Strauss’ Four Last Songs, Handel’s Messiah, Poulenc’s Gloria, Bach’s B minor Mass, as well as Faure’s Requiem. The soprano has also appeared with the Chicago Arts Orchestra, Newfoundland Orchestra, Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra, Spokane Symphony Orchestra and the Northwestern University Orchestra.
 
Ms. Koontz has been the first place vocal winner in the Musical Merit Foundation Awards competition as well as the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus Young Artist Competition, the second place winner in the Susan and Virginia Hawk Vocal Scholarship Competition, the recipient of an encouragement award in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Western Region. She was also chosen to compete in the semi-finals of the Belvedere Competition and was named a Finalist in the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. Additional awards and recognition include the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Illinois and Indiana Districts and Central Region as well as the San Diego District and Western Region, the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Competition, the Bel Canto Foundation Competition, and the Brava! Opera Theater Competition.
 
Ms. Koontz is a Master of Music graduate of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where she studied with acclaimed soprano Carol Vaness, and received her Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University.
 
 
Thomas Tallis - “If Ye Love Me”
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church of Del Mar Choir
Audio and video editing by Tasha Koontz
 
 
Erich Korngold - Die Tote Stadt - “Marietta’s Lied”
Tasha Koontz, soprano
Susie Shick, pianist
Evan Apodaca, video Rumley Music and Audio Production
 
 
Intermezzo