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Raising Voices in Tribute

August 27, 1992|MIKE WARD

Illustrious vocalists from around the country will gather at the First Baptist Church of Pasadena on Sunday to sing a memorial tribute to a woman who was a teacher to all of them. Esther Andreas, who taught for 30 years at Cal State Los Angeles, died Feb. 7 at the age of 81.

Robert Fowells, former Cal State choir director, said Andreas' former students are so busy with successful careers that it took months to schedule the concert.

The featured work will be the Magnificat of J. S. Bach with soloists Carol Neblett, Claudine Carlson, Catherine Underwood, Paul L. Johnson and Douglas Lawrence.

Neblett, who appeared in Puccini's "Tosca" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in January and "La Fanciulla del West" at the Music Center last year, will return to the Metropolitan Opera this fall.

She is the best known of those who studied with Andreas, Fowells said, but other former students are enjoying successful careers as well; eight of her students have sung with the Metropolitan.

Andreas began her musical career as a pianist and singer in San Francisco, went to France as a protege of Pierre Monteux, sang Wagnerian roles at the Zurich Staatsoper and was being coached for a debut at the Paris Opera when World War II intervened. She returned to California and taught at Pepperdine University and then Cal State.

Fowells said Andreas used unorthodox techniques. In fact, he said, the first time he heard Neblett, she was singing while standing on her head during a voice lesson to make a point about vocal technique. He said the achievements of Andreas' students are a tribute to her efforts. "She was a remarkable voice teacher," he said.

In addition to the performance of Bach, the 4 p.m. concert will feature sacred music solos by several former students. The event is open to the public. The church is at 75 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena.

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