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What a wonderful and liberating experience to be an artist, to know first-hand the joys of artistic freedom and choice! Yet what a struggle such choices make of the process of creativity! How to write the first note? Or to paint the first phrase, decide on the key, choose the right sound… so many variables.
My taste in music has always been far ranging and eclectic. I think that no language or style barrier need exist. I want to use my voice beyond the walls of traditional music categories, sharing beautiful music and songs without attention to labels such as “jazz”, “pop” or “classical.”
While being faithful to traditional values I want to expand into new areas. My classical training in the Western tradition inspired me to apply this discipline to my interest in other styles. I often look for developments in musical styles and new sounds. I find them very refreshing and stimulating. I like to pull and integrate some different elements into a musical fusion of styles. Blending my classical training with jazz, Latin music and popular culture into a rich mélange, was a natural evolution – and the next step on my musical journey.
Yet while I feel strongly about such variety, I have always valued and appreciated immensely the mastership of a highly specialized performance. Especially dear to my heart is Renaissance and Baroque music.
My art is a balance of influences: I was exposed to European heritage, studied Western composers and sang in many languages. Now I live in the extremely cosmopolitan center of Toronto, where the mixture of cultures and languages to be found is truly amazing. It is a place that is open to the most diverse influences, a city full of artists from different parts of the world each bringing their own “flavour.” These are the components that I wish to continue to explore as an artist, and all of these influences have affected my musical choices.
Being an artist in the field of the performing arts, I recognize, understand, and emphasize the importance of story telling and communicating.
I don’t hesitate to work with material from the past. Universal truths about human nature are constant, so any songs or arias from the past, any plots, and philosophies, social and even political messages that elaborate on those themes still hold true, and are still valid in a modern context.
I like taking the audience on a magical journey in the “grand” way that opera and music theatre allows, with all the possibilities and technical aspects they offer. Yet, I also value smaller forms like a concert setting with an accompaniment of small chamber orchestra, jazz trio or piano only. They offer many possibilities and also present different challenges. The concert listening experience is so different from that provided in the music theatre setting. Music must capture the audience’s attention, both with its own beauty and with the expressive and virtuosic abilities of the performers. This moment of captivation, sensing the audience connecting, is one of best and most rewarding feelings for the performer.
I often face a dilemma in choosing a vocal style. I love to sing using my full operatic voice and I rejoice the fast coloratura runs in Baroque music, but I‘ve also always had tastes for more intimate musical expressions. I often choose to sing more restrained repertoire, avoiding the virtuosic and far-ranging use of my voice that is required in classical music because it allows me to communicate better in a particular genre. For the purpose of dramatic expression I choose the simple approach – specifically, I use significantly lower keys that enable me to use my “other voices” and produce different sounds.
What do I like about Jazz? Jazz is freedom! While in Poland, living behind the “Iron Curtain,” I recall hearing the stories of how so many listened to it secretly. It was banned: a product from a forbidden land. Jazz developed in Poland despite such censorship. Thankfully, when I was born, jazz was already playing a big part on the musical map of Poland. I had a chance to attend festivals and concerts and listen to the records playing freely on radio, TV and cinema. I‘ve become acquainted with many wonderful and significant Polish Jazz musicians and in my youth I paid rapt attention to favorite singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong… I’ve also listened to jazz instrumentalists such as George Benson, Quincy Jones, Ptaszyn Wroblewski, Andrzej Kurylewicz vocalists Shirley Horn, Diane Reeves, Holly Cole, and Diane Krall, Grazyna Auguscik.
With its complex and chromatic harmonies, many things can happen in Jazz. This is partcularly true in the art of improvisation, with its inherent desire to shape phrases just slightly outside of their absolute rhythmic and melodic values. With further expressions such as scat, be-bop and the melismatic treatments of words and with the influences of different regional musical strains, the possibilities are endless…
Yet I‘ve always admired vocalists who sing with an elegant minimalism, and delicate “word painting,” in the most intimate way possible. This is where subtle differences are so affecting. These are artists singing with true feeling, reaching to the deepest interior spaces. I remember the unforgettable performances of Wanda Warska, and Shirley Horn, both of whom used sounds as personal and intimate as a whisper. Their approach was so understated that I never tired of hearing them.
The Spanish repertory is one that I've always found to be rich and soulful. I wanted, however, to take some traditional material and add a very new treatment to it - something more contemporary. I find it refreshing to bring together the rich and varied musical strains of South America with the western tradition, creating a rich mélange of classic, jazz and Latin sound. The fusion of these very different sounds is most exciting to me.
Why am I interested in folklore? Music is the quintessence of the creativity of a particular nation. The culture of a nation imprints itself in music in a very mysterious and unique way, and most especially in its folk music. It has a unique sound, rhythm, and language; it contains the very soul of a country. (The music of Chopin and Bartok are great examples of this.) I was born in Poland, so the use of beautiful Polish melodies
in my repertoire is not only meaningful and important, but also very pleasurable for me.
I started singing at a very early age, on family occasions where my aunt or mother would accompany me on the piano. On those occasions, I was surrounded with family and friends in a very welcoming setting. Like most children, I was a bit shy. I only really discovered my voice, and the impact of it, in the elementary school. The music teacher asked each student to sing a song that she gave us to learn. While I was sitting at my desk waiting for my turn with a pounding heart, I started thinking intensively about the lyrics, quickly repeating the words. When my turn came, I remember listening to sound of my voice traveling through the room and I remember being surprised at how clear, loud and strong it was. “Is that me,” I thought? This was an awakening; everybody liked it. After that, I began singing more and more often and my interest in music was increasing. I learned popular songs and sang them for myself. As a teenager I joined the folk and dance ensemble where I was given vocal and dance training. Then I joined the young group where I was singing pop. One of my formative musical adventures was an invitation to sing with a big band. I was on the big stage with the big band, singing lyrics to music of “Moonlight Serenade!”
As I was getting more involved with singing, I decided to take private lessons. A friend introduced me to the most wonderful teacher at the Music Theatre in Gdynia, Mr. Jozef Muszynski. He gave me the best introduction to the “Bell Canto” style and instilled in me a love and passion for singing. Later on I studied with Ms. Halina Mickiewicz, a renowned Polish soprano who was a student and a pupil of legendary primadonna Ada Sari.
I sang at local festivals, city occasions, fests, corporate events, and other occasions. I gained performance experience, but it was only when I immersed myself in specialized acting studies, monologue, poetry, scenes, plays, that I I started to understand the power of connecting words and music.
University followed, and I continued vocal studies with renowned singers Maciej Witkiewicz and Jadwiga Gadulanka, as a team, and later professor Irena Galuszko as well.
WHO IS MARGARET MAYE?
• She is a classical singer who respects the past while embracing the diversity of contemporary music,
• Trained in opera, she is an exciting eclectic vocalist, with a multi-faceted voice
• She is multi-dimensional with a penchant for fusing musical genres
• She has many contrasting artistic personas and brings a kind of sensual theatricality to her live performances
• Her performances represent a fusion of cultures, styles, genres, and languages.
Ms. Maye is a classically trained singer with a “reverence for the past and an ear for the future.” This exciting, multi-faceted and eclectic vocalist has a penchant for fusing musical genres. She brings a kind of sensual theatricality to her live performances.
Passionately dedicated to her work, she is always striving for artistic excellence. In her search for communication and artistic expression her musical tastes and boundaries have continued to expand and change. She explores different music styles and genres, testing and challenging her abilities.
Blending her classical training with jazz, Latin music and popular culture into a rich mélange was a natural evolution and the next step on her musical journey. Ms. Maye applies her classical training in the Western tradition to the all of the other styles that she explores, pulling and integrating different elements into a sophisticated musical fusion of cultures, styles, genres, and languages.
She performs oratorio, opera, operetta, Broadway, drama, cabaret and jazz. This exuberant chanteuse is known for her interpretations of songs from the repertoire of Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich, Bertoldt Brecht, Gershwin, Jaroslaw Abramow-Neverly and Hanka Ordonowna. She moves with ease through this repertory with the charisma and kind of “edge” necessary for these styles.
Her natural gifts have been enhanced by her extensive and specialized drama training at the Post-secondary Music Theatre School in Gdynia and at Music Academy in Wroclaw, Poland.
At the university’s Opera and Drama Faculty program, at the end of the third year of her still continued studies, she got her acting diploma with the mark of A+.
With the potent combination of her talents, Margaret has graced the audiences with expressive performances, elegant vocal gifts, admirable poise and a charismatic stage presence. She has proven that she is equally at home with sultry Latin tempos and the edge of music theatre as she is with soaring operatic flights (particularly in her portrayals in the title roles of Bizet’s Carmen, Gluck’s Orfeus and Mozarts’s Idamante).
Margaret’s penchant for bringing together different worlds has led to collaborations with many artists. She has performed with Tomasz Stockinger, Irena Jarocka, Zbigniew Wodecki, Jerzy Polomski, Maria Nowotarska, Agata Pilitowska, Mirek Polatynski, Michal Kuleczka, Kinga Mitrowska, Maria Knapik Sztramko, Mariusz Kwiecien, Jerzy Boski, Jose Hernandez, Stuart Hamilton, Leonard Whiting, Bruce Kelly, Raisa Nakhmanovitch, Natalia Tiomkina, Danny McErlain, Elisabeth Beeler, Shanon Mercer, Denise Williams, Keith Klassen, Keith Savage, Elizabeth DeGrazia and others.
Toronto is undoubtedly a special place – vibrant, colourful, and changing everyday. It is a great metropolitan centre characterized by a fast pace and a rich variety of urban developments and villages – full of artistic life and environments conducive to creativity. It is home to many artists, sculptors, musicians, actors and writers from different parts of the world, each of whom brings with them a rich variety of cultural “flavours.”
In the multimedia era of computers, Internet, TV and rapid air travel, wider audiences have access to other worlds and have become curious about other cultures. They want to be challenged and want to explore new sounds.
Yet, Torontonians don’t need to travel to sample the world’s cultures, ethnicity and foods! Toronto cultural life is peopled with artists who work to give their best to represent both themselves and their community, enriching our lives with many international artistic “flavours.” Our city is also home to many different culinary traditions where one can literally taste the flavours the world.
Coming from Europe and living in a multicultural environment like Canada has very much influenced my interests. I‘ve always had eclectic tastes and as a teenager I listened to Pink Floyd, George Benson, Led Zeppelin, jazz, swing, Edith Piaf, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and many others…
While I have studied Western composers, sung in many languages and been exposed to European heritage, I now live in a multicultural city where the mixture of ethnicities and languages to be found is truly amazing. It is a place that is open to the most diverse influences – and that is its charm.
Everything I’ve experienced from living in Toronto, whether looking out across the city from the top of the CN Tower, walking through its elegant centre, or seeing the strong profile of a gothic church or neoclassic building, has given me the sense of connection and belonging,
I love the atmosphere of University Village, the ethnic and music festivals, the continuous movement on the busy streets and the dramatic play of light and shade of the skyscrapers. Like so many others, I also take quiet pleasure from
sitting in a park near the lake, strolling through the many green ravines, hearing the sound of children’s voices in the playgrounds and from looking at the sun setting over The Lake Ontario…
All of these things make me happy and proud that Toronto is the city I have chosen for my home.