Schwartz Follows the Music
Jared Schwartz ’04, began his Bethel career as a performing artist with no formal training in voice or vocal performance. Now he is a household name to classical music lovers. His new album, “Gabriel Fauré; Songs for Bass Voice and Piano,” contains 25 songs by French composer Gabriel Fauré and features a conglomeration of old favorites and first-time recordings of some of Fauré’s works.
The album debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Chart and hit number 2 on the list of Amazon Hot New Releases. Though Schwartz makes the music sound effortless, his success came after years of work dating back to college.
Schwartz came to Bethel with intentions of double majoring in premed and music, a true testament to both his work ethic and ambitions. However, he quickly realized that running from chemistry labs to music practice was too hectic.
“It wasn’t sustainable,” Schwartz reflects.
Schwartz decided to follow the music, concluding that medical school could be pursued later.
He participated in musicals like The Scarlett Pimpernel and Fiddler on the Roof, while training with beloved professor Vicky Garrett, someone he refers to as a “mother figure” in his life.
The admiration and respect was not one sided. Garrett thoroughly enjoyed her time teaching Schwartz.
“Working with him was such a joy! He made incredible progress in a very short period of time,” she says.
Garrett cited an example, stating that by his junior year, he had won First Place for Junior Men in the Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing competition, a remarkably impressive feat for someone whose vocal training began only one year prior.
After Bethel, Schwartz went on to study at Eastman School of Music, which is known for its consistently top-ranking music program.
Now, Schwartz continues to push forward, surrounding himself with so much music that times of silence have become something of a blessing. Still, he was eager to work on his album, and was ecstatic for the opportunity to collaborate with pianist Roy Howat.
“Roy is the foremost expert on Fauré in the world. When I [was] told I had the chance to work with him I said, ‘Yes, please, now. Let’s do it.’”
Schwartz was proud of the way they honored Fauré’s intentions. Howat paid attention to the track list order, giving it the cohesive flow one might find at a concert, and according to Schwartz, the music itself is something of a philosopher’s fantasy.
“It’s whimsical, it’s reflective, it’s lush. It’s French!”
Though his days consist of six to eight hours of practice, vocal teaching and visits from language pronunciation coaches who make sure his French or Italian vowels sound “just right,” Schwartz maintains his passion for the work. He finds reflection in classical music, and encourages others to do the same.
“It’s great for a person’s development and their soul. Read poetry. Listen. Think. There’s healing in that.”
Schwartz also finds contentment and purpose in the healing that his music provides.
“There has to be a real reason to sing, otherwise it’s too hard. It’s too much work.”
Wherever his career leads him, one thing is clear, Schwartz will always find a mission in the music.
For more information and a preview of Schwartz’s album, go to: http://www.jaredschwartz.com