Cantus Biography: Paul Rudoi

December 16, 2010

St. Paul, Minn. — Join us as we get to know Classical MPR's 2010-11 Artists-in-Residence Cantus through a series of short bios. Here, we learn about Paul Rudoi.

Paul Rudoi is currently in his third season with Cantus. Originally from Keene, N.H., Paul's education background includes a BM in Vocal Performance from The Hartt School. Here, he shares his thoughts on the importance of the live music experience, his hobbies and his pre-performance ritual.

What is the best part of singing with Cantus?

The collaboration aspect of Cantus is amazing, because it allows every artist the opportunity to participate both as an educator and as a performer.

In your mind, what makes Cantus so special and/or unique?

I believe Cantus is unique because of the dynamic between the artists. Despite a lot of constructive criticism, there is an unspoken understanding that everything is about the music, and that keeps our process strong.

What is your best and/or funniest memory from a Cantus tour?

In Alaska, we were in the small town of Healy, and we were bored prior to a concert. Our dressing room was the storage area of the gym, and there was this huge, padded circular tube thing that I grabbed and put around me. Then I waddled about and jumped around with it on. It may sound odd at the moment, but there's a YouTube video of it out there somewhere, and it's funnier if you watch it!

When did you know that you wanted to make singing your career?

I knew at a very early age that singing and music was a part of me. When I sang Beethoven's Ninth on New Year's Eve in 1999 in New York as a boy chorister, and heard the soloists in the last movement, I remember that as a turning point for me. It wasn't just a hobby anymore. I wanted to be those soloists in the future.

Do you have any rituals or things you do before you go out to perform?

I reach to my toes. Back tension is pretty strong after singing several hours of rehearsal standing up, as we do in our sound checks. That little stretch puts me in a much better place before a concert!

Cantus is known for its collaborations with other performing arts groups; what has been a favorite of yours?

I think the collaboration with the James Sewell Ballet in spring of 2009 was very fascinating, since we not only performed a new commission, but that commission was full of breathing rhythms and other unique sounds. We also got to move around with the dancers on stage, which was new and very invigorating to me!

Do you play any instruments? Are there any that you'd like to learn to play?

I play the piano to a certain extent, but I've had a resurgence of drive to learn several. I'd like to get better at my sight-reading at the piano, and learn to play the guitar and violin or cello.

Who is your music "hero" and why?

I don't have a musical hero per se (although at the moment I'm really fascinated with Shostakovich and Howells), but my favorite music comes from the Baltic area of Europe. Those composers help to musically define a culture that's been oppressed in many ways, and there's always an amount of hope in that music, no matter how bad the circumstances during which the music was composed.

What hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy doing when you are not singing (or sleeping)?

I'm definitely a music dork, so I enjoy composing music when I'm not singing. I also like movies and have recently gotten into biking and yoga!

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