Cantus Biography: Shahzore Shah

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 Shahzore Shah.

Shahzore Shah is currently in his sixth season with Cantus. Originally from Chicago, Ill. and Stillwater, Minn., Shah's education background includes a BM in Vocal Performance, BM in Music Education and BA in French from Lawrence University and Conservatory of Music. 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 experience of live music performance is extremely precious to me. Because we are a touring ensemble, I get to share that experience with loved ones and others who cherish it everywhere we go.

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

The extent to which every member of the organization is expected to contribute to the collaborative process.

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

Funny memory: we were singing Casey At The Bat, and in a specific moment of silence just before the end, an audience member confidently shouts "Oh, home run!"

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

I had hoped singing would always be a part of my life, but I realized the career path ahead of me in college when I was surrounded by other driven musicians and constantly challenged/encouraged by my peers as well as professors.

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

I really love a brisk walk outside if possible and then a moment to recall the sensation of singing the first piece in the program.

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

I loved rehearsing and, almost as much, performing with Trio Mediaeval.

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

I played trombone growing up and a little piano. I've always wanted to play a string instrument.

Who is your music "hero" and why?

Zoltan Kodaly would qualify as a music "hero" - he and his colleagues implemented a system that perpetuates music education throughout time and space.

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

I devote most of my free time/energy to cooking and eating. I also enjoy gardening, crocheting and trail-hiking.

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