Seth McCoy

Seth McCoyA beloved teacher and one of the nation’s premier oratorio soloists, Seth McCoy (1928-1997) joined the Eastman voice faculty in 1982, becoming one of the School’s most sought-after teachers. After studying at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College, Mr. McCoy pursued vocal training with Pauline Thesmacher at the Cleveland Music School Settlement. While working as a postal clerk in Cleveland, he was invited to audition for conductor Robert Shaw, and soon became tenor soloist with the Robert Shaw Chorale, beginning a distinguished career that included appearances with the Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. As a member of the Bach Aria Group, Mr. McCoy’s mastery of the oratorio repertoire led him to work with many of the world’s most highly regarded conductors, including Erich Leinsdorf, Zubin Mehta, James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, Eugene Ormandy, and Mstislav Rostropovich. In his lifetime, he was honored with the Marian Anderson Scholarship, the Artist Advisory Council of Chicago Oratorio Award, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Grant, and the Albert Schweitzer Medal for Artistry in Voice. He is remembered by faculty and students as a congenial, considerate, and gentle man, who instructed his students, “Don’t impress. Express.” “A singer’s conviction has to leap across the footlights,” he once said. “You may disagree with my interpretation of the music—but you always know it’s what I wanted to say.”

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