Eastman School of Music Professor Emeritus of Voice John T. Maloy, an esteemed and beloved teacher of such opera luminaries as Renée Fleming, Anthony Dean Griffey, Nicole Cabell, James Courtney, and many other singers, died Thursday, Jan. 12, in Rochester, N.Y. He was 81 years old.
Before joining the Eastman faculty in 1966, Professor Maloy sang more than 1,000 performances with opera companies throughout Germany and Switzerland, including leading tenor roles in Bremerhaven, Gelsenkirchen, Wuppertal, and Berne. He also gave Lieder song recitals over North German and Austrian radio, did concert appearances in Spain, and made recordings in London.
At Eastman, Professor Maloy served as chair of Eastman’s voice department from 1977 to 2002 and received the School’s Eisenhart Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003. He retired in 2005 and was named Professor Emeritus of Voice that same year.
“John Maloy led the Voice Department with grace, dignity, and an honorable professionalism that inspired the best in all of us, solving problems and meeting challenges, all while teaching a full load,” said Professor of Voice Carol Webber. “His natural elegance and great intellect informed everything he did. A master teacher of singing, he also taught German diction with magical results, coaching all comers from all studios, not just his own, and set the standard for excellence in the Kneisel German Lieder Competition. He was proud of every one of his students. His legacy lives on in each of them.”
Said Netherlands-based American soprano Claron McFadden about Professor Maloy, “I am what I am today and do what I do because of him and I will be eternally grateful,” while Professor of Voice Rita Shane described him as the “heart and soul of (Eastman’s) voice department.”
Over the course of his career, Professor Maloy amassed a repertoire of 35 operatic and 10 oratorio roles. He continued to perform while teaching, appearing as a soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and in the popular summer series “Opera Under the Stars,” held in Rochester’s Highland Park. He gave recitals and sang as a guest soloist with Eastman School ensembles.
Professor Maloy also joined the casts of Eastman Opera productions, including The Magic Flute and Albert Herring in 1966. In 1973, he appeared in The Truth About Windmills, a one-act opera about three residents of an old age home. The production was only the third performance of the work, which had a score by Alec Wilder and libretto by Arnold Sundgaard. Opera News, which reviewed the performance, noted that “Maloy’s spunky Mr. Traherne (emerges) as the most sympathetic characterization.”
In 1976, he sang the role of the barber in The Disappointment: or The Force of Credulity. Written in 1767, the work is considered America’s first ballad opera, setting lyrics to popular tunes of the period. The setting of original tunes was written by composer and Eastman faculty member Samuel Adler.
“John Maloy’s presence continues to be felt in the voice and opera department,” said Steven Daigle, department chair. “His leadership and influence on all the students he nurtured and taught during his long tenure at the Eastman School of Music will have a lasting impact on vocal music throughout the world. Those who had the good fortune to work with John will remember his sincere generosity, positive spirit, and selflessness.”
Born on Oct. 12, 1930, in St. Joseph, Missouri, Professor Maloy spent his early years in Shenandoah, Iowa, and began singing in high school there. In 1955, he received his Bachelor of Music Degree in voice performance from the University of Indiana, where his first operatic roles included Wagner’s Parsifal. After two years of service in the Army, he continued his operatic studies at the University of Southern California, and spent the year 1957-1958 at the Hochschule fur Musik in Hamburg, Germany, on a Fulbright grant. Professor Maloy was a member of Phi Kappa Lambda, the American Association of University Professors, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and served on the National Screening Committee for Fulbright Awards in Voice.
Professor Maloy is survived by his wife, Charlotte; daughter Caroline M. (Mark) Rohlin; grandchildren Andrew and Carly Rohlin; and cousin Judy Hynnek. A funeral service was held on Monday, Jan., 16, in Rochester. Contributions in his memory may be made to the John T. Maloy Scholarship Fund at the Eastman School of Music and sent to: Eastman School of Music, Office of Advancement, 26 Gibbs Street, Rochester, NY 14604. Checks may be made payable to “Eastman School of Music” with “John Maloy Scholarship” in the memo line.
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