By Susan Meister
Katherine Edison, a principal performer in this week’s concert at the Monterey Museum of Art-La Mirada, “From Paris to Monterey-Tavernier’s Bohemian World,” is an example of someone whose educational background gives only a hint of her many interests in the arts.
She is, for one, a professional soprano. She received her music training at the Northwestern University School of Music, and then took her MFA in Performance from the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Art Institute of Chicago, you say, isn’t that one of the foremost art museums in the country? That it is, and in that place Katherine pursued her other passion, photography, eventually having to make a difficult choice between pursuing her career as a vocal artist or becoming a professional photographer. She chose music, and taught voice in the Art Institute’s program while focusing her own vocal work on chamber music, oratorios, and recitals, and participating in a four-person ensemble specializing in the music of Berthold Brecht.
Fortunately for those who have been able to hear Katherine’s solo performances, and for those students who have studied under her, the music side of her won, but her passion for photography has not waned. For some years she has been a Board member of the Weston Photography Scholarship, aimed at cultivating the talents of young photographers, while becoming an avid collector herself. Her Carmel home is a veritable gallery of mostly black and white prints by known photographers.
But there is yet more to her story. “Carmel has always been a haven for creativity in all media-–music, art, photography, literature,” she said, “and my passion is joining them all in the seamless whole I think they were meant to be.” Thus her enthusiastic participation in a number of projects that support interdisciplinary connection, most recently in the series of concerts at the Monterey Museum of Art, “concerts,” she says,” that highlight the music, literature, and history of the times in which the exhibits on display were made.” To her, assembling all of the pieces that surround artists and presenting them in a way that both educates and thrills audiences is the finest expression of her career objectives.
“There are so many vibrant and talented artists living in and around Carmel today,” she said, “that making a stage available for them to present their gifts is what my life is about these days.”
To accentuate that point, on the stage with Katherine at La Mirada to celebrate the main Museum’s exhibit of the works of 19th century painter Jules Tavernier, will be Peter Tuff, baritone and Simona Snitkovskaya, pianist. They will perform a series of French songs from the Paris of Tavernier’s time. Also on the program are Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel, with words by Robert Louis Stevenson, to celebrate their time on the Monterey Peninsula. Throughout, David Gordon, dramaturge of the Carmel Bach Festival and beloved raconteur, will lead the audience through the lives of Tavernier and his fellow artists during his stay in Monterey.
This is Katherine Edison’s ideal type of program. “Not only do you have beautiful music,” she said, “but you also gain an understanding of what made Tavernier who he was through the literature and history of the time. This combination is what enlightens, entertains and inspires, and I want to do much more of it.”
“From Paris to Monterey: Tavernier’s Bohemian World” will take place at the Monterey Museum of Art-La Mirada on Thursday, June 26th, at 6 pm. Ticket prices are $20 for museum members, $25 for non-museum members, $25 for all at the door. The ticket price includes admission to the Tavernier exhibit on Pacific Street. For advance reservations, go to http://www.montereyart.org/