Sunday, August 9, 2015


August is the month we look forward to as it is our FAB Orcas Chamber Music Festival.  I have written about this in past blogs (8/26/13). One of my favorite people- not that they aren't all talented - believe me, the best of the best- but a personal favorite as we seem to gravitate to each other, is the very handsome baritone PHILIP CUTLIP. I have only seen ( and chatted with him ) twice, but feel a bond- for some reason.

He grew up in Ellensburg, WA and attended the University of Puget Sound (Tacoma) which many of our young friends have attended.  He enrolled at UPS with every intention of completing a degree in math, then going on to grad school to eventually earn a Ph.D.  He says: music was not an afterthought, but I did not aspire to more than singing in the Adelphian Concert Choir and taking voice lessons. I auditioned for the choir director and the head of the voice department, and they were surprised to have a "walk-on" with some talent show up. Over my four years, I went from being a math major who loved music to a music major who loved math, which I guess shouldn’t be surprising. There's a correspondence between the beauty and elegance of math and that of music. They both involve analysis and logic, but also imagination and interpretation."

 After UPS he went to the Eastman School of Music for a master's degree. Then  moved to New York City. It took 10 years, more or less, before he was supporting himself solely as a performing artist.  He waited tables (I was a horrible waiter),  sang in paid choruses, and  temped in offices (again, not my forte, unless the job involved computers). "What kept me going was a combination of self-confidence and, well, bullheaded stubbornness."

His parents are still in Ellensburg, his father having  retired from 40 years as a mathematics professor at Central Washington University. His mother was a speech therapist in various capacities. His siblings still live in WA.  He says:  love my times in Washington, whether for visits, or in conjunction with singing jobs. Though I've lived in New York City for nearly half my life now, I'll never consider myself a New Yorker. Washington’s outdoor activities and beauty are simply a part of me, and I hope someday to move back here." He loves to bike, run, swim, and hike. He says he uses exercise as an outlet: " as a form of mediation and as a way to socialize and get to know a new place. There's nothing like a long, bewildering run through Milan to help you get to know the city better!"

Philip  has appeared as soloist with nearly every major North American orchestra. Throughout his career Philip  has portrayed many of opera's most well-known baritone roles including Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos with Seattle Opera, the title roles in both Don Giovanni and Il barbiere di Siviglia, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte.

He has garnered consistent critical acclaim for his performances in both North America and Europe. Established on both concert and opera stages and he has performed with a distinguished list of conductors that includes Nicholas McGegan, Yves Abel, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Gerard Schwarz (Seattle), and Donald Runnicles.

"The man about whom the drama of Glass's opera is twisted, Orphée, is sung by baritone Philip Cutlip, one of the best among America's generation of talented young singers."
    — Joseph Newsome, Voix des Arts

"The star of the evening was Cutlip, whose commitment to the tormented character of Maurice Bendrix was moving beyond words, his diction as well as his sweetness and lightness of timbre ideal."
    — Opera News

"Cutlip is remarkable. He looks more like a movie star than an opera/oratorio specialist. But when he lets the pipes loose, the windows rattle and he shows why he is in demand on stages at the top venues in the world. This guy can sing."
    — Walt Amacker, Richmond Times-Dispatch

with his son- who is now in College

On top of it all he is a genuinely nice man- Looks?  well, you can see for yourself!!

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