Remembering Mari Taniguchi, Professor Emerita of Music

Maisha Rahman

Professor Emerita of Music Mari Taniguchi passed away Feb. 13 in her Appleton, Wisc. home. She was 92 years old.

Taniguchi joined the Lawrence faculty in 1961 at the age of 39 and continued teaching voice until her retirement in 2000. Following her retirement, she remained in Appleton and often visited Lawrence.

Originally from San Diego, Calif., Taniguchi graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a B.M. in voice and piano and an M.A. in music literature. Before coming to Lawrence, she spent a few years accompanying in the studio of an Italian voice teacher in Italy, where she learned the Italian approach to singing.

Taniguchi specialized in studio voice, vocal literature, song interpretation and musical theater and served as the conductor of the Downer Chorus for Women.

She taught aspiring singers at Lawrence with an Italian approach based on open throat. She is remembered for holding high expectations of her students and for maintaining a close relationship with them to help them develop.

Dean of the Conservatory Brian Pertl commented, “During her 39 years as a professor at the Conservatory she was the heart and soul of the voice department. She expected great things from all her students and usually got them!”

Taniguchi never married and had no children of her own, but she retained a compassionate instinct for her students. “Mari was very spare with her compliments but when you got one, you knew it meant something,” noted Frank C. Shattuck Professor of Music and Teacher of Voice Ken Bozeman.

Bozeman continued, “She was very friendly [and] loved to laugh and eat good food.”

 

Many of the students who studied under Taniguchi have achieved high level of success. Artist-in-Residence Dale Duesing ’67 won a Grammy award, William Sharp ’73 won the American Song Contest and Mark Uhlemann ’96 won the Metropolitan Opera Audition.

Said Pertl, “Mari was much loved by all who knew her. It is always hard to see such a vibrant, musical spirit leave this Earth.”

A memorial service celebrating Taniguchi’s life will be held this spring in the Warch Campus Center.

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