Artist Spotlight

Molly Wilson

Arriving from Edina, Minn.,
seeking a double degree in
English and vocal performance,
senior tenor Justin Berkowitz
has cleared a strong path for
himself. He’s held down four
years of lead opera roles, most
recently playing the title role
in Lawrence’s production of
“Candide,” and has participated
in four years of concert choir
and opera scenes.
In his “free time,” he manages
to fit in work at the
Admissions Office, be a residence
life advisor and hold the
position of the voice department
representative for the
Dean’s Advisory Council.
But while rattling off
Berkowitz’s résumé is certainly
impressive, it’s his musicality,
intelligence and genuine love
for the music that set him apart
from tenors… I mean singers.
When I asked him what he
prefers to sing, he gave me the
typical tenor response: “High
notes!” After that, he continued,
“No, but when it comes to art
song, I love singing songs that
have poetry, poems that can
really speak to me on some
level and that I can find new or
hidden meanings to. I guess it’s
the English major coming out
in me.”
He also mentioned his great
love for German music, sparked
after spending a term in Vienna
– anyone who has spent twenty
minutes with Berkowitz knows
how much he loves Vienna.
He has also found a newfound
love for the “bel canto” style of
opera, which allows him to sing
florid melismas and high note
after high note.
This is a big weekend for
Berkowitz: Friday night, April
23, he’ll be singing with the
Lawrence choirs and orchestra
in their spring concert together.
Then, Saturday, April 24 at 4
p.m., he will perform his senior
recital in Harper Hall.
His program includes works
by Respighi, Rossini, a few particularly
beautiful Schumann
duets and the famed tenor/
baritone duet from “The Pearl
Fishers.” His program naturally
also includes works by Roger
Quilter, a composer whose
works Berkowitz champions.
Berkowitz explained why he
likes his program: “I feel like all
the music speaks to my life at
Lawrence; to my friends, professors
I’ve worked with and the
experiences I’ve had here. It’s
the first time I’m really getting
up and singing so much music
that speaks to me on a personal
So start your partying early
on Saturday and come hear
Berkowitz pop out more high
notes than seems reasonable
for a human voice. The music
is beautiful and he’s not bad to
look at, either.