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Robert Bernard (Bass)

Born: March 16, 1926 - Stockton, California, USA
Died: September 6, 2005 - Santa Cruz, California, USA

The American bass and voice teacher, Robert Prentiss Bernard, graduated from Stockton High 1944 and Stockton Junior College in 1948. Hae was drafted into the Army and served in the Pacific Theater. Graduated from College of the Pacific in Stockton where he studied voice with Elizabeth Spelt. Under the direction of Dr. Lucas Underwood he sang Pizarro in Fidelio. Robert earned an advanced degree in music from University of Southern California (USC). He studied advanced vocal training in London with Vera Rosza and furthered his vocal studies in Munich in 1953 with Frau Lukaschick. During that time he worked for Radio Free Europe.

In 1960 Robert Bernard returned to California to join and tour extensively with the Norman Luboff Choir. A position as vocal professor at Texas Tech, Lubbock followed. His love of California and family brought him home to teach at Stanford University where he began a close and long lasting musical association with noted pianist Adolph Baller. They created an extensive classical repertoire, most notably German Lieder. Soprano Edith Zitelli and Fran Perry often joined them in these concerts. During this time he began his private teaching career, which lasted until his death. He was a member emeritus of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Robert Bernard was bass soloist at Portola Valley Presbyterian Church for many years and created their concert series, Music In The Redwoods. Robert also sang bass with the Carmel Bach Festival under Sandor Salgo, an association he truly enjoyed. Robert's lifelong passion for music and especially the expression of the human voice, inspired many, most notably Joan Baez who studied with him until his passing. He semi-retired from teaching in Palo Alto in 2000 moving to Santa Cruz where his mother, father and sister had lived. He continued teaching voice which was his greatest joy. He passed away peacefully at home in Santa Cruz in 2005, age 80. His generosity of spirit, his humor and love of life will be missed by many. As said by Robert to a dear friend recently: "Looking back, I am happy and contented with the life I have lived. I'm grateful for my loving parents and am lucky to have had so many varied and rich experiences."


Source: Obituary in SFGate (September 18, 2005)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2011)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Sandor Salgo


BWV 11 [2nd], BWV 244 [4th], BWV 244 [5th], BWV 245 [2nd]

Links to other Sites

BERNARD, Robert Prentiss (SFGate)


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