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Janice Harsanyi (Soprano)

Born: July 15, 1929, Arlington, Massachusetts, USA
Died: March 22, 2007 - Tallahassee, Florida, USA

The American soprano and teacher, Janice Harsanyi [Harsányi], was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister and lived in Hamilton Square, New Jersey at an early age. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the Westminster Choir College in 1951. She also studied at the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts (1952-1954) and had private studies in Philadelphia and New York (1951-1954).

Janice Harsanyi gave numerous appearances with orchestras and at festivals throughout the USA. In 1958, she sang as soloist during the opening ceremonies for the United Nations. In 1959 she made her Carnegie Hall debut singing Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1964, she sang L.v. Beethoven at a peace rally in Philadelphia featuring Martin Luther King, Jr. she also sang for Albert Einstein during a dinner party in Princeton, New Jersey and husband her Nikki played chamber music with Einstein. On February 17, 1969, Janice Harsanyi along with Helen Boatwright, Jenneke Barton and John Ferrante performed the opera George Frideric Handel's Amadigi with the Princeton Chamber Orchestra under the direction of J. Merrill Knapp. In 1975 she performed J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor (BWV 232) at the Baldwin-Wallace College Bach Festival under the baton of Helmuth Rilling.

Janice Harsanyi made tours with the Philadelphia String Quartet in Europe (1965), Bach Aria Group (1966-1967), Princeton Chamber Orchestra (1966-1970) and Piedmont Chamber Orchestra (1974-1976). She gave recitals as soloist at Alice Tully Hall, Town Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London and many leading cities in USA, England, Italy and Switzerland. She has performed the works of notable composers such as Roger Sessions, Harold Schiffman, and John Harbison.

Janice Harsanyi was Choir Director at the Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church, Trenton. New Jersey (1949.1960; Member of Voice Faculty (1951-1963) and Chairman of Voice (1963-1965) at the Westminster Choir College; Lecturer in Music and Conductor of Motet Choir at the Princeton Theological Seminary (1959-1963); Voice Faculty of the University of Michigan Summer School in Interlochen (1965-1970); Artist-in-residence. At the Interlochen Arts Academy (1967-1970); Voice Faculty of the North Carolina School of the Arts (1971-1978); Music Faculty of the Salem College (1973-1976). Harsanyi was professor of Voice (since 1978) and co-ordinator of Voice (1979-1982) at the Voice Faculty of Florida State University's College of Music. While there, she became involved with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and was a voice coach with the Capitol City Opera Company. She was also Guest Lecturer and lecture recitalist.

Radio and television appearances in USA. Recordings: Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with Eugene Ormandy & Philadelphia Orchestra and singer/actor Harve Presnell (recorded 1960; released by Columbia/Sony on LP and CD); Benjamin Britten's Les Illuminations; George Rochberg's Quartet No. 2 (1962, CRI). She recorded one solo recital LP disc (released c1960 on the small Period Records label, SPL 581) titled "Great New Voices of Today, Vol. 1" consisting of French and German songs, with Otto Herz at the piano..

Janice Harsanyi married Nicholas (Nikki) Harsanyi, a violist who went to school with Béla Bartók in Hungary, on April 19, 1952 and had a son. Nikki founded the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra in 1979, his wife, Janice, was known as "first lady" of the TSO. Nicholas Harsanyi died in 1987.

Source: International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93); Wikipedia Website (July 2009)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2010)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Helmuth Rilling


BWV 232 [1st]

Links to other Sites

Janice Harsanyi (Wikipedia)

PlaybillArts: News: Soprano Janice Harsanyi Dies at 77

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