People Profiles

Elizabeth Brodovitch, MA, French

November 17, 2015

They call it the sexy part of the music business: the high singers experience when they perform for a live audience.

As a professional singer and former member of the Vancouver Chamber Choir and the Vancouver Bach Choir, Elizabeth Brodovitch has experienced that high countless times and in countries all over the world. But none of it prepared her for the first time she experienced the sexy part of the research business.

Brodovitch is a retired faculty member of the School of Music at Vancouver Community College and a private diction coach. She completed a Master’s of French at SFU in 2000.

An early pioneer in the field of lyrical diction, Brodovitch has spent over twenty years helping singers not only improve their pronunciation of classical languages, but also their ability to interpret the meaning of the words themselves.

“What I have always loved is how sounds can take you into the poetry. When I teach singers, I try to help them connect with the soundscapes the poet has created and then with the words. My goal is to help singers emotionally interpret the poem so they can infuse their performance with that feeling,” she says.

In addition to coaching and teaching practices, Brodovitch has edited and recorded resource materials such as the French and German chapters of Caldwell Publishing’s Diction for Singers. She is also currently working on a pronunciation manual of the celebrated arrangements of French composer Joseph Canteloube's Chants d'Auvergne. The songs are written in the French dialect of Auvergnat and will be translated into English.  

Brodovitch explains that one of the most thrilling parts of her research in literary translation is seeing her thoughts and work in print form.

“I love the performance of contributing to the singing field. Seeing your voice in paper and referenced by other scholars—that brings immense inner satisfaction. It is the sexy part of writing,” she says.

Brodovitch got her first taste of that feeling during her SFU graduate experience.

“Writing my thesis was an incredible opportunity to prove an original idea in writing. I was honestly stunned that I had something I needed to say and that I was able to say it,” says Brodovitch. Her research explored the relationship between the physical process of singing with French pronunciation and the interpretation of French poetry.   

Brodovitch credits the success of her graduate experience to the support she received from her faculty mentors.

“My research was multi-disciplinary and that was very unusual at the time. The French Department was extremely flexible and willing to accommodate that approach,” she says.

Author: Jackie Amsden

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