November 19th: The Transplants

19 Nov

Portland State Music: 30 for the 30th

Name: Peter Marsh

Instrument: voice

Student of David Jimerson

B. M. 1993 Portland State University

Name: Jerrode Marsh

Instrument: piano

Student of Harold Gray

B. M. 1992

Portland State University

Putting Music Forward

To pack up all one’s belongings and make a life in a new country requires fortitude and also trust.  Fortitude in adapting to new surroundings, new languages, new people and  new customs, and trust in the things that unite people across borders and boundaries.  On the other side of the ocean from Lincoln Hall, where Peter and Jerrode Marsh met on their first day of college at Portland State, they continue to forge connections through music.


Putting Skills to Work

Peter Mars received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Portland State, studying under David Jimerson.  After leaving PSU, he pursued further study with William Lewis at the University of Texas, Austin where he received his MM in Vocal Performance in 1995.  Peter has been a member of the ensemble at Oper Frankfurt since 1998.  He has performed an incredible variety of roles including David in Die Meistersinger von Nürenberg, Monostatos in Die Zauberföte, Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette, Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly,and einen Knappen in Parsifal.  Opera Today wrote about his performance as Male Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia: “Mr. Marsh seemed born to sing his role. Part snake oil salesman, part brain-washed believer, his characterization was disturbingly well-rounded, and as well sung as you are likely to hear.”
Peter’s recent roles include Mime in Siegfried , Matteo in Arabella and Sellem in The Rake’s Progress.  Other important roles for the company in recent seasons have included the title role in Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg/The Dwarf,  Caliban in the first performances in Germany of Adès’ The Tempest, Mozart in Rimsky Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri,  and Pedrillo in Mozart’s Il Seraglio  and Monostatos in The Magic Flute. 
Peter’s guest engagements have included appearances at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Berlin State Opera, the Hamburg State Opera, the Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte di Montepulciano, as well as opera houses in Geneva, Brussels and Tokyo.

photo by Monika Ritterhaus
Jerrode Marsh is a Portland native. After graduating from PSU in 1992, she  went on to  earn a Masters of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from The University of Texas at Austin, where she specialized in chamber music, vocal coaching and accompanying, studying with Gregory Allen and Heasook Rhee.  Jerrode has performed extensively as a soloist, chamber musician and vocal accompanist in the United States, Germany and Austria. She has also worked as a vocal coach, accompanist and chamber musician for Oper Frankfurt, the Austrian American Mozart Academy in Salzburg and the Undergraduate Opera Program at The University of Texas in Austin.  In addition to her work as a pianist and conductor, she is Director of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfurt, where she oversees an active church music program with various ensembles.

Adding Something Unique

Jerrode Marsh is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Trinity International Concert Choir (TICC).  TICC represents the multi-cultural musical community within the Rhein-Main area.  In 2011, under the name “The Messiah Project,” the choir presented a complete performance of George Frederic Handel’s Messiah in the original English language.  The Messiah Project  stemmed from the desire to create  musical contact between international churches and different local and international communities within the Greater Frankfurt area, bringing interested singers of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds together under the umbrella of sacred choral music.   TICC is  hosted by Trinity Lutheran International Church of Frankfurt, an ecumenical, English-speaking congregation serving the greater Frankfurt area.


What Has Your PSU Music Experience Meant to You?

Peter Marsh– “PSU gave me the opportunities to build and develop my skills as a singer and an musician.   Through classes, workshops, concerts, opera, and superior private teaching, PSU provided me with the basis that I have been able to draw on throughout my career.”

Jerrode Marsh– “The most important thing I learned from Portland State was that you never know exactly how your music skills and experiences will benefit you later in life.  I entered college figuring I’d just graduate and do what Harold [Gray, former Music Dept. Chair] did–teach at the university and perform.  Little did I know I’d end up living in a foreign country, speaking the language I had NOT studied in college and not doing at all what I thought I would, other than dedicating my life to making music.   As an undergraduate pianist, I spent a great deal of time in the vocal studios accompanying all kinds of singers–from beginner to advanced.  For me then, I saw it as a way to pay the bills.  I also played a lot of chamber music, because I liked the music and I sang in the choirs, because it was required.  I also played in the orchestra and the opera orchestra under Salvador Brotons because they needed me, but it would not have been my choice.

Ironically, I have spent the majority of the last ten years of my time in Germany conducting–children’s choirs, church choirs, youth choirs, concert choirs, and often with orchestras made up of the top professional musicians in Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main area. When I started what was supposed to be a temporary activity, I didn’t know that I’d love it so much but I now realize that all those hours in the vocal studio taught me a lot about singing, playing chamber music taught me about strings and orchestra and now I’m combining those experiences with my love of people (solo piano is really lonely for a gregarious extrovert like myself!).  I am extremely passionate about music, I am prepared and professional and I have a vivid musical imagination.  I have discovered that people REALLY like to work with that!   I never saw myself as a conductor but my reputation in Frankfurt is becoming much wider known as a conductor than a pianist, even though I do also continue to play regular Liederabends (song recitals) and perform chamber music concerts in Germany.”

Jerrode concludes her response by saying that she would like, in her words, “to tell the students what we have experienced and help them understand how important ALL things “required” at PSU really are.  They just don’t realize it yet…”


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