A member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus since 1999, tenor Jeff Duke is from Branson, Mich. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Judson University and a master of arts degree from Trinity University.
What work(s) this season are you are most looking forward to performing, and why?
The Poulenc Gloria is just a joy to sing. It has a theatrical feel and is full of emotional contrasts. Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe (April 5-7 and 10) for the sheer beauty and rapturous singing.
One of my favorite quotes is:
“Live a good life and in the end, it’s not the years in a life, but the life in the years.” – Abraham Lincoln
Who is/are your favorite composer(s), and why?
Aaron Copland. I feel his music captures the American spirit, and it evokes an array of emotions, which is awesome to feel.
What is your most memorable CSC performance or experience?
I think one of the most impactful moments was when we performed Verdi’s Requiem with Maestro Muti, and it was streamed across the world. The power of music to connect humanity and bring us together is powerful. Singing for the score of the movie “Lincoln” and having John Williams conduct while Stephen Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis looked on was pretty cool, too!
Do you play another instrument or perform in a non-classical vocal style or setting?
I also work in the professional musical theater. I am a member of Actors Equity as well, and currently I direct and choreograph musicals. I am on the artistic staff of Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre and appreciate the way vocal music and story come together in a musical. There are many similarities to a great choral work and an ensemble moment in a show. I appreciate that Maestro Wolfe in our CSC rehearsals emphasizes how important it is for us to understand and communicate the text and the emotion in the great choral works we perform.