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Spotlight: Liam Bodurtha (12)

Bodurtha prepares for fourth Carnegie Hall performance

Liam Bodurtha (12) holds Zuzu and poses with friend for photo.

Liam Bodurtha (12) holds Zuzu and poses with friend for photo.

Liam Bodurtha (12) holds Zuzu and poses with friend for photo.

Caroline Goldenberg, Staff Writer

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This Saturday, Liam Bodurtha (12) will take the Carnegie Hall stage for his fourth time in the last ten months with his voice filling the Weill Recital Hall with the sound of classical German pieces.

As a second-place winner in the 2016 Golden Voices of America competition in the American Fine Arts Festival (AFAF), Bodurtha first performed at Carnegie Hall in December 2016, singing Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.” He performed there once again this past June 15, singing the musical Diamonds’ “What You’d Call a Dream” for the 2017 American Protégé International Vocal Competition, and on June 25, performing the musical Company’s “Being Alive” as an invitee of AFAF.

In addition to performing at Carnegie Hall, Bodurtha was awarded a partial scholarship to a music program in Germany. Bodurtha had the opportunity to train and perform in a variety of spaces with other vocalists, he said. 

While in Europe, the AFAF director and organizer of the Oct. 14 showcase chose several classical German pieces for Bodurtha to perform this week: “Im Wunderschonen Monat Mai” and “Ich Grolle Nicht.” The other vocalists with whom Bodurtha traveled to Germany will also perform, he said.

For Bodurtha, transitioning from musical theater-styled singing to more classical singing has proved to be challenging, he said. “They are two completely different styles of singing…. I had to work a lot to change the way I sing” in terms of technique, he said.

Bodurtha has been working especially on pronouncing words, accents, and vowels correctly with his voice teacher at the school, Jim Fredericks, to learn the songs for the October showcase, he said.

In sixth grade, Bodurtha first discovered his passion for singing, he said. Starting out, he participated mostly in musicals but has since transitioned to more concert-based singing, Bodurtha said.

Bodurtha has gained inspiration from singer Raúl Esparza, who sings many songs composed by Stephen Sondheim and has inspired him to sing more Sondheim pieces, he said.

At the school, Bodurtha is currently playing baritone saxophone in the Wind Ensemble for his fourth year. “[Bodurtha] is very musical in the way he plays,” Director of the Wind Ensemble Michael Bomwell said. Over the years Bodurtha has played in the ensemble, “he’s become faster at picking things up and more intuitive in the way he interprets what’s happening,” Bomwell said.   

Bodurtha has also participated in school plays “Cabaret” and “Gershwin in Blue” in addition to the a capella group, the HarMannics, since his sophomore year.

“[Bodurtha] focuses so well and is always asking questions,” co-President of HarMannics Ben Rosenbaum (11) said. “He’s very conscientious.”

Bodurtha has also worked with Amir Khosrowpour at the school to record submissions for competitions.

“He has such a warm and beautiful sound throughout his range, which is quite expansive. It’s really smooth and gorgeous, and communicative with the audience,” Khosrowpour said.

For Bodurtha, the life of a concert-based singer can present its challenges, he said. Sometimes he can submit video applications for concerts, as he did in the past for the competitions that landed his performances at Carnegie Hall; other times, however, he must travel to attend auditions, as he did last year, traveling to Chicago to audition for the American Classical Music Convention, which he was not accepted into.

“There’s a lot of rejection,” Bodurtha said. “But you have to keep trying; you eventually win.”

Especially for Bodurtha, his passion for singing, especially its acting component, keeps him going, he said.

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Spotlight: Liam Bodurtha (12)