Spotlight on Adam Kirkpatrick: The Writing Tenor
By Vanessa H. Fardin
Adam Kirkpatrick, assistant professor of music at Kennesaw State University, knew fate destined him to become a lyric tenor whenever his mother played the music of Luciano Pavarotti. “When I heard his music growing up,” Kirkpatrick says, “it moved me. I knew I wanted to pursue music as a career.” He earned his Bachelor’s of Music and Master’s of Music in voice performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and he received his doctorate degree in voice performance from Florida State University.
In 2008, Kirkpatrick joined the of the KSU School of Music. Today he teaches courses and individual lessons at KSU while managing a rising music career. He understands the challenges that face his students, and he encourages their development and love for music “because it is a part of who they are. Music and the people who want to study music are important. Music enriches lives.”
Kirkpatrick’s appreciation and dedication of music have culminated in the creation of a vast repertoire. This fall, he is scheduled to perform in several operas, including John Adams’ “The Wound Dresser” with the Cobb Symphony Orchestra and “Arias” with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. In the spring of 2010, Kirkpatrick will appear as Monastatos in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Magic Flute.”
In the past, Kirkpatrick has performed in “Haydn’s Creation” with the Northwest Florida Symphony, “Carmina Barama” with the Cobb Symphony Orchestra, and played Ramiro in “La Cemerentala” with the Atlanta Opera.
This tenor and professor, however, not only sings and performs, but writes professionally as well. Kirkpatrick’s first fiction novel, “Lincoln’s Shadow: Abomination of Desolation,” was released in May 2009. His other publications include “The Role of Metastasio’s Libretti in the 18th Century: Opera as Propaganda” and “Chiaroscuro and the Quest for Optional Resonance,” amongst others.
“Opera,” he stresses, “is a difficult career with the merging of music and words. The written word is powerful. And when you sing those words, you express yourself with greater power. With opera, you’re focusing on the most powerful layer of music, poetry, art, and visual beauty, and, hopefully, they all culminate at one point of intensity that speaks with vague clarity on a subject people are interested in.”
He is grateful for the successes and the challenges of his careers and hails his education, performing, publications and family as his greatest accomplishments. “I’ve learned that it is through doing hard things that we get better. I tell my students, ‘You can’t grow without opposition,’ and by overcoming difficulties, we get better and stronger.”