Canadians might know American Baritone John Brancy as winner of the 2018 Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM) and third prize in 2012. However, as pretentious as it might sound, winning the prestigious competition twice was probably another day in the office for him. During the last four years alone, the lyrical baritone has won many internationally renowned competitions: he obtained first prize in the 2018 Lotte Lenya Competition in New York; second prize at the 2017 Wigmore Hall Competition in London; and the media prize in the 2017 Belvedere International Singing Competition in Moscow; and first prize in the 2015 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. in 2015.
After watching him perform in every round of CMIM 2018, it is clear that his main vocal attributes are his Russian-like velvet timbre, a remarkable legato line and great dynamic control. He confided that singing at a venue with great acoustics such as those of Bourgie Hall was an advantage: “I was able to play with the hall, I could go off voice and go into pure falsetto, I was also able to mix the voice more.”
The dark-voiced baritone knows his instrument like a book and had plenty of advice as on how to take care of it and succeed in competitions. He insisted that there was no secret sauce for his success other than preparing himself the best he could and taking good care of his body.
He also said that the mental game plays an important role in competitions. He has learnt that is better to focus on what he can give at that moment and not to place too many expectations on the outcome.
On Sept. 28, the New Jersey native and pianist Peter Dugan embarked on an North American tour performing programs entitled A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song and Armistice: The Journey Home. This is a collection of songs and original arrangements that explores the theme of home and national identity in the wake of global conflicts such as the First World War. It also invokes questions about the political status of the world at present, after 100 years of the amnesty.
The tour takes him and Peter to locations such as Stanford University, West Point Academy, the Smithsonian Institute, the United States Naval Academy and the Kennedy Center and to Montreal on Jan. 27 for the Société d’art vocal de Montréal.