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Fanfare Contributor Bio

Maria Nockin

I was born into a family of classical-music enthusiasts in New York City. Since both of my parents played piano and my grandfather was a violinist, I studied piano and violin from an early age. I remember my first opera, Un ballo in maschera, which I saw when I was only five years old because my babysitter canceled at the last minute. My parents bought another seat and started me off as an operagoer! From ages eight to 12, I sang and recited poetry on a radio program called The Peggy Tucker Children's Hour, so I started to take singing lessons, which I continued long after I had become too old for that show.

After high school, I attended evening classes at Fordham University and worked for the Metropolitan Opera Guild during the day. That job made it easy for me to attend the opera whenever I had free time, so I was frequently present at operas and concerts and I made a great many friends who enjoyed music as much as I did. Later, I received my bachelor's degree and, a bit later, my master's degree from Fordham. After that, I began to teach English as a second language in a Brooklyn high school.

Since I was free in summer, I started to travel to summer festivals in Europe. I spent considerable time at the Salzburg Festival, where I could hear every kind of classical music in existence. While I was there I worked as a personal assistant to the coloratura soprano Rita Streich. Sometimes I took the train to Bayreuth or to another music festival where I could resume my acquaintance with some of the singers I knew from working at the Met.

Years later I moved to Long Island, where I taught English and theater arts in the Hauppauge and Smithtown schools. I was also the soprano soloist at a local cathedral. Eventually, I got tired of the New York winters and retired to Arizona. Now I live on a piece of beautiful desert land located between Casa Grande and Gila Bend. It’s a lovely place to write and paint, but I still spend much of my time traveling to musical events in Arizona, California, and New Mexico.

When I first moved out West, I began to conduct interviews and write background articles in English for a Mexican publication, which translated them. That, again, brought me in contact with performing artists. Now, I write for a number of classical-music publications, some of which translate my work, and I continue to enjoy the personalities of the myriad musicians whose artistry graces our era in classical music.


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