Michael J. Mayer is a Vocal Function Specialist, Researcher, Consultant and Singer based in Minneapolis, MN. He helps singers, actors and business professionals to understand how their voice functions naturally to efficiently accomplish their objectives. His expertise is equally beneficial for singers of all styles, (including Opera/Classical, Musical Theater, Pop/Rock, Jazz, Folk, R&B, Choral, Cantoring, and Chant) speakers in a wide range of applications, as well as rehabilitation for people suffering from vocal damage.
Mr. Mayer holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in Pedagogy. His passion is singing and researching the vocal arts. As a tenor, Mr. Mayer was particularly interested in the vocal technique of the Swedish tenor Jussi Björling and his seemingly effortless vocalism. This interest led to becoming an early active member and web-master of the Jussi Björling Society-USA. (www.jussibjorlingsociety.org) Mr. Mayer’s research into the technique of Jussi Björling changed the path of his professional life by finding International Master Teacher David L. Jones through his website. Through this relationship Mr. Mayer was introduced to the Swedish-Italian School which was significant in the development of Jussi Björling, as well as Kirsten Flagstad, Birgit Nilsson, Set Svanholm, Joel Berglund, and Karin Branzell.
In the fall of 2001 Mr. Mayer moved to New York City to begin advanced study with Maestro Jones. Through a frightening twist of fate this was one week before 9/11. While there he built a successful voice studio attracting clients from New York, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Montreal. Mr. Mayer also continued to perform with small New York companies Lyric Opera of New York, Opera Company of Brooklyn and Delphi Theater. A performing opportunity that was especially beneficial to his research was working as a Supernumerary at the Metropolitan Opera for a season. While building his New York studio, Mr. Mayer began publishing his research findings on his website www.vocalwisdom.com.
Since returning to the Twin Cities in summer 2005 his studio in Minneapolis has had visitors from Menomenie and Milwaukee, WI, Juneau, AK and Ann Arbor, MI. In addition, through the power of the Internet he has helped singers from Dallas, Houston, Nashville, Colorado, California, Michigan, Virginia, Florida, and even Sweden, Ireland, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Spain, Turkey and Lebanon. The majority of his work is now done using VoIP service Skype to meet with clients using a web-cam from anywhere in the world. He is married to UMD Theater Grad. Gina DeBenedet, and they have a beautiful daughter, Juliana, born June, 2008 and son, James, born December, 2010.
Mr. Mayer’s research has focused on the teaching of Allan Lindquest, who studied with many of the most prominent teachers of the twentieth century and taught Berton Coffin and William Vennard. Most significant was the time he spent in Sweden studying with the top students of Dr. Gillis Bratt (Kirsten Flagstad’s teacher), Haldis Ingebjart-Iséne and Joseph Hislop (Jussi Björling’s last teacher). Dr. Bratt was a Medical Doctor of voice in addition to a voice teacher and an amateur baritone. Dr. Bratt taught the bel canto principles of Lamperti and Garcia.
Mr. Lindquest also thought highly of his study with Madame Paola Novikova, teacher of Nicolai Gedda and George London. Madame Novikova was the prized student of the great baritone Mattia Battistini, one of the last direct proponents of the Old Italian School.