I am now more or less (as a musician, we are always working on something!) on break. Spending quiet time…planning some fun food…and learning some music…

I feel extremely privileged to have a college position at this time. It has meant continuing to work, with many adjustments, and continuing to adapt to teaching online. But it means I still have security, and am able to provide for my children and for us to stay relatively comfortable.

My piano continues to be a constant source of life, hope, feeing my passion, enabling me to continue to grow as an artist, in a time where it seems all is temporarily on hold.

I have used this time to familiarize myself with a lot of music. I have named Francis Poulenc my Covid19 partner! I have more of his songs and solo piano music than I ever did in the music room!

Our CCM students are a constant source of joy and never cease to amaze me, in all they are discovering in this period where we all have to be incredibly resourceful about how to continue making music without audience contact. We are extremely fortunate to work with young people of such incredibly inquisitive nature”.

The difference for me is all my freelance work, as it has mostly disappeared! I have been fortunate to have a few contracts with Cincinnati Opera, special projects they created during Covid19. I would have normally worked there all summer 2020. I was also at the MET working on Werther with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, when it all closed.“

In this challenging time, out of respect for all my esteemed and exceptionally brilliant colleagues who make their living entirely from freelancing, I feel a responsibility in being selective about actively seeking freelance work myself.  I have the privilege of having (so far) a reliable source of income. I feel the need to leave room for my colleagues whose income is their freelance work.

Because of my job, I have been on a regular work schedule except in the summer. I have discovered there are many aspects of life I have not really learned to enjoy, because I was (usually am) so busy with work. That part has been a very good discovery. Also realizing there is joy in many other parts of life that I have not always appreciated.

Otherwise, the other work that truly attracts me is with people with special needs. My little sister (now 55!) has Down Syndrome. She lives in an amazing house in Québec called “L’Arche”. All the people I have met through them, residents and workers, are extremely special people. Kindness, generosity, selflessness are remarkable in them. It is a very different environment from our musical one.

Marie-France Lefebvre, Professor of Opera/Coaching; J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair of Opera College Conservatory of Music University of Cincinnati